Navigating WordPress Maintenance Services

Tips for navigating different WordPress maintenance services based on your site's requirements

Find The Best WordPress Maintenance and Support Service for Your Website

Whether you’re a marketer who’s been tasked with the company website, an in-demand developer juggling too many projects, or a small business owner taking the DIY approach, maintaining  a WordPress website can be taxing.

From php updates to changing your WordPress theme, a lot goes into keeping a website healthy. That’s why many businesses opt to hire WordPress experts for regular site maintenance, only to discover that finding a reliable WordPress maintenance service opens up another can of worms. To help with your search, we put together some tips on navigating different WordPress maintenance services to find the right fit for your needs.

You may be asking, “Well, how much maintenance does my website need?”

Regardless of size and function, all WordPress websites require plugin, theme, and security updates, along with the regular updates to WordPress core to stay performant. Anytime you update, you will also need to backup your WordPress site.

That said, how often you update your WordPress theme, how many plugins you use, how much traffic your site gets, and your personal WordPress competency all determine the amount of outside support you should seek for your site. Outlined below are the different types of WordPress maintenance services you should consider based on your site’s requirements.

Low Maintenance— Individual Contractors or Small WordPress Maintenance Companies

If your site primarily serves as a promotional space for your small business or brand and doesn’t have a lot of added functionality or get heavy traffic, it is most likely a low maintenance website.

Self-employed craftspeople, artists such as photographers, small food service businesses, or retail shops serving a specific area fit this profile. Sites like these most likely have a simple theme and only employ a few plugins for ecommerce or menus.

If your site falls into one of these categories, individual developers or small WordPress maintenance and support companies are good choices for you. You can hire occasional services from local developers— emphasis on local here, otherwise you’re giving yourself a huge research project— or set up a subscription for a low maintenance service package with a small agency.

You’ll have a smoother time hiring individual contractors if you’re a developer yourself or have a high WordPress competency. People with technical knowledge have an easier time recruiting contractors for a fair price. The upside of hiring a contractor or self-employed developer is that they often have a more flexible approach to services, so you can hire them for specific tasks. The downfall is that you need to either set up a recurring schedule with them or have time to spare to find and book the service each time you need it. Plus, if you require a lot of help, individual developers don’t always have the resources to give you the attention you need, especially if you need a quick turnaround and consistent support.

If you have low to no WordPress experience, better to go with a small agency that has a more structured offering and more sophisticated approach to customer service. They will usually have preset service packages for you to choose from, offered in the form of monthly or annual subscriptions. When selecting a WordPress maintenance package from a small company, be sure to check which features and services are included in your subscription. Inquire about other hidden costs such as migration fees and extra support hours so you aren’t caught off-guard.

Be wary: many companies offer what seems like an inexpensive package on the surface, but you will likely find that package doesn’t cover everything you need and you’ll need to upgrade your subscription later on.

Moderate to High Maintenance— Small to Medium WordPress Maintenance Companies

Moderate-maintenance sites usually have several plugins, enough regular traffic to make security a major concern, and are a major source of revenue for the business. If you’re a small business owner whose business is getting steadily less small or a marketer managing a website for a small to medium business or enterprise, this one’s for you.

Small to medium-sized WordPress maintenance companies are usually the best option for everyone from SBOs to SMBs to smaller enterprises. They offer quality of service paired with fair pricing because they are in the most competitive category. Here is where you will need to invest some time comparing different candidates. On the surface, it often looks like they all provide the same services for similar prices, but when you dig deeper you’ll notice important differences in their offerings— specifically in the areas of coverage and support.

Most companies offer three to five service packages ranging in coverage from bare essentials to all the bells and whistles. The package you choose will also affect how many hours of support you get. (Support is separate from maintenance and usually includes content edits or additions, theme and plugin changes, and any custom requests you may have.)

It is tempting to choose the bare essentials package because of the price tag, but review the packages with a keen eye. Website maintenance providers often leave features and services that will become necessary down the line out of their cheapest package. You’ll often see a comparison chart for their different plans similar to this one:

wordpress maintenance service plan example

Note at the bottom where services are not included in the more basic plans. Some of those unchecked boxes end up being essential services your website will need. Especially if your website fits into the moderate maintenance category. Websites for SMBs generally need server, plugin, theme, and WordPress core updates, as well as hosting, backups, security patches, bug fixes, and customizations covered, with two or more hours per month minimum for active maintenance and support.

In this scenario, best practice is to go for a long-term subscription on a medium or standard package that is more comprehensive and comes with extra support hours. Plus, almost every service provider gives you a discount when you pay upfront for the yearly subscription.

Heavy Duty Maintenance— Enterprise Level Website Management Services 

If you work for a large enterprise or brand and your website(s) gets millions of views each month, you will likely need to hire a service provider that specializes in enterprise-level website maintenance. Websites operating at this scale need constant attention and quick turnaround time for things like bug fixes and brand-related updates like themes and customizations.

Unfortunately, the cans get really wormy in this category. There are a few big names operating at this level (that we won’t mention) that don’t have the best reputation for response rates or customer service (and we don’t want that for you). On the upside, there are newer companies emerging for exactly that reason that are likely to give you a better deal and more pleasant experience.

A savvy small to medium company may be able to serve your needs if you set up a premium, custom package with them, and they’ll be agile enough to quickly scale in response to your contract. And if they really can’t manage to take you on, they’ll let you know. So, when shopping in this category, be sure to look into the up-and-coming alternatives to the names you may have already heard of before making your decision.

So when seeking a WordPress maintenance service, have an idea of your priorities before choosing a provider and selecting a plan. Assess your website (or find a service provider that offers a free assessment) and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Based on the size of your company, the design and function of your website, and how often you make changes to it, what maintenance category does your site likely fit into?
  • Do you need to minimize spending right now by choosing a basic maintenance subscription plan and upgrade as your business and website grow?
  • Are you prepared to do some WordPress updates on your own and occasionally pay a developer to take care of the more complex stuff?
  • Do you need a reliable, “set it and forget it” WordPress support and maintenance service with a no-surprises pricing model so you can focus on other work?

If you still aren’t sure what level of maintenance your site needs, we are happy to consult with you. Reach out to us here anytime to chat.