Deal with WordPress Web Maintenance Buy-in the Right Way
We had a very interesting chat with a key client the other day. It was a classic case of professional dilemma – what to do when the client refuses to maintain his WordPress website once we hand over the site to them after it is going live. After much deliberation, we did manage to have the client see the logic behind going for maintenance. However, it got me thinking about the approach adopted by other developers in a similar situation. Hence I have collated some important pointers on why WordPress maintenance contract is necessary and how you can hold up your end of the bargain with some good practices.
Reasons why website maintenance means complete business sense
We strongly support WordPress web development if the client accepts the fact that WordPress maintenance as an important activity to ensure that the site continues to breathe fresh air, long after it has been published.
- Components – Most components of the WP site need regular checkups – backups, updates to plugins, updates to WP version and checking its compatibility with plugins or other elements
- Hacks – If the site is not under maintenance and is attacked by hackers, then approaching developers will be a costly affair. This might turn out to be way more expensive than the nominal AMC contract charges
- SEO – Google constantly updates its SEO algorithms. A WP site under maintenance will be able to respond better to these changes and remain SEO friendly to allow customers to discover your site.
- Technical aspect – The client is not equipped to deal with technical blips. Also, it would make sense for the client to focus on their core operations, and let developers worry about keeping the WP site running smooth.
- Once bitten twice shy – Lastly, consider the fact that the period after resurrecting the site from a hack is most conducive to gain buy-in. Hence if the client is adamant the first time, be assured that he/she will not be so rigid once the site has recovered from an attack.
What to include in WordPress CMS maintenance?
Just like servicing of a vehicle enhances its life, regular WordPress website maintenance can help enhance the site’s life. Some components that can be looked at are –
- WordPress updates – An average of two updates are released every month by WordPress. This calls for the need to ensure that the updates work fine with all other components of the site.
- Security – You need to ensure that all security measures, tweaks, backups and updates needed to run the site well are taken care of.
- Reporting – Clients need to see numbers in order to justify RoI. You can pull up critical performance metrics such as trends on sales performance, change in email subscribers or social media performance to showcase how well the WP site is doing.
- Plugins and conflict resolution – With plugin updates released by their respective developers, it is imperative that these fit well with your site. Also, any conflict between plugin and WP updates need technical expertise to resolve
- Backup and storage of file and database – A WordPress site with significant content changes needs daily database backup and full backup once a week, at the very minimum
- Miscellaneous – When charging a client for WordPress website, do factor in at least 6-8 hours of work for Adhoc requests such as a change to programming, design, interface or training and support.
Some best practices that help you seal the deal
Here are some good ideas that help you serve your clients better in this crucial stage:
- Awareness – A majority of the resistance from clients comes purely from the fact that they do not know the impact of not opting for WordPress site maintenance. Make them aware of the problems that they can face during the tenure and how you have the right resources to resolve them.
- The basics – Some important pointers can be taken right during the WordPress development phase to prevent unauthorized intrusion. These include limiting login attempts, replacing ‘admin’ with a secure password, and updating the wp_prefix
- Automation – Some clients would like to know on the automatic handling of WordPress maintenance issues. Here you need to position yourself as an expert authority and charge accordingly. So when you suggest a handy plugin such as ‘WordFence’, make sure you don’t share the idea for free.
- AMC – You need to strongly promote the feasibility of going for Annual Maintenance Contract. Make sure you take a session covering the pointers in the above section to get adequate buy-in from the client. A good practice would be to include a 1 year AMC contract detailing what will be covered and what will not be.
- Costs – This is the main culprit that makes clients decide against maintenance of WordPress based sites. You can extract maximum value for costs by automating most of the regular maintenance activities through plugins and keep manual checks to the minimum.
- Auto-update – WP version 4 and up now provides 4 basic update handling capabilities – Plugin, Core, Theme and Translation file updates. You can toggle one or more of these in your wp-config.php file based on the site dynamics.
Hope these guidelines help you make a strong case to convince your client to go for WordPress website maintenance for their own benefit. Do write to us and let us know your views.