Do I really need a WordPress maintenance plan?

As a WordPress site management business we probably should answer “yes, at all times” but while everyone needs a bug free, safe and fast website, not “everyone” has to subscribe straight away to a WordPress care plan. Who you are, what your business is, current situation, budget and the type of website you run are all relevant factors you need to take into account when deciding on whether to go for this kind of service now or later and what plan to choose.

Why you may not always get WordPress maintenance right away

Care plans can be expensive

Care plans usually start at around $60-$70 per month and there’s literally no limit to how high the prices can be and to what the plans cover. Not everyone can afford such services and while it is always attractive and beneficial to your business, you will need to add this cost to your sometimes already lengthy list of expenses (website, theme, plugins, hosting if not provided, advertising). So before subscribing to a maintenance plan, see if it makes sense to you.

You might not need it at the moment

If you are just starting your business and trying to get feedback on a product, you might not want to jump on a WordPress care plan immediately. If you launched your website recently, chances are you are running on the latest version of WordPress and the latest version of any theme or plugin you are using. If you went for well-maintained plugins with decent amounts of active users, it is less likely that you will have any issue with these in the coming months. Core, theme and plugin updates are one of the key features in a WordPress care plan and while maintenance is more than just keeping plugins up to date, it is always good to know how much your website needs each one of the features covered by the plan.

Check everything your WordPress maintenance plan has to offer, ask yourself if it is worth it (it really might be, but not always). No, you do not need daily backups if you edit your content once a month on your one-page showcase site. Same with emergency support which can be overkill if you’re just starting and barely have visitors everyday. Again, review the plan’s features and check that it is relevant to your current situation.

Who should subscribe to a care plan?

Many websites are updated with new data everyday. Orders, comments, articles, not all sites are of equal complexity, a one-pager is certainly less subject to plugin conflicts and crashes than a full featured eCommerce site.

What’s the impact of downtime on your business?

If you sell products or have a lot of visitors everyday or for any other reason cannot afford having a crashed site for a few days, you most likely need a WordPress care plan. It is easy to understand that if you make even $50 per day with your site, a small monthly fee isn’t much to ensure everything runs smoothly. A clean and up-to-date website is a faster website and speed directly affects sales. This is true for security too, an unsafe site can be compromised and to some extent damage your reputation.

Any active and functioning business needs maintenance

As mentioned earlier, a care plan will allow you to have a bug free, reliable and fast website. If your business relies on an online store, if you are providing valuable information to a growing user base or if you get even a decent amount of pageviews, you need to protect your site, backup your data and ensure fast load times. This is required in order for any operating business to be able to scale properly and be future-proof.

Combine maintenance with hosting and other services.

Most WordPress management businesses include hosting in their plans, some will also throw premium plugins in the mix, a free SSL certificate, audits of all kinds and so on. It can be an opportunity for you to try a faster hosting provider. Do the maths and see if it works, bundled services are often more valuable than separate subscriptions or purchases.

It may be the right time to upgrade your site

See what you pay for hosting, SSL certificate and what ongoing subscriptions you have (caching plugin, storage for backups or even image compression services). For instance, let’s say you’re at $50 per month. If you find a maintenance plan that provides you with all the above plus WordPress updates, site edits, emergency support and security for just a bit more than what you’re already paying then you might want to consider subscribing. You will only have to deal with a single invoice and everything will be taken care of for you, so you can focus on your business. Most of the time (not with all maintenance providers unfortunately), all these tasks are handled by professionals and this means less headache for you, less room for errors too.