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Episode 5: Why website management is so important and why it’s one of the best jobs to outsource (for non-techies)
If you have a WordPress website you will have seen ‘Update required’, ‘New update available – please upgrade now’ or ‘New version available – update here’ messages lots of times and even without knowing what these updates are all about, you just clicked ‘Update now’.
That’s what my students tell me all the time. When I ask them if they have any idea what might happen if they upgrade without checking compatibility or taking backups, most of them shake their head and say it worked so far. Some of them have encountered issues and gotten a massive fright as they realised that suddenly their site was gone!
A quick search on the WordPress.org forum reveals over 20,000 results for sites that crashed after running updates, with over 3,000 of them being requests on the support forum itself. Not a nice place to be in for any blogger or website owner.
So, let’s have a look at different website maintenance options and whether there are any that are affordable even for new bloggers and small businesses.
Check out all topics: ‘How to start a blog 2021 – The ultimate WordPress tutorial series step-by-step‘ – learn how to start a blog or a small business website on a budgetHow to start a blog 2021 – The Ultimate WordPress Beginner Tutorial Index
How important is website management?
If you’re serious about creating a small business website or making money with blogging, then it’s fundamental that you look after your investment and get the basics right from the beginning.
Getting the foundation right, like reliable website hosting, choosing a domain name and picking a suitable theme (template) for your site, will make it so much easier in the long run – as is often the case with many things in life.
Looking after your website is crucially important and you can do it all yourself if you feel technically minded. But in fairness, it can get a bit tricky when something goes pear-shaped like a code error, malware or hacker attack, or the dreaded white screen of death. There are lots of tutorials about it, like this troubleshoot post by Nick on how to fix common WordPress errors. It was published a few years ago but is still relevant and helpful.
As you can see, WordPress is very user-friendly and you don’t have to be a developer to fix things, so if you feel comfortable dealing with this kind of stuff, great – go for it and you won’t need to read this post any further, because you’ll be just fine looking after your site.
What if I find website maintenance too technical?
If you feel a bit overwhelmed dealing with errors and malware, you’re not alone. Many small business owners or bloggers – like many of my students – find the technical part such as backups, upgrades, theme and plugin updates, errors and dealing with risks like malware and hackers extremely complicated. Which I think is fair enough, considering that website security is a very specialised and fast-paced field and understandably not everybody’s cup of tea.
For most people, the website is only a small part of their business and they have to deal with a hundred other tasks every day. Often it doesn’t make sense to spend hours every week getting to grips with website security if someone else could do the job much more quickly and efficiently – they can focus on running their business instead.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be your responsibility, you can get a website management plan and let them do the job at quite reasonable rates.
Is a WordPress maintenance plan worth the money?
There are certain things in life we’re happy to outsource. A survey in 2019 by Clutch has shown that businesses most commonly outsource more technical tasks, including their accounting (37%), IT services (37%), and digital marketing (34%) responsibilities. The largest percentage (24%) say they are doing so to increase efficiency, while 18% are seeking assistance from an expert.
Website maintenance is certainly one of them, it’s often money well spent for many small business owners. Website maintenance is much cheaper than website repair and I think it’s definitely one of the best parts to outsource if code is not your thing. It will remove these challenging tasks from your to-do list, give you peace of mind and more time to focus on other parts of your business, like creating content for your website.
Everybody knows that it’s vital to keep their website safe and secure, however, it’s scary how many sites I see without any backups. People don’t realise that they play Russian roulette with their website every time they click ‘Update’. Most times they don’t even know what they update, or if it’s necessary or even recommended. Unfortunately, some people only realise what can happen when it’s too late and the site is down or displays errors.
Besides updates, any website can be hacked at any time and software incompatibility and errors happen – it’s scary stuff if it happens to you and you see years of work disappearing, but as I said it doesn’t have to be your responsibility. That’s what WordPress maintenance services are there for and we’ll have a look at some of the best and most affordable website management options out there.
How much does a website maintenance plan cost?
As with any services, there are lots of companies out there offering WordPress maintenance plans. Most entry plans start at around $50 to $100, but some only include the basics. Plans for custom-built websites will be pricier as they require more manual work to maintain your site, but usually small business sites and bloggers don’t need that kind of service.
There are some really good companies out there that specialise in small business WordPress maintenance services and offer great customer support with plans from about $50/month – that’s less than $2/day – for most small business owners and bloggers; that’s certainly affordable and gives great peace of mind. Some of them even include emergency fixes and malware removal, but we’ll come to the details in a minute.
What is included in website management?
Website maintenance services keep an eye on your website and take care of the following:
- Daily backups of your site
- Keep your WordPress core software updated
- Update WordPress themes and plugins up-to-date
- Fix any theme or plugin errors
- Help with troubleshooting
- Keep your site secure
- Keep hackers out
- Protect your site before something happens and if something happens they will
- Have the right backups and the needed knowledge to get your site up and running again as quickly as possible
- Most of them will also issue a weekly or monthly report on your website
Which are the best website maintenance services and what might not be included?
Most website maintenance services include all the tasks mentioned above to keep your site safe and secure. Even though I think that these tasks should always be included in any website management plan, unfortunately, that’s not always the case, so please make sure you read the small print.
If a site gets hacked or goes down for some other reason like malware or errors, some providers charge a previously agreed fee, so as mentioned before it’s important to read the small print before signing up to anything.
There are lots of developers and companies out there who offer maintenance plans, but as many of my clients are just starting out and don’t have an endless budget I have found a few providers who offer great WordPress maintenance services, with very helpful customer support, a fantastic reputation and affordable plans, which can save you a lot of headaches looking after your site.
If your website budget is limited and you will spend money on only a couple of products, then I’d say it should be a good hosting provider and a website maintenance plan, if you don’t feel comfortable looking after all the technical stuff. A good and reliable hosting provider and WordPress maintenance plan give you a secure foundation, remove a lot of stress from business owners and is for many people money well spend.
Anything else in WordPress is optional if you ask me, and lots of things in WordPress can be achieved either with free products or for a small amount, but hosting and keeping your site secure would be my top two priorities.
My 3 favourite website management options, who have never disappointed me or any of my clients
WP Buffs – 24h WordPress website management
One of the companies I can highly recommend for website management is WP Buffs. Their basic plan ‘Maintain’ includes daily cloud backups, weekly core, database, theme and plugin updates, 24/7 monitoring and emergency support.
WP Buffs was built around a 100% remote-work environment, they have staff working from the US and across the globe. Having a team monitoring your site 24/7 means if an issue happens at 2am your time, somebody at WP Buffs will know straight away. They check your site every 60 seconds and can therefore react and fix your site within minutes if there is an issue. They also offer Google Analytics integration, and they send you comprehensive weekly reports on your website.
The basic ‘Maintain’ plan is available at $56/month if you sign up for an annual plan, which is really good value and even includes 24/7 emergency support which is really valuable in case your site goes down due to an error, malware or hackers! They’ll be there to help, explain what happened and make sure your site will be up and running as quickly as possible again.
WP Buffs also offer speed optimisation, unlimited 24/7 website edits, eCommerce and membership priority support, free access to a number of security and speed premium plugins (iThemes Security Pro, WP Smush Pro and WP Rocket) in their two higher plans, which start at $123/month if signing up for an annual contract. Considering all the extra services and premium plugins which are included in those two plans, that’s really good value.
However, if you just got started with blogging or a new website, their ‘Maintain plan‘ offers everything most people need in the beginning – they’ll keep your site secure, safe and up-to-date. And of course, you always have the option to upgrade at any time as your site and demands grow.
To figure out which website management plan would suit your requirements best and to ask them any questions, you can just arrange a call with them.
WP Tech Support – affordable website maintenance with 24/7 support and emergency fixing
Another company for website maintenance I’m very happy to recommend is called WP Tech Support. WP Tech Support is a website management company located in the Isle of Man with offices in the UK, USA and India. They specialise in affordable WordPress maintenance contracts with 24/7 support.
Their Standard Plan starts at $45/months and this plan includes 1 emergency fix per month, WordPress core and plugin updates but for some reason not theme updates, which would be important.
However, WP Tech Support’s Pro Plan is only $60/month and includes WP core, plugin & theme updates, malware removal and unlimited emergency fixes!
The WP Tech Support Pro Plan is really good value, considering that there are WordPress maintenance companies out there who charge about $100 for each emergency fix and WP Tech Support charges $145 for once-off malware removal if you don’t have a plan with them or you need it while being on the Standard Plan.
You shouldn’t need malware removal or emergency fixing often but it’s like an insurance that gives you peace of mind in case your site gets hacked, you experience a code error or become the victim of malware, that you can just raise a support ticket or use the live chat, and get the experts to restore and fix your site without any large bills occurring.
WP Tech Support also offers once-off emergency fixing, malware removal and site optimisation for slow loading website – if you don’t have a website management contract with them or if it’s not included in your plan you can buy any of those services very quickly through their support chat.
Damien Carbery – personal WordPress care by an Irish developer
And then there is one of my personal recommendations. The WordPress developer Damien Carbery, an Irish WordPress developer, based in Dublin and a truly fantastic developer.
We have worked on different projects together over the years and I can highly recommend him as an incredible WordPress developer, extremely customer orientated, always very helpful and super-reliable.
His WordPress maintenance plans start at €45/month ($55) and include weekly WordPress, plugin and theme updates, monthly database and file backups, monthly malware scan and maintenance report and no long term contract. You can contact him directly to discuss your requirements.
Conclusion on website maintenance
Of course, there are other really good companies out there who offer maintenance plans, but I did not list them here because some are either
- quite a bit more expensive
- don’t include support in their lower plans or
- charge extra for certain tasks such as dealing with a hacked, malware affected site or other troubleshooting
So if you are a small business owner or blogger, and don’t feel comfortable taking care of website maintenance yourself and are looking for a reliable and affordable maintenance plan you can’t go wrong with either WPBuffs, WP Tech Support or Damien’s service.
I love working with all three of them, they offer great value for money with excellent friendly and helpful customer service, and they can save you a lot of headaches. If you know of another great recommendation for a website maintenance plan, please let me know in a comment below.
Just remember, whichever company you choose please make sure to always read the small print and ideally arrange a call or chat with their support team to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for.
I hope you found this post about website management useful and please let me know in a comment below which website maintenance service you went for.
I’d love to hear from you!
Now we’re almost done with the initial WordPress setup. You might also be interested in How to find your niche before you start blogging if you’re just getting started. Or perhaps The 4 best website hosting services with excellent customer service & great discounts for a fast and secure website, and Where to find the best and fastest WordPress themes to get creative.
I’ve got lots more, easy to follow, quick tutorials such as how to get WordPress FTP access, how to create Pinterest Rich Pins with Rank Math in 5 minutes, or upload a text file to WordPress without plugins to get started with Google AdSense.
Check them out or click the button below for the full index of the How to start a blog in 2021 Index- step-by-step WordPress tutorials so far and I’ll keep updating this index as the guide develops.