Website maintenance packages…What’s that all about?

We know, right. You’ve just paid a tidy sum to have a brand new website built and now someone’s telling you that you have to pay more to keep it maintained. What’s that all about? Surely it’ll be fine if it’s new……..

If you have a WordPress website and it’s hosted on a shared server by an agency you will no doubt have been told that you need to have your site regularly maintained.

Most agencies who offer website hosting will be keen for you to take out a “website maintenance plan” which means that, over and above your domain (your website address) and hosting (the location of our website files) costs, there will be additional costs to cover the time spent on these updates.

What exactly needs updating on a WordPress website?

A WordPress website is built on an open source platform (wordpress) using a combination of themes and plugins.

The platform itself, WordPress, is being constantly developed. This means that, potentially, every day, there are updates to how it operates, bug fixes and any number of technical tweaks to make it run efficiently. It is impossible to avoid these updates, and even more impossible to control because the platform is developed by everyone (hence the term Open Source) and as such essential changes can be made at any time. Rather like the ground you walk on, keeping your platform up to date is a critical for the security and stability of your website. A bit like badly maintained roads get potholes, and cause untold damage to your car, not keeping your wordpress platform up to date could jeopardise the investment you have already made in your website and no-one wants that.

With all these updates, a stream of activities occur. Themes and plugins, which operate on the platform, also need to be updated in order for the code to work properly. Not to mention, the clever folk who create these plugins are also tweaking and enhancing their code every day too.

Your theme provides a visual structure to the site – what creates its style and layout. As wordpress issues updates, more often than not your theme code will be updated too and this needs to be rolled out after the wordpress update has gone live.

Your plugins are what gives your website its functionality. For example, Woocommerce is a plugin that allows you to sell products on your site of Ninja Forms will allow you to embed forms in your website so people can submit their details. As with themes, these plugins are updates very regularly, in some cases every couple of weeks, and failure to keep them up to date may mean your site won’t work at all.

Now here’s the rub, and any good developer who has lived to tell the tale will tell you: updates can cause problems. Of yes, indeed. If only it were as simple as pressing the update button in the admin section….. but, like schoolkids, not all plugins play nicely together. Code is code and one update can break and another. What your developer will be doing (methodically) when they handle your maintenance, is double checking everything works once the updates have been rolled out and, in the instances that it does not, rolling back the updates to ensure your site remains working while also raising support issues with any plugins that are causing a problem.

Have a look at our simple graphic for a quick check on what’s included and what’s not included

So, are maintenance plans worth it?

We are asked regularly by our clients whether they really need to have this plan in place and we’re afraid the answer is always yes!

If your website goes down due to a security issue or an out-of-date plugin your customers are not going to be able to reach you and you might lose the sale. Worse, under GDPR regulations, or similar, an out of date website can easily lead to a data breach and the fines for not protecting customers data can be very considerable indeed. No-one wants that.

By keeping your site maintained regularly you can rest easy knowing that the window to your business is not only operational, it’s not putting your business at risk.

So, what’s included in our maintenance plans?

Our team have a variety of different tasks in our regular maintenance plans, depending on the build of the site, but here is what it generally involves:

Installation of anti-spam technology as standard to block spammers from reaching your site.
Automatic major platform updates to ensure your site is running on the latest software. This is done at a server level.
Daily backups so we can roll back in case anything goes wrong.
Monthly plugin updates – ensuring all functionality on the site is maintained and runs at the latest version.
Monthly theme updates – keep the look and feel of the site updated and safe.
Regular site speed loading checks – making sure that Google is happy with the content and flow of the site.
Monthly digital reports – we will send you a monthly report showing what is working and not working on your site. Who is looking, what they are looking at and even how long they are staying     on your site. All useful information for tweaking and making your website work for you.
Regular monthly email from your dedicated digital team member reporting all updates and confirmation that maintenance has been completed.

Your website is important to us. We take pride in helping you promote your business online and want it to work for you. We wouldn’t take the risk with our own websites and we expect nothing less than the best from ourselves.

Let us help you realise your business and website potential.