Are WordPress Maintenance Fees Worth Your Money?

Are WordPress Maintenance Fees Worth Your Money?

Written by Karen Carps

April 11, 2024

Last week was… interesting. First of all, my kids had Spring Break. I had scheduled some doctor appointments for them and was working a little less so we could do a few fun things together. I did not plan, however, to have a major issue with WordPress maintenance.

WordPress released a new version, which automatically installed on a whole bunch of sites I manage. Well, some software I often use did not play nicely with the new version. At all. One by one, I started to get notifications about websites being down. Completely. Words like “fatal error” showed on the screen. Then I started getting texts and emails from clients.

When all was said and done, I had 8 sites that went down in one way or another and several more would have if I hadn’t realized what was going on and disabled automatic updates. Fortunately, a new update for the software appeared, and I was able to get everything up and running again. It was 2 days of… fun. While the kids were home.

Now, for the silver lining, because I always like to find one. The clients did not have to worry about the problem. Yes, it was a bit inconvenient for their sites to be down temporarily. But they all had website maintenance plans and could count on the following:

  • They did not need to know how to fix it.
  • I was going to get their site back up for them.
  • I had a backup of their site in case the problem was beyond repair.​

All in all, the sites were down well under 24 hours. Moreover, I was in constant communication with each client about what was happening. Was it fun? Absolutely not. Was I glad to be able to do it? Yes. Creating sites that advance client goals and then keeping them running is what I do, and it was a privilege to serve them.

Fast forward to this week, and I had a meeting with someone who had a WordPress issue. When I asked if anyone she’d worked with in the past had ever offered WordPress maintenance services, she had a genuine look of surprise. Too many WordPress professionals completely ignore this recommendation.

What WordPress Professionals Should Do…

WordPress professionals need to remember about warning people that they will need maintenance after site completion. I admit, I didn’t used to mention it in my initial meeting with a client. As a result, clients often showed surprise when I launched their sites and then brought it up. WordPress maintenance? You didn’t say anything about that. It kind of came off as me looking for more money once the project was complete.

I now include that conversation in all initial client meetings, talking to them about the importance of WordPress maintenance and what it will do for them. I also tell them to look over my maintenance plans and that we’ll discuss which one is best for them after project completion.  As a result, more of my original website clients have become long term maintenance clients. Why? They no longer felt blindsided about the cost.

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Why Do I Need WordPress Maintenance?

Even the folks who created WordPress suggest that regular maintenance is essential. In their article, they liken it to auto maintenance. You understand the need to keep your car service in tune; your website is no different. Keeping a well maintained site ensures it always runs at its best.

Should I Do My Own WordPress Maintenance?

That depends. How comfortable are you? How much time do you have? You may be comfortable driving your car, but that doesn’t make you competent to work under the hood. Similarly, you may be able to add/edit content on your WordPress site, but that doesn’t qualify you to do all its maintenance.

A car mechanic knows the intricacies of your car and what could go wrong. Because of that, he or she can take preventative measures. WordPress maintenance works the same way. A professional knows what can happen if WordPress and its plugins are not updated regularly and correctly. Perhaps even more important is the site’s security. Someone extremely familiar with WordPress also knows of its security vulnerabilities. Not addressing WordPress security is just asking for trouble.

Not only is your comfort and expertise in question, but do you have the time? When people get swamped in business, WordPress maintenance and security is not at the top of their lists. In fact, it’s often the first thing to get pushed to the back burner. It’s only when something goes wrong that it gets the attention it deserved all along, and by then it’s too late. You’ll have to pay someone much more to fix the WordPress problem than to prevent it.

WordPress Maintenance - You'll have to pay someone much more to fix the WordPress problem than to prevent it.

WordPress Maintenance Benefits

Think of WordPress maintenance fees as an insurance policy. You pay the small monthly fee for the professional to handle it. My maintenance clients even get monthly reports of what I’ve been doing behind the scenes so they see where their money goes. Then, if something goes wrong, it’s on the professional and not on you. Other benefits include:

  • Saving time to do what you need to do instead of worrying about your website.
  • A professional oversees all plugin and WordPress updates with minimum interruption.
  • Well maintained sites have better security and a more optimized user experience.

Having WordPress maintenance doesn’t mean nothing will ever go wrong, but it does ensure that the problem will be fixed immediately if it does. So make sure someone takes good care of your website (and backs it up), and keep swimming along!

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