Nobody wants to hear those words, let alone speak them.
The often forgotten part about building a shiny new WordPress site is the ongoing costs. Hosting is a very straightforward cost, but what about ongoing maintenance and support. Who is going to help you when things go “belly up?”
Some people consider Maintenance and Support like an insurance policy. You only need it if you expect something bad to happen. But it’s more than that. Maintenance is about keeping your site updated. It’s a proactive eye on your website to ensure that every theme, every plugin and your WordPress core are at the current version.
Ongoing site maintenance, like the updates we’ve just mentioned are something you can definitely do yourself. If you have time, and you have the knowledge to be able to make adjustments to your theme and plugins you can definitely save money.
Will doing maintenance be a distraction from your core business?
I guess the question then becomes, how much time are going to spend fiddling with your site and settings rather than doing what you’re supposed to be doing?
I remember back to when I was doing my final college exams. Of course I was studying hard, but it was also really tempting to pick up the guitar sitting idle in the corner of my room. It was a welcome distraction from doing the study. While I had never been that good at the guitar, I learned more in my last few months of college than in the previous three years!
I think the lesson here is that WordPress (something new and challenging) can be a distraction. It’s easy to follow the distraction instead of focusing your efforts on building great content, or marketing your product. If you are easily distracted, like me, then you really need to count the cost of website maintenance in terms of lost productivity. You can’t afford to tinker and play around the edges when sales are walking out the door. You need to spend your time more wisely.
The costs of getting something wrong can be extremely high
Your ongoing website charges are obviously your hosting, and we would recommend that this should be accompanied by a security and maintenance plan. At the minimum this will keep hackers at bay and ensure that your site is kept up to date. When comparing the cost of a maintenance plan vs. doing it yourself, it’s not just about the cost of how much a technician costs when something goes wrong. Consider the cost of lost business, or failed search engine rankings and the real possibility of Google putting an ugly “This site may be hacked” message against your search engine entry.
The cost of not taking up a maintenance plan can amount to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars per event for small businesses, and the mopping up can sometimes take weeks or months.
Getting someone to do WordPress maintenance for you can be the better option
Small businesses starting out can start with an inexpensive hosting solution (some under $10 per month) and a maintenance plan that will give you monitoring, backups, updates and more starting from $24.95 per month. That would give you a website and the peace-of-mind that your investment is being protected so that you can spend your time on more important things.
It is worth mentioning one particular issue which arises, that may tip the scales in favour of buying a maintenance plan. Sometimes WordPress updates and themes don’t update well, resulting in a crashed site. While it doesn’t happen every time, we know from experience just how often it does happen. Without solid WordPress knowledge this can be a bit like playing a game of ‘Russian Roulette’ with your website, so be careful if you spin the barrel and decide to maintain the site yourself, and always remember to backup before you make a change.
WordPress Maintenance Plans are not expensive
Someone else can take care of WordPress for you, and this cost is pretty minimal compared to the risks we’ve already talked about. WordPress Update and Backup plans from Asporea Consulting start at $24.95/month and give you 24/7 monitoring, updates, and the ability to restore by backup on request. Great peace of mind for less than 85 cents a day!
Photo credit: David Goehring