People often go by their daily work settling with poorly structured WordPress websites. They usually take the situation as is, compromising each day and letting their work suffer. The sad truth behind this behavior is that most people have no idea what goes into website maintenance. They figure it is not worth the investment and rely on cheap freelancers to do the work, which requires an entire team of dedicated professionals if you want it done correctly. Needless to say that putting the future of your business and lead-generating, money-making machine that your website should be in the hands of those people with questionable technical know-how won’t get you far.
Are freelancers ever a good deal?
Our web design agency has seen its share of clients that need an update, each with a different technology behind their website, thus rendering any packaging of our products useless. This only fortified our decision not to hire people with a freelancer mentality. People with subpar motivation can rarely deliver a predictable product at scale, and we are not ones to gamble with our clients’ trust. Companies need fast and reliable product development at a reasonable price. With freelancers, you rarely get either of these.
Discipline creates a reliable web presence
If a website code is not fully executed, you are bound to experience a lack of control over the plugins and third-party conflicts. Problems get piled up, leading to situations that are neither straightforward nor simple to resolve. Outdated plugins and malware can expose your website to all kinds of issues. If we add the struggle to remove SEO spam to the equation, things get really messy really fast.
Having the discipline to maintain a WordPress website is something that every business that strives to preserve a reliable web presence in the digital jungle needs. Failing to do this regularly only adds hours to already demanding labor. Resolving plugin issues and dealing with vulnerabilities is only the introduction to WordPress maintenance plans. Incorporating semantically structured code that Sage WordPress theme provides and optimizing a website for SEO separates professionals from freelancers.
Why do you need a Premium WordPress maintenance plan?
Due to its simplicity and ease of use, most people are not aware of what hides under the surface of every WordPress website. The truth is that WordPress is a sophisticated and database-driven system with a ton of underlying source code. This is why it requires around-the-clock maintenance so it would remain stable and secure.
WordPress websites are a common target for viruses, hackers, and bots. In the year 2018, this system accounted for around 90% of all hacked content management systems. If you fail to put WordPress maintenance plans in place and allow malware to crawl under your site, hackers can delete vast portions of it or even steal your customers’ information. This can severely damage your company’s reputation, and most businesses never fully recover to enjoy consumers’ trust once again.
Regular updates are the first line of defense
WordPress usually issues multiple updates each month, improving the security and overall performance of their platform. There are also updates to the PHP framework and the evolution of the dependencies that regulate WordPress’s behavior inside of its Linux operating system. Things like Composer updates, Nginx, apach2, and other dependencies create micro-changes in your server-side environment and require a team that can tackle full-stack development.
Most of the successful hacker attacks happen due to the vulnerabilities in plugins and themes. Regular website and plugin updates will ensure that your website is backed with the latest security patches that significantly reduce vulnerability to hacks. Freelancers and lower-end agencies simply don’t have the capacity to properly maintain websites while most business owners are not equipped to protect their investment into such complex digital assets. Having a well-maintained and properly utilized website takes a decent amount of work, and failing to put that work into responsible hands can lead to missed business opportunities.
WordPress maintenance plans provide good UX
Most WordPress websites use third-party plugins. Depending on the developer, different problems may arise with each update. Everything could be working like a charm one day, while the very next day, your website could be suffering from broken links, errors, warnings, and slow loading times. Keep in mind that internet users are often impatient and unforgiving. They are accustomed to fast internet service and have no problem with leaving unprofessional websites and switching to your competition. The customers you lose that way are only part of your problems. People talk, tweet, post, leave reviews, and sooner or later, your reputation goes down the drain.
The latest Core Web Vitals update is also worth mentioning here; the update highlighted the importance of page experience for the users, so including it in your maintenance plan is anything but negotiable. Those who opt to neglect this set of metrics are bound to witness a downfall in their rankings.
Your website is the loudest spokesman for your brand, and this is why it needs to be in the good and nurturing hands of professionals willing to provide constant attention. Premium WordPress maintenance plans, along with quality assurance testing after each update, are the most fundamental steps you can take to provide a good user experience.
How much maintenance does your website need?
Let’s take a look at the averages to try and put the price tag on website maintenance. If we count on average 10 to 15 hours monthly at a $150 hourly rate, we are looking at an average of $1800 per month. This is the amount of money needed to have someone remain reliably concentrated on keeping the uptime of your website high. During these hours, a dedicated team should resolve dependencies issues and plugin conflicts for the most part.
This includes rolling back backups, cleaning websites from malware, and other routine diagnostic work that a website requires. While many startups could have a hard time swallowing this pill, we’ve seen way too many business owners get burned over and over on this step of their journey.
What our WordPress maintenance plans include
Our goal is to always keep your website in good working order. We understand the effort and hours invested in designing your site and creating engaging content. Our goal is to provide you with the peace of mind that comes with having a solid maintenance plan:
- We will back up all core files that make your website function properly,
- Schedule weekly auto-performed file and database backups,
- Backups stored offsite, and
- We will restore your website every couple of months to ensure that the backup is valid. In case your website gets infected with malware, this operation ensures that we can get it up and running in no time.
- We will apply all the latest security patches and upgrades,
- Regular latest version WordPress upgrades,
- Regularly upgrade plugins to their latest version to ensure the stability of your website,
- We backup your existing custom WordPress theme,
- Check for website vulnerabilities, and
- Remove unneeded website extensions as well as any inactive administrators.
Check for broken links
- We will crawl your site in search of broken links. Besides irritating your visitors, these links also reduce search engine rankings.
- We’ll look for 404 errors (Page not found) and properly redirect links, and
- Update broken links and images if there are any.
- We will check the loading time of your website to identify whether there are any issues,
- Utilize Google PageSpeed Insights to identify issues that could slow down your website, and
- Use Google Analytics to get insight into website performance.
- We’ll use Google Webmaster Tools to check for any possible crawl errors,
- Look for any structural issues that affect the way search engines view your website. For example, your website could have duplicate content, or some titles may be missing.
- We’ll find new referrers that are sending traffic to your website, and
- Recommend ways to freshen content on your website.
- We will create a Google Analytics dashboard that highlights the most important metrics for your website, and
- Analyze the key metrics for your website.
- We will incorporate the disable comments option to prevent any potentially spam-like content.
- We will run tests to ensure that all working contracts, signup forms, and donation forms are secure and function properly, and
- Test your website across all internet browsers and various devices and provide feedback.
Administrative / Operation management IT tools
- We will remind you when things such as domain, hosting, and dedicated IP address are due to expire to make sure everything works seamlessly,
- Update your copyright date as well as any other date references on your website, and
- Check if any dated content is up-to-date.
Preventive maintenance is the best way to apprehend any unfortunate surprises. However, despite your best efforts, unanticipated issues in the form of bugs and errors can still arise. Once you are faced with these kinds of difficulties, your best chance is to have a dedicated partner ready to act on your behalf and put your website in working order as quickly as possible. Finding yourself in a position where you have to hunt down the freelancer that ghosted you in your time of need is certainly not an option for any successful business. And neither is leaving things to chance without solid WordPress maintenance plans in place. Thinking proactively is the only responsible choice for website owners looking to protect their brand and business.