If you’re in the market for a new WordPress website, you may have come across the term “website maintenance” or “WordPress Care Plan”.
But, the question is, what are they and do you really need them?
We’ll go through the ins and outs of a typical care plan in this blog and discuss the options you have as a WordPress website owner.
What is a WordPress Care Plan?
Let’s start off with the basics. What is a care plan?
A WordPress care plan is a collection of important tasks carried out to ensure the upkeep of your WordPress website. Unlike other DIY platforms, WordPress is a completely open-source platform, which means your designer or developer puts together all the moving parts for your website to function. Setting up hosting, connecting domains, installing plugins and so on.
Ultimately, a WordPress website is complex on the backend, and because of this, it requires essential maintenance to avoid technical issues or external threats in the long-run. Any website runs the risk of developing technical problems if it is not managed correctly.
For example, imagine you invest your time and money into purchasing a beautiful high street shop. You carried out hours of research, purchased nice furniture, decorations and even had personalised branding fixtures installed. The store looks amazing!
Now, imagine after opening you don’t invest in a cleaner to keep the place tidy or you don’t invest in a security to keep the store safe after hours. Soon you’ll have a store that was once a great place to do business and is now not safe to do business at all.
Your website should be no different.
Customers would not expect to walk into a store that wasn’t kept clean, and they certainly don’t expect to visit a website where their data is at risk.
Having a website is a virtual storefront and maintaining a secure and functional site for your visitors is vital to doing business through your website, whether you sell products or a service.
What’s included in a WordPress Care Plan
Each WordPress care plan will have different features depending on where you look. However, there are some very key parts of a WordPress care plan most offer as a way to protect your website from issues in the future
1. Secure hosting
Most WordPress care plans include a hosting as part for the package. This means that you do not need to worry about the technical bother of placing your domain on a server, this will all be taken care of by the designer.
When on the lookout for WordPress care plans, check whether hosting is or is not provided. As this could cost you more money and headache overtime having to host your website independently.
At Raadia Media we don’t only just offer hosting, we offer secure, UK cloud hosting run on 100% renewable servers. Meaning your website is reducing its impact on the planet and has the potential to run even faster.
Unsure where your website is hosted? WhoIsHostingThis is a great website that instantly tells you the name of your current hosting provider.
2. Maintenance of an active SSL
This is a standard for all websites but can often be overlooked. If you look at the URL bar of any website, to the left of the URL name, there should be a small padlock icon. This indicates that the website you are visiting is secure. This protects your website for brute force attacks and gives your visitors confidence that their data is being protected.
A quick way to check whether your website is SSL secure and when your certificate expires, is by entering your website address at SSL Shopper.
There are some hosts that provide SSL as a paid add-on or a premium feature. Which, in my opinion, is a really unethical way of hosting website. Mainly because as mentioned previously, this should be a standard among all websites.
Another other reason this can be seen as unethical is because if you are sharing a server with other websites who have chosen not to pay for SSL protection, it actually puts every single website on that server at risk of a hack.
It sounds scary, but these are often the risks associated with shared hosting providers.
3. Regular Back-ups
All website no matter how small need to have a daily, or at least weekly back-up. The dreaded feeling of searching for your website and seeing an error is gut-wrenching. After investing so much time and money in your website, the last thing you’d want to do is have to rebuild it all.
A great plugin I recommend for website back-ups is Updrafts Plus. It is used by millions of WordPress users which says a lot about its popularity. What’s even better is that they give you the option to store back-ups in a cloud server such as Dropbox or Google drive, meaning you
4. WordPress Software and Plugin Updates
Each WordPress website is subjected to routine updates of the software or plugins that are installed. This is often done on a monthly basis. Any longer than a month and there could be issues with outdated plugins not working with your current version of WordPress, which is a big no-no.
Maintaining updates helps to prevent hackers who particularly look for websites with vulnerabilities such as, outdated software. This could lead to your website and all your customers data being at risk.
Apart from a security perspective, updating your WordPress website can help to increase your website functionality.
Updates are designed to constantly improve how WordPress works and serves you as a user. The more religious you are about keeping your website up to date, the better chance you have or reaping the benefits created by plugin developers.
5. Agency Level WordPress Plugins and Licences
Having a WordPress website is one thing, but the amazing array of plugins is what sets your website apart. There over 50 thousand plugins to date and growing. You can search the WordPress database for plugins you may be interested in. Each giving you the possibility to add a special functionality to your website based on your individual needs.
Plugins can be either free or paid for, depending on your needs. Most WordPress care plans will include a range of agency level plugins which you can benefit from as a client. These should come at no additional cost to you and will often save you money in comparison to purchasing the licences individually.
Each web designer will choose which agency level, paid plugin is best for them and their clients. Some examples of paid for plugins you can benefit form are; caching plugins, premium WordPress themes, premium design software, image optimisation plugins, back up plugins and many more.
These are just an example of what a common WordPress care plan would provide. Yet, there are so many more things a care plan can cover, not to mention the support of an actual human and most likely your designer who has an understanding of you, your business and your priorities.
How much does a WordPress care plan cost?
Typically, prices for WordPress care plans can range anywhere between £30 – £250 a month. The price you pay will often reflect the country you live in, the amount of care you are receiving or simply the designer’s choice.
At Raadia Media, we aim to make prices as accessible as possible for small business owners. As a standard we provide a 3-month free trial for all clients who have a website designed by us. Feel free to view all of Raadia Media’s current care plans.
Every designer will have their own pricing structure for different reasons. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you make a commitment. This helps you to gain the confidence that you are getting everything you need in your care plan for a price that works for you.
Do you NEED a WordPress care plan?
The short answer, is YES!
Whether you’re considering hiring a professional to take care for your website or do it yourself, the fact is a WordPress website must be maintained no matter what.
Neglecting to commit to these tasks can lead you into bigger trouble in the future, some of which may not be reversed. I always say to my clients, if you are willing to invest in the design of your website, you must also be willing to invest in the protection of the website too.
Still not sure? If you’d like some more information about whether a WordPress care plan is right for you and the options available, I invite you to schedule a call with me or just send over an email and I’ll help you to answer any questions you may have.