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Are WordPress Care Plans worth the money?

By 31st January 2018 No Comments

There are hundreds of companies on the web today offering WordPress Maintenance or Care Plans – are they worth it?  We are obviously going to say yes – but why?  What do we bring to the WordPress marketplace?

What is a care or maintenance plan?

A basic care plan will cover the day to day updates that every WordPress site requires, these include:

  • Updates to the WordPress Core
  • Updates to the theme
  • Updates to any plugins

Care plans should also include:

  • Uptime monitoring – so you know if your site is down
  • Backup – nothing secures a site better than a backup
  • Security – ensuring a site is safe from hackers and other malicious activities

Simple stuff right, anyone can log into their site and click the update button, you can even turn on automatic updates and all the updates will be applied.  Security is simple, choose a service and or plugin and then follow the online guide to configure your site.  You can use the same theory for backup and for uptime monitoring.

Looks like we are out of business then?  Far from it.  You could implement all the above, your site could be automatically updated, secured and backed up.  But what happens when an update causes an issue?  What happens when the site does get hacked or you need the backup only to find out that the backup has not worked?  What happens when you do get alerted that the site is down?

So how do we care for a WordPress Site?

Updates are manually run, yes it may be carried out en mass but we know what sites are being updated and, more specifically what plugins and/or themes are being updated.  Our update process follows the process below:

  1. Check the backup – we always run a backup prior to running any updates
  2. Carry out the update(s) – we have tools that list all the updates that are to be carried out
  3. Check the site – we manually visit every website and quickly click through the pages to ensure every page is working

If things are not working we simply roll back the update.  We can then create a staging site and work towards resolving the issue with the plugin.

Uptime Monitoring is carried out using Status Cake. We take a slightly different approach to monitoring, we don’t just check if a site is up or down.  For every site we manage we monitor the following:

  1. Uptime, is the site up and is the specific text we have specified showing?
  2. Page Speed, is the page we are checking performing as expected?
  3. Page Size, has the size of the page we are checking changed in size?
  4. DNS, has the A record for the site been changed?
  5. SSL, is the SSL still valid?
  6. Domain Registration, how long until the domain expires?

If anything changes we are instantly alerted via Slack and a ticket is automatically generated in our ticketing system.  We then start to investigate the cause of the issue and start work to resolve the issue.  We also monitor any server we host or manage, checking disk, memory and CPU usage.

Backup is carried out using one of two methods.  If the site is hosted on servers we manage we carry out full server backups using Acronis.  If we are only managing the site and not hosting it then we use BackupBuddy to carry out backups.  We also use BackupBuddy when the client requires more than a single daily backup.  If either server reports an error this is directed to our ticketing system and we start working to resolve the issue, if necessary we carry out a manual backup.   Regular checks are also carried out to ensure we can restore should we need to.  Once a week we randomly choose a site to restore from both BackupBuddy and Acronis the restore includes not only the site files but also the database.

The security of all our sites is a priority, second only to backups – you can recover from anything with a backup.  We use iThemes Security Pro to ensure the security of all WordPress sites.  It provides bullet-proof security for a WordPress site.  All the sites are configured to report alerts to our ticketing system and then investigated.  If a site is hacked we are 100% we can recover the site, either through a general clean up or restoring the site from the previous backup.

Do you have the time to do this?

If you are a busy agency or freelancer when are you supposed to find the time to do all this?  What we offer is a partnership with designers and agencies, we do not do WordPress design or development – we have not got the time.  When we team up with you the process of building a new site is all you need to concentrate on, we look after the hosting components.  We also offer to be the first port of call for any queries, ensuring that all you have to deal with is any design and development issues.  If you’re a WordPress owner you have your business to run and surely this is included in the money you have paid for the site or are paying for hosting?  It’s not always the case.

You could steal my customer!

As previously stated we don’t do design or development.  If you are an agency or freelance we can white label our entire service, your customers and clients will never know we exist.  You can set your own pricing, or include it as part of the design cost.  We supply you with an email address, simply set up a support email address on your domain and forward any emails to the address we have sent you.  Any request for support will be received in our ticketing system and every email we send in response will come from your email domain.  We provide you full access to view tickets created for your customers and we agree an SLA if we miss a target for a response or resolution you automatically get notified.  Alternatively, you can just recommend us to your customer, for every referral we will pay you.

Still think that care plans are not worth the money?

Most care plans provide additional services, as part of our care plans we also offer:

  • FREE hosting – we can host any site
  • Caching – we use WPRocket on every site and as every site is different we tweak the settings to make sure caching does not cause any issues.
  • CDN – we configure WPRocket with KeyCDN.
  • Image Optimisation – we optimise all the images on all sites using Imagify.
  • Minor changes – we can carry out small, minor changes to the client site such as text, image and logo changes.
  • Sucuri – if the client requires an additional level of security or is a little more paranoid we install and configure Sucuri Server Side Scanning

The additional services provided depend on the plan you select.

What is the cost?

Our plans range from £15.00 per month to £60.00 a month including hosting we don’t think that is a bad price for the level of care and attention each site receives.  Remember that if your client was to use SqaureSpace, Wix, MoonFruit or a similar company all of the above is included in the cost.

If you’re still not sure then why not contact us?  We will happily run a scan of your site, or your entire portfolio and show you what we can do.

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