There is a lot of work and planning that goes into developing a good website. Building a website is not a one-off task. Ongoing WordPress support and maintenance can be a huge headache to any website owner. There is a lot of work to keep the website current and operating without downtime. As part of any website planning exercise, ongoing WordPress website support & maintenance services should be a key consideration.
WordPress website support & maintenance can eat up a lot of your time that can be used to focus on your business. It is important to keep the core system, plug-ins and themes up to date. This helps to avoid any security and operational issues.
As someone that runs a successful web development agency, I fully understand the issues website owners face. There is always the need to make a minor adjustment. But these requests can get out of hand at times and may be a problem for the developer.
What do you do now?
We’ve researched companies that provide WordPress Support & Maintenance Services. We did not look at a web development company that also did support & maintenance. Only companies that were focused on WordPress support as their core business were selected.
This article will provide you with helpful guidance so you can make an educated choice about who should be tasked with the ongoing support & maintenance of your website.
First, let’s understand what you should look for from a WordPress support & maintenance services company.
What Should I Expect from a WordPress Support & Maintenance Service Company?
If you are already working with a web development company, you should ask them if they offer ongoing support & maintenance service. Our agency includes this in the planning phase of all of our WordPress projects. We want our clients to stay with us. And who knows their website better than we do.
If your existing web development agency does not offer an ongoing support & maintenance service, time to look elsewhere.
So here is what we think a support & maintenance service should be offering you.
Dependable Contact Channel
The first thing we need to confirm is that the company is accessible.
- Do they provide a useful support channel? (email, chat, telephone, etc.)
- How will you contact them when you need something done?
- How will they update you or ask for clarifications?
- Are they available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
- Do they handle international clients properly or is this a local service?
All of these questions should be answered to your satisfaction before proceeding. Your goal is to find someone that can help you at any time when you need it. No matter what the level of urgency, you should be able to contact them.
We were looking for value from the communications you might receive from a support provider. Some provided a weekly report on the status of your website and a list of the tasks completed to keep everything running smoothly.
We did not make this a required part of their service as not everyone needs this. But we did give additional marks when a company went that extra step to keep you informed.
Code Fixes and Minor Tasks
These are the minor requests for updates that you want to be made to your website. Tasks such as minor content updates, installing, updating and configuring plugins, and minor theme changes.
Each of these tasks should take them between 30 minutes to an hour to complete.
We were not looking for major development tasks, but minor requests such as small updates to content.
This is one that many people say “That will never happen to me”. Do not be fooled. Security, especially as a preventative measure, is an important factor in keeping your online business operating smoothly. You can read more about Keeping Your WordPress Website Secure and How to Prevent WordPress Website Hacking.
After website launch, a responsible support & maintenance resource should be tasked with regular security scans, maintaining a web application firewall, and brute force protection. Industry trusted tools and services should be used such as Sucuri, iThemes Security, or Wordfence to help prevent problems or help recover if the worst happens.
If your business does not have the resources to provide this level of security, outsourcing this to a third-party is a smart move. When it comes to the Security offered by a WordPress maintenance service, you need to read the fine print.
- What “exactly” do they offer you in relation to security?
- Do they just scan your website on a regular basis?
- Do they provide full security monitoring 24/7 to proactively identify issues?
- What happens if a problem is discovered?
All of these should be stated clearly on their website or in other materials they have available. If not, ask them. We evaluated each of our candidates using these same questions.
As we mentioned before, keeping your WordPress core files, plug-ins and themes up to date is a critical component of your website. The support & maintenance service should also ensure that any updates are useful and not damaging to our website. So we need them to have a bit of intelligence when it comes to updating.
You do not want anyone applying updates just because one is available.
So, we were looking for creative methods used by these support companies that added value to the WordPress update process.
Regular Website Backups
This is also an important preventative maintenance feature. You need to have a backup of the website in case something does go wrong. This will allow you to get your online business back online and running properly very quickly.
These backups should also be stored off-site for a worst-case scenario.
Virus & Malware removal
Having your website hacked is never a pleasant experience. So we looked for support services that let us contact them quickly when (and if) this happened.
The manner in which the requests are handled was also important to us.
A company that provides this service was also given extra points if this service was included in the package. Many providers included it at a very high additional cost. If our website was hacked, and we had subscribed to a service, we would expect that service provider to address the issues within the scope of our monthly contract. Not charge us more for something they should have been tracking.
We included this because sometimes, we just need to change our hosting provider. It could be for performance or security reasons. Or maybe they are too expensive. Whatever the reason, we evaluated each company on their ability to provide the service and how they addressed these types of requests.
This was not considered a required feature, but a nice to have service.
Performance & Speed
The importance of these two elements plays a key roll in your websites search engine ranking. Not to mention the importance it plays in keeping your website visitors on your website. If your website is slow, people leave and go elsewhere.
So, we included this feature as a requirement. Each company was scored on the inclusion of performance and speed optimization into their packages and how this information was used to add value to your business.
The top providers supplied a monthly report with a section on this topic. They also provided feedback on methods you can use to improve performance. Most importantly, the offered a service that fixed performance and performed speed optimization on your WordPress site. Performance is then monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure everything is performing well or if further speed optimization is required.
Slightly related to performance is uptime monitoring of your WordPress site. Most providers offered this as it is a basic feature and easy to implement. But we looked for the inclusion of uptime monitoring when evaluating performance features.
Money Back Guarantee
This was not a requirement, but a nice to have feature. Only one company offered this. Most of the others did have a refund policy that was clearly communicated. If there was nothing stated on their website or the message was not clear, we removed points for this.
How Much Should I Pay?
We targeted support & maintenance services that would suit our very limited budget. If you are a large corporation or can afford a large budget for support & maintenance, your best option might be to bring this service in-house. But some of these service companies offer high-end WordPress maintenance services at the Enterprise level as well.
As far as the price, you should consider what it would cost you to hire one full-time employee to address all of your needs. The decide, what would you pay that person per month?
Your budget for a third-party support & maintenance service should be less than that person’s salary.
In our list of support & maintenance companies, a monthly investment of $50 would be all that is necessary. A small price to pay to manage a vipers nest of potential issues.
WordPress Support & Maintenance Services Worth a Try
With all of the research requirements now defined, we dug around and found a few companies that we feel fulfilled the needs of most website owners.
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The team at WP Fix It scored the highest in our research. But most of the companies that made this list are worthy of a try depending upon your own needs and requirements.
If a company did not make this list, it means that too many key elements of their offering were missing. These were not apparent by looking at their website.
If you do decide to use any of these WordPress website support & maintenance services, please come back and leave your own ratings and comments on their review page. It would help everyone in the community.
Thank you for reading.