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WordPress Website Maintenance

Web Development,  Website Maintenance

03 Mar, 2022

WordPress Website Maintenance: Why, When & How To Do It + Cost

Malware. Data loss. Poor UX.

Unfortunately, these business nightmares become reality for too many companies. Since 40% of websites are built using WordPress, this platform is a popular target for hackers.

WordPress website maintenance is the support and protection you need to make sure your performance is consistently outstanding and profitable.

Now, we know what you’re thinking…

You’re not looking for DIY solutions.

You most definitely don’t need to know which buttons to press or how to handle every small detail of the journey – you’ll have experienced professionals doing that for you.

We won’t waste your time. We’re going to jump right in with the info you do need:

  1. What exactly you need for your WordPress website and when
  2. How to know you’ve found the right expert for it
  3. How much you can expect this to cost

Understanding Website Maintenance & How it Works on WordPress

What do WordPress website maintenance, plant watering, and housekeeping have in common?

They should be done regularly.

via GIPHY

The difference is that forgetting to water your plants and clean your house is sad and a bit gross, but not devastating.

But if you forget to maintain your WordPress site? Well, that’s straight-up dangerous – for you, your business, and your customers.

Adobe lost over 150 million credit card records and other sensitive customer data to hackers, and then paid over a million dollars in legal fees.

Aside from the expensive legal consequences, inadequate website maintenance results in poor accessibility, looking outdated, losing customer trust, and lagging behind the times…

When is the right time to maintain your website?

We know WordPress website maintenance must be done regularly – but what does ‘regularly’ mean in this instance?

Here are some good website maintenance triggers:

  1. Daily, weekly, and monthly tasks
  2. Alongside updates to Google’s algorithm for SEO maintenance
  3. When issues arise (customer feedback or otherwise) with accessibility or UI
  4. When content starts getting stale and needs an update

Different WordPress website maintenance tasks and packages get done at different times. If you haven’t done any in a while, it may seem like a lot at once.

But as long as you consistently go through all of them, you’ve got nothing to worry about even if something comes up.

Like if Google updates its algorithm or someone tries to take you down.

You’ll have a spotless online presence that shows you in a good light and keeps customers happy.

But let’s give you some WordPress specifics.

What is WordPress website maintenance?

WordPress is a great platform to use because it’s customizable and user-friendly.

The fact that it’s so popular makes WordPress website maintenance easy:

  1. Security of the platform is pretty good which gives you a nice head start
  2. Many developers are WP experts so they can help you
  3. There are plenty of resources out there to DIY and not get terrible results!

Not like that time you made a turmeric face mask that left you looking and smelling like an egg yolk for two days.

Still, we know you won’t be DIYing this.

You couldn’t care less about the details of WordPress website maintenance mode.

Instead, let’s focus on what expert WordPress website maintenance and SEO can do for you.

How about a couple of common examples?

Problem Maintenance solution example
1. Poor UI due to outdated design
  • Updated themes and images
  • Modern web design elements
  • Simplified navigation, etc.
2. Low domain authority
  • Fixing broken links
  • Updating and optimizing site content
  • Refreshing web design for better UX
3. Malware risk
  • Improved security measures
  • Updating core and plugins
  • Regular backups
  • 24/7 monitoring

That’s the idea, anyway.

Now, we did say a lot of people are WP experts.

But let’s be real, anyone can claim that. So you need a vetting system to be sure you’re putting your website in good hands.

To that end, we’ll explain the most important maintenance types below.

5 Important Aspects of WordPress Website Maintenance

You can keep your website competitive, attractive, functional, and ranking with these types of maintenance.

Security

Security needs to make the top of your list.

This isn’t as obvious as we’d like to believe, because:

  • Around 64% of financial services companies have over a thousand files open to every employee, leaving the virtual door open for hackers
  • 75% of small businesses have no recovery plan
  • 93% of organizations that suffer a data loss incident without a recovery plan go out of business within a year
  • Malware attacks cost US businesses around $2 million on average

Unfortunately, when a site gets hacked, or even just looks unsafe, customers lose trust and quickly abandon ship.

Wait, there’s more: downtime is bad for your ranking, so any new visitors will have more trouble finding you.

Security maintenance includes all the measures you need to protect your site, avoid any website security threats coming your way, and plan the most efficient possible recovery plan should something breach your defense.

SEO audit

An SEO audit is a professional assessment of your site’s SEO as it is right now, as well as your strategy going forward.

The logic is this:

SEO takes a while to start working. But sometimes, it’s hard to tell whether your efforts are actually effective but pending, so to speak, or they just plain don’t make sense and you gotta pivot.

It’s important to know this sooner rather than later because you could literally be wasting your time and money sitting on wooden eggs, waiting for them to hatch.

Instead, you could be redistributing that work to improve SEO and get returns faster.

This would cover things like your content, link profile, socials, etc.

A WordPress website maintenance and SEO expert will provide recommendations and implement them for you so you can sit back and enjoy the view from that high Google rank.

But won’t an SEO audit be an extra cost?

How much is an SEO audit anyway?

It depends on your company size, the rates of the agency you’re working with, etc.

Expect to invest a couple thousand dollars at minimum for a medium sized website.

But here’s the thing: the average ROI for SEO is 317% for eCommerce, and even higher for real estate or financial services, for example.

The organic traffic and domain authority are well worth it.

UX/UI

Next up we have user experience. Who hasn’t made an embarrassing UX oversight in the past?

No shame here. Mistakes happen.

But there are mistakes, and then there are downright bad UI practices that turn visitors away – the difference is how (quickly) you fix them:

  • Unclear or hidden navigation (why???)
  • Autoplay videos (what a quick way to make users’ blood boil)
  • Cluttered pages with too many elements (distracting and inaccessible)
  • Slow loading times, etc.

Around 40% of users will leave if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load (and even less for eCommerce), and 80% are less likely to come back after a bad user experience.

It’s a tough crowd out there. But nothing you can’t handle with help.

Short example: this cool web design agency we’ve heard of did a sweet job of simplifying user interface and engaging users using video animation for Ability Advertising.

These were the results:

Ability Advertising launch analytics

Naturally, Ability decided to stick with that company for security and maintenance because clearly they’re doing something right.

Okay, yes, it’s us. But that’s not the point.

Point is, a WordPress website maintenance expert will keep your site attractive and accessible with modern design elements.

CRO

No point beating around the bush: you want your website to sell.

You need all that hard work you do to get traffic to your site to actually pay off by getting those visitors to buy.

Or subscribe. Or sign up. Or otherwise take action.

Conversion rate optimization is the way to keep track of and improve your site’s performance to meet that goal.

For example, conversion copywriting is a sure way to entice your target audience enough for them to buy if you can nail your message, show character, and keep it relevant.

We tip our hats to Dooly for this one:

If you notice that people leave your site without clicking any buttons, you’re due for an overhaul.

CRO WordPress website maintenance can show you the way.

Engagement

Finally, engagement maintenance means responding to comments, deleting spammy ones, capturing feedback, etc.

Essentially, monitoring and analyzing how users engage with your website.

This is definitely the type of maintenance you’d do more often to avoid slowing your loading times and cluttering the UI.

And you may be noticing a pattern here:

Maintenance types overlap. That’s because it always comes down to keeping you at the top of your game and catering to your customers.

You might be wondering what type of WordPress website maintenance packages you can get to cover your needs, whether that’s a single aspect from this list or a whole custom deal.

Well, let’s take a look, shall we?

Types of WordPress Website Maintenance Services

Okay, up for consideration are three main options.

Buckle up! We’ll walk you over their pros and cons, cost estimates, etc.

Web Design & Development Agencies

First off we have web design agencies.

These companies can do virtually anything you need for your site, well above and beyond WordPress OR maintenance.

They can handle large-scale projects as quickly as smaller ones because they have a specialized team on the trigger, which means:

  • Enterprises with huge to-do lists and impossible-looking requirements can get their needs met via custom packages
  • Businesses of all sizes can find long-term and easily-scalable support
  • This extends to other platforms like WooCommerce as well, which means an extra layer of safety should you ever need to migrate in any direction


via GIPHY

The catch is, this level of sophistication and comprehensive care is obviously not the cheapest option on the market.

Web design agencies are better suited for larger companies with bigger budgets.

Full disclosure: this is what we do!

To give you a general idea, State Creative’s pricing starts at $159/month for basic plans, whereas custom packages cost $249+.

Freelance WordPress Experts

Freelancers can be just what the doctor ordered when you:

  • Need a specialized skillset you don’t have in-house
  • Have a smaller scope of required work, or
  • Just want to delegate a task without hiring an entire agency

Hiring a freelance WordPress expert can be a great option for smaller and medium-sized businesses who have a specific or one-off idea in mind or a smaller scope of work.

This can be a double-edged sword.

It can be more affordable and you get exactly what you pay for – nothing extra. Or it may become the more expensive option in the long run.

Freelancers charge anywhere from $30-$100 per hour.

The other thing to think about here is scaling. One person can only do so much so quickly, so you might find yourself short-staffed soon.

WordPress Agencies

Similarly to web design agencies, WordPress agencies are suitable for bigger project scopes when you need a whole team on the job.

They can provide full, robust service packages and offer other specialized services on top of maintenance.

Good examples are WP Buffs or Devrix.

So what’s the difference? Well, it’s in their name:

WordPress agencies are specialized in WordPress. That means they are definitely experts, BUT they can’t follow you to a different platform if you ever want to move.

The other thing you gotta keep in mind is industry expertise.

If you can find an agency that’s dealt with companies like yours in the past and you’re okay being limited to one platform, you could be all set with a WordPress agency.

Pricing comes down to your needs.

Basic maintenance including backups, updates, and such can be found for $50/month.

But if you want them to really dig in, cover your content edits, etc. you’re looking at $400+ easily.

Here’s WP Buffs’ pricing for reference:

Summary of Maintenance Service Types

We thought it would be handy to put this info in a little comparison table. So here are the three options stacked against one another:

WordPress Maintenance Services Pros Cons Best for
Web Design & Development Agencies
  • Offer a wide range of development and maintenance services above and beyond WordPress
  • Often offer custom packages
  • Can do large scale projects for all company sizes
  • Can offer regular and scalable support 
  • Have to be on the pulse of security and web design trends to compete
  • Often require a bigger budget
  • larger companies who want all-encompassing comprehensive care
  • Long-term, robust, and scalable support
Freelance WordPress Experts
  • Versatile, you can find the person who specializes in your industry
  • Great if you want a specific skillset and not an entire team
  • Often more affordable and offer services on a smaller scale
  • Limited scope of work
  • Not as scalable 
  • Can’t provide a robust set of services in a short amount of time
  • One-time audits
  • Smaller businesses that want affordable and focused help
WordPress Agencies
  • Know the ins and outs of WordPress
  • Can handle larger workloads quickly
  • Other specialized WordPress services beyond maintenance
  • WordPress-bound, not able t help you if you switch to a different platform
  • Medium and larger companies that want robust support
  • Companies that plan on sticking with WordPress

We’re almost done.

Almost – we have some final advice to help ensure you hit the bullseye.

How to Choose WordPress Website Maintenance Services

No matter which path you take in terms of the type of professional services you get, there are some last-minute considerations we need to cover.

These things are always great to have:

  1. 24/7 monitoring – it’s the only way to have eyes on the situation at all times and react quickly if something comes up
  2. Support – for questions or anything out of the ordinary you may need, consider what level of support is fine with you
  3. Custom packages – you don’t need all the bells and whistles, but your company has unique needs and it’s better for you if you can meet them

Because, when we say needs, we mean it like: things you need to perform at the top of your potential and keep growing.

So what if you’re high maintenance?

Besides that, look for a track record and portfolio that show results.

In our case, we know our customers can put their confidence in us because we’ve helped countless other companies just like theirs achieve the results they want.

If your chosen WordPress website maintenance experts support you around the clock and provide the care you deserve, we’ll consider this blog post a success.

Even if you don’t choose us.

Conclusion

WordPress website maintenance is non-negotiable if you hope to keep ahead of the curve with your business.

And we know you do. But, you know what else we know?

How to design and maintain high-performing WordPress websites in mint condition.

In fact, you could say that’s what our agency is known (and awarded) for.

So. At this point you:

  1. Have the map to the gold…
  2. Have qualified experts to do the digging for you…

If we did our math right, that means it’s time to get down to business.

And if by any chance we didn’t do our math right (we’re not robots), you can look around our blog to learn more about optimizing your website.

We suggest starting with this articlethis article for eCommerce resources, or this professional services inspo one if that’s your jam.

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