What is a website maintenance plan?
A website maintenance plan is a plan of action that sets forth the procedure for caring for the plugins, security, uptime and more of a website. As a business owner, this can be done independently, but is often offered as a service from a digital agency or marketing team. Care and maintenance plans for WordPress websites are typically a service that keeps your website up-to-date, secure, and safely running often on a dedicated server with a team manager overseeing your website.
If you don’t know how to update or manage your website, or strongly dislike doing it, a website maintenance plan could be a vital asset for your business, especially if your website is built with WordPress. You can request edits with ease, see progress within a reasonable amount of time, and forgo worrying about your website’s security as many website care plans for WordPress include security management.
Why do WordPress websites need a website maintenance plan?
Given our experience as an agency building websites for business owners across many industries, there are ample reasons that business and website owners need a website maintenance plan in 2023. Wether for the plugin updates, or just avoiding the issue of managing a website all together, when we work with clients, we find that clients choose some form of a care plan over 80% of the time. The major reasons include:
- Maintaining Functionality: Upkeeping the plugins associated with the core functionality of your website (think forms, products and more!)
- Positive User Experience: Having a team that stays on top of your website in all facets can help manage and create a positive user experience each time someone comes to your website!
- Staying Secure: Monitoring and updating any security features associated with your website to avoid being a target for hackers or malicious software
- Time & Money Savings: Hiring a dedicated team who are experts in website maintenance plans can save you time & a headache if any issues arise when securing or updating your website.
What does a website maintenance plan include?
A website maintenance plan for a WordPress website will include a variety of services depending on your business needs and budget allotted. Whether you’re overseeing your own website’s care plan or you hire an agency to take care of the website maintenance, The most important core services of your maintenance plan should be:
- Security: It MUST have security monitoring & detection. It’s more important than ever to consistently scan and monitor your website’s security, especially if you are collecting personal information (whether that be through forms, online orders or bookings).
- Pro Tip: This is where having a dedicated team to maintain your website can help. Once identified, your team can act to protect your website from cyber threats. Even as a small business, you can be a target for malicious activity online.
- Plugin Updates: A plugin is an additional piece of software that adds functionality to your website. These are frequently updated and therefore to maintain security and functionality, will occasionally need to be updated. There are thousands of plugins that can be used on a WordPress website. In our experience, it often takes time to identify compatability issues between plugins.
- Pro Tip: When updating plugins, sometimes you run into compatibility issues. A professional web agency can help work through these issues to maintain good functionality and security across the website.
- Website Backups: While relatively simple, it is important that your website maintenance plan includes regularly scheduled backups. This means that, at an agreed upon time, a plugin or the server host, takes a backup or copy of the website. This is a failsafe in case any critical issues arise or functionality is impacted across the website.
- Monthly Reporting: One great benefit of most website maintenance plans is the monthly reporting. For a business owner, this is imperative. An overview to glance at including plugin and security updates, uptime monitoring and more can keep you updated in a simple and timely manner.
Depending on your businesses needs, your website maintenance plan may also include:
- Google Analytics Monitoring
- Content Updates
- Advanced SEO features
- Emergency Response & Support
How much should I pay for a WordPress website maintenance plan?
The short answer is, it depends. Website maintenance plans, especially for WordPress, will often have different services includes in them. There are a few different payment structures that may affect how much you pay for a website maintenance plan.
- As-Needed: On an as-needed care plan, you will often only pay as needed. When you want to create a new page, investigate a security issue, or discuss website strategy, you would be required to pay the firm that you are working with. Think of this as more of a website consultant rather than a routine maintenance plan. This website maintenance plan would be best suited for a company that has a webmaster or small IT department that can handle basic updates and changes, but may not be equipt to handle emergencies, security vulnerabilities, or high level strategic planning.
- Plan-Based: A plan-based care plan follows a more routine schedule and usually incorporates a planned list of services. A digital marketing company or webmaster may offer specific services as part of a plan. Like discussed before, these services may include security, plugin, and content updates depending on the monthly amount that you pay. We operate on the plan-based structure when we discuss website maintenance plans for our clients. For more information, check out our website maintenance plans.
- Monthly Retainer: A monthly retainer is often the most expensive and comprehensive website maintenance plan that a WordPress website can have. A monthly retainer is often provided by a digital marketing or web development company. On a monthly retainer, there is often content development, custom page development, security checks, extra backups and more. The monthly retainer payment style is a more comprehensive approach to maintaining a website and is effective for individuals who’s website brings in leads/generates revenue as the core part of their business.
Should I have a website maintenance plan in 2023?
Yes, you do need a website maintenance plan. Whether you’re maintaining your website as the owner, or you hire a professional maintenance team, you should maintain your website. This is because on your website, there are pieces of software, information, and core functionality that need to be monitored on a consistent and regular basis.
A website maintenance plan is a key asset in helping small business owners manage their website without spending hours upon hours diving into the technicalities of their website.