WordPress Support – Do you need it?
It’s a question we often hear when potential clients call us and it’s a question we often read via the multitude of Facebook groups and other forums on the Internet. Why do I need WordPress support? Can I take care of my own WordPress site?
We will give you an unbiased view in this blog post and hopefully point you in the best direction whether that be you take care of your website yourself, or if you should outsource it to a specialist company.
Here is the list of questions we’ll cover. Do you want to ask something not covered here? ask us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter below:
Ok, so, here are the most common questions we hear…
- How do you know if WordPress support a wise investment?
- What benefits you’ll get from WordPress Support?
- How much should you invest?
- Is it better to have a specialist do it for you than do it yourself?
- What happens if I just leave the updates and don’t worry about it, surely it will be ok?
- I only have a small brochure style site, surely it doesn’t need to be updated?
- My nephew or niece is good with computers…it’s ok to get them to update my website, isn’t it?
- What else could I spend my time on rather than doing updates?
The answers are from my perspective as a 47-year old entrepreneur who started his first business at 19 years of age – a long, long, time ago before it was fashionable to be an entrepreneur. ;-p
These answers are not designed to drive you to our service – there are many other service providers you can use should you decide you want to outsource your WordPress updates, WordPress development, WordPress backups and WordPress hosting etc.
Focus on the things you’re good at, and when you can, move your other tasks to people and companies who do the rest better than you.
Anyway, enough of the preamble, on with the post!
1.How do you know if WordPress support is a wise investment for you and/or your business?
Generally, I suggest you start by looking at the following:
- do you ever complete your WordPress updates?
- if you do, what is the real amount of time you spend completing your regular WordPress updates?
- what would you do if a WordPress Update or plugin update went wrong and broke your website? – flap? remain calm and fix it? spend many hours stressing and googling to try and find a solution whilst you get even more stressed about all the work you were meant to be completing?
- how stressed are you as you complete your updates i.e. are you thinking “please, please, please make this go ok”
- Can you quickly restore your website should the updates go wrong?
- what else could you be doing with the time you are spending updating your website and hoping it will go well?
If you never complete any updates, you’re placing yourself and your business or organisation in a dangerous position.
WordPress release regular updates which provide added functionality, but more importantly, security enhancements to protect your website and plug any holes that have been identified since the last public updates to the system.
Over and above the WordPress updates, the developers of your plugins and themes will also provide regular updates for security and functionality.
Those updates are crucial for the wellbeing, security and functionality of your website.
You must ensure these are complete whether by yourself or by outsourcing.
Assuming you do update on a regular basis, read the points above and think about the time it really takes you to complete your updates. Don’t look at it over the course of a month or three, look at it over the last six or 12 months. Be reasonable, don’t fudge the real-time either way as you need to make an informed decision.
Do you sometimes update your site, break it, and then spend an unexpected amount of time trying to fix it, speaking to your website host, hoping they have a backup to save your skin?
Whilst it may seem unusual, many ISP’s won’t have a backup of your website unless you have subscribed to a particular service from them. Double-check and make sure. Check the frequency of the backup (if they take one) is it every day, week, month, year etc.
It’s fine having a backup, but if it’s from 6 months ago, think of the amount of work you will have potentially lost if you have added blogs, products, new offers, changed content, added images etc.
Updating your WordPress website can be a stressful event if you aren’t prepared for the worst. Whilst most updates go swimmingly :) it always seems to go wrong when you have the least amount of time to deal with it. It always seems to happen when you’re under pressure in other areas of your life, client deadlines, family event, pick up kids from school, head to a meeting, invoice clients, you get the idea.
Do you find yourself in the situation where you click “Update WordPress” or “Update plugins” or “Update theme” and your stomach is in a knot, you’re closing your eyes and crossing your fingers, breathing shallow as you wait to see if it’s worked ok because you know you don’t have a backup plan if it doesn’t. If so, you should strongly consider subscribing to a WordPress support and maintenance plan. For a small monthly fee, the hassle, stress and worries above are simply not worth it.
If things do go wrong, hopefully, they never do, but if they did, what would your plan be?
Can you get into your website in the usual way? i.e. yourdomain.com/wp-admin if not, how would you disable a plugin that has updated and crashed your site?
If you can’t do that, would your hosting company do it for you? the good news is most will, however, they won’t then help you to find out why the plugin caused the problem in the first place and this is where you can start to quickly lose hours of your life that you’ll never get back again.
What if it’s a theme update or a WordPress core update that’s gone wrong it can take a lot more time to fix and your site may be down for hours or days if you don’t get the best help quickly.
You’ll find that “Emergency WordPress Support” will be billed to you at a premium rate and could end up costing more to fix your website once than it would to subscribe to a WordPress support package for 12 months or more.
Now, unless you are a WordPress tinkerer, updating WordPress and keeping things running as they should isn’t something that fills you with joy or excitement. It’s likely one of those tasks that constantly get pushed down your list until you have to do it.
But what else could you use that time for?
- Prospecting for new clients
- Adding new content to your website to improve your visitor experience and potentially your SEO
- Sending thank-you’s to your clients for their continued business
- Spending time with friends and family
Just some ideas on what would be a better use of your time, I’m sure you have many more :) Let us know on our Social media channels what you’d rather be doing than updating your WordPress website.
2.What benefits you’ll get from WordPress Support?
This one should be easy to work out as any WordPress Maintenance package should list exactly what you’ll receive as part of the package.
Over and above the peace of mind a WordPress maintenance package should bring, there should be a list of regular tasks which will be completed by your WordPress support company, for instance:
- Daily Secure Backup
- Backup Restoration if required
- Malware Monitoring and Removal
- Plugin updates
- WordPress core system updates
- Theme updates
- 3 hour per month maintenance time
- 6 Hour response time
- 24 hour service
- Detailed notes for every job
With this type of cover in place, you shouldn’t have to worry about your WordPress website ever again and can concentrate on enjoying your life and growing your business. Sounds like bliss :)
3.How much should you invest in WordPress support?
This very much depends on your needs and what budget you have available.
There is no point in stretching your or your companies finances to a point where it’s uncomfortable and it’s not something that you can commit to and maintain fairly easily month on month.
With packages starting as low as £50 per month, it shouldn’t be a stretch for a company to invest in, however, it may be a stretch for a micro-business, a startup, or a struggling business.
Work out the basics of what you need to be covered, look at the time that will save you and the potential time should something go wrong.
Look at what you can then do with the basic time and potential time saved and how that time could help you grow your business and bring on new customers and revenue or expand the service or products you are providing to existing customers.
All our WordPress support packages also provide development time. This is a specific time you can use to enhance your website and it can be used for things like:
- Updating design
- Adding new calls to action to help your visitors move through your site easier and more likely to click on the things you want.
- Install pop-ups or opt-ins to help visitor sign up to your mailing lists so you can market to them easier
- Adding new images or content you’ve created that will help build your brand and make you more interesting
You can see that investing in a WordPress support, maintenance and development package can give you way more than the necessary updates to WordPress core, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes. It can be a platform to develop your website into something better than it is and help it build the business with you and be a real marketing asset.
So, when thinking about how much you should invest in a WordPress support package, also think about what else it can deliver for you and what the true ROI on that would be for you and your business or organisation.
4.Is it better to have a WordPress support specialist do it for you than do it yourself?
This goes back to what we’ve touched on earlier.
- Do you really have the time to do this?
- What will you do if it goes wrong?
- Could you be doing something more valuable for you and your business with your time?
- If updates go wrong and it breaks your site, how long will it take to get back up and running
- If your website is down, how will that affect your business
Taking this as an example “If your website is down, how will that affect your business“. This is different for every person, business or organisation.
If you have a basic brochure website and only have a handful of visitors per month, then it’s unlikely to harm your business much if your website is down for a few hours or a day or more.
What if your website is a place you refer people to and you have a few hundred to a few thousand visiting your site on a monthly basis? then it’s likely to cause some stress or anguish and potentially lose you business.
It’s murphy’s law that when your site goes down, that’s exactly the same time a potential customer is looking at you for the first time.
If you have a small e-commerce store, say where you sell bespoke handmade jewellery which ranges from several hundred to several thousand pounds, then you could lose your income that month if your website is down for a day or more.
Do you have a large site which you drive traffic to via Google Ads, Bing Ads or Facebook Ads? if your site is down for a period of time then that will greatly affect your traffic and also affect your ads. Potentially losing you business and costing you money to drive people to a website which isn’t visible even though you are still paying for your click charges from the ads.
So, if you aren’t confident in your plan to fix your website after a failed update, my advice is to invest quickly in a basic WordPress support package at least. That will give you a level of protection and remove you from the responsibility of updating your WordPress website yourself.
5.What happens if I just leave the updates and don’t worry about it, surely it will be ok?
This type of attitude is very much like a game of Russian Roulette! it’s highly likely to be a matter of time before one of the following happens:
- Your website crashes
- Contact forms or other features stop working
- Some things stop showing on your website
- You get hacked and infected with malware
- Your reputation gets damaged
- The speed of your site decreases
Most people don’t look at their website on a regular basis, and therefore don’t notice for a long time that something isn’t showing as it should or isn’t showing at all.
Perhaps they don’t notice their site looks terrible on mobile devices, or images overlap text, or menu items or other links and functionality have stopped working.
Many say your website is your window to the world. You are unlikely to have someone call you to say that your site is bad, or isn’t working, or slow, or whatever; they’ll simply not browse any further, not contact you with an enquiry or to buy something and they simply drift off to a competitors site that works as it should.
You’re likely used to updating your computer with security patches from Microsft or Apple. You’ll no doubt update your iPhone or other devices when updates are released for them.
Your WordPress website is just the same. It needs attention, it needs updates, it needs to be checked. It needs you :)
A simple comparison to think of WordPress and it’s plugins in relation to MS Windows or Mac OS
Core WordPress system = MS Windows or Mac OS
WordPress plugins = Apps on your iPhone or Android device
If you can’t budget for a WordPress Specialist to take care of your WordPress website, I urge you to find the time to learn about the system yourself and also…
- Create a backup plan and make sure you understand how to quickly restore your website should things go wrong
- Invest in a good WordPress hosting company that takes regular backups and will be helpful in moments of need
- Update your plugins one at a time and test so you know which plugin causes a problem
6.I only have a small brochure style site, surely it doesn’t need to be updated?
See point 5 above. Even simple sites need to be updated or you risk problems, errors and things stopping working
Worse still you increase the chances of being hacked and your site getting infected with malware
Many people think that because they have a small website, no one will be interested in hacking them.
This is quite the opposite as many hacking incidents and malware injections are on very basics sites that are easy for the hackers to gain access to.
It’s not necessarily about stealing a lot of money. Often it’s simply that they’ll use your website to send spam or phishing emails to people around the world. Other times they will add malicious links to your website which will redirect users from your site to random sites, often pornography sites. Not a good impression you want to give your customers or potential customers.
You may find the first time you know your website has been hacked is when your website hosting company contacts you to say they’ve taken your website down and suspended your email.
The hacking may have happened weeks ago or even months ago, so simply restoring your last good backup may not fix the issue as the malware could still be there.
Your website hosting company will not fix this for you. You will need to reach out to a specialist company like WP Support Specialists to remove the malware and clean your site thoroughly.
Over and above the costs and time involved in all of this, is the potential that your website and email server may be blacklisted by Google and shown in the search engine results as a website which is infected with malware.
It can get very messy, very quickly and therefore we advise that you update all WordPress websites whether they be a simple one-page site or a huge e-commerce or membership site.
7.My nephew or niece is good with computers…it’s ok to get them to update my website, isn’t it?
Well, this is an interesting one that we hear from a support perspective re. websites.
We sometimes hear marketing companies mention similar questions they get, i.e. “My nephew is good on Facebook, he’s always on it, he must be good, so we’re going to give him a go-to run our business social media”.
We’ve also heard it from IT companies who mention they are sometimes told they haven’t secured the business of a company they were in negotiations with as “The Managing Directors brother-in-law is good with ‘computers and he’ll be supporting the IT system'”.
So, my answer to “is it ok”, comes with its own question set – please note this is only related to WordPress, not the other examples of IT Support, or Social Media Management etc.
What is their overall experience with WordPress? Ask these questions:
- Have they updated the WordPress core setup previously?
- How many times have they updated a Theme previously?
- Have they updated Plugins previously?
- Do they have any experience of updates going wrong and crashing the site?
- If so, what did they do to fix it? and what was their process?
- What would they use to backup your site and where would they store your WordPress backup?
- How often would they update your site?
- When would they update your site? i.e. before school/after school, before their main job, after their main job, at the weekend, just sometimes when they have some “free time”?
- What is their experience with CSS, HTML, PHP and other custom code that may be part of what makes your site work?
- If the site crashes when they are updating it. Will they stay off school or their job to fix it, will they stay in and not go to that party or concert or meet with friends and make sure your website gets fixed?
There are many more questions you should ask, but hopefully, you get the point that if this is for your business or organisation, you need to think about what potential impact a website failure or misconfiguration will have on your reputation and ability to trade.
If they can answer the questions above and prove they know what they are doing, and that they have done this before and will make sure they fix your site should it break, then, by all means, give them a shot at it. But be prepared for issues as mixing family and friends into your business, doesn’t always work out as well as you hope it will and can affect many other relationships you have.
8.What else could you spend your time on rather than your own WordPress Support?
A multitude of things is the answer. Here are our top 10 :)
- Thank your existing customers for their business and trust
- Prospect for new customers to build your business
- Create new content for your website and social media channels if you use them
- Whatever else you can think off.
- Spend some time with your partner, kids, friends, family, dog, cat, budgie, whatever else outside your business to make sure they know you value them and care
- Go for a walk, listen to some music, exercise – get some time for yourself to improve your wellbeing and focus
- Move something forward you’ve been thinking about doing for a while – business or personal
- Think about what other services or products your customers would benefit from
- Devote some time to think about how you could improve your existing service to your customers
- Examine your website analytics to see and understand where your visitors are coming from and how you can improve their experience on your website
- Look into other ways you can grow your business
- Improve your SEO (search engine optimisation)
- Look at potential advertising opportunities – Google Ads, Facebook etc.
- What are you doing on social media marketing and what can you improve there, both to reach potential customers and to better communicate and service your customer base
- Examine the potential for traditional advertising
We could go further with the list but you get the idea.
Whether you decide that you need a WordPress Support package or not, I hope this article has been useful and gives you some useful things to think about.
If there is something you would like us to add to the post, please use our contact form here and we’ll get back to you on your suggestions and we’ll add them if we believe it will be useful for the readers. You can also contact us on our social media channels below.
If you would like to discuss your WordPress Support or WordPress Maintenance requirements, we’d be delighted to advise you and to see if there is a fit between our companies. No pressure, no hassle, just a chat to see if there is something useful for us both.
Finally, a little gift to finish off with. Add your name and email below and we’ll send you our “Absolute Beginners Guide To WordPress” free of charge. It’s a short but useful read that we hope you enjoy :)