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Does your website even need a maintenance plan in place, and if it does, can you get it done yourself? The fact that you’re reading this article shows that you’re way ahead of the pack when it comes to being aware of your online business. You’re clearly willing to invest the time and effort into understanding how you can make your website work for you and that kind of enthusiasm will make a big difference in your business’ online success!
Simply read on to discover why website maintenance is key to your site’s success and to make an informed decision on whether it’s something you can do for yourself or whether it needs to be outsourced.
First of all, what is website care?
Well, just like us, your website needs regular and ongoing care to make sure it works properly. We all know that our bodies need a certain amount of sleep and good, healthy food to keep it running optimally and websites are no different. When we are sick and exhausted we go to the doctors, depending on where you’re from this can cost a fair bit and you might be waiting in line for hours with other sickly people for a quick 5 minute appointment where the doctor barely looks at you. But what if you teamed up with a nutritionist and had an ongoing monthly meal plan, exercise regime and regular check-ups to keep us ticking over nicely, wouldn’t that make more sense? We all need regular maintenance to run smoothly and avoid getting sick, websites do too!
Is it necessary?
Unfortunately we can’t just leave websites alone and expect them to run well. If you don’t invest both your time and effort into monthly maintenance, potential customers won’t stick around for long when they notice things aren’t functioning correctly on your site. We have one chance to impress our online visitors, a broken or outdated website is the fastest way to lose trust and get them exiting your site within seconds. So ultimately, not investing in website care could be costing you more than you think. The online world is moving at an ever increasing pace, so to keep up, leaving your site unmanned is no longer an option.
Just like an old dusty shop with no lights on and a broken window, people will be turned off and instead head to your competitors’ sites where the windows are blazing, the door is open and there are people happily wandering around inside.
So now that we understand that website maintenance is crucial to our website’s success, here are some of the benefits of ongoing care:
- Peace of mind that your website is always up to date and running smoothly
- 24/7 monitoring to ensure your site is always up and working for your customers
- Constant security scanning to keep any nasty intruders out
- Regular cleaning of your website to keep it fast and smooth
- Secure backups so your site can be restored quickly if anything goes wrong
- Email support when you need it
- Fixes broken links to keep the search engines happy
- Keep your site updated + fresh with your latest news, blog posts, images + content. Recommended for good SEO
- Monthly Coaching Calls for accountability + to keep you on track to meet your online goals
What are the risks involved with DIY maintenance?
If you’re pretty tech savvy and enjoy getting stuck in, learning and testing out your developer skills take a look at this post where I share some insights into How to Maintain Your Website.
However, if the very idea of getting under the hood of your website makes you want to break out in sweats you might risk doing more damage than good. Generally speaking, people often follow the rule of thumb “why fix something that isn’t broken”, but by the time you realise that something on your website has indeed broken, and you try to fix it, and possibly end up making it worse, it can end up costing a whole lot more to pay a developer by the hour to come in and undo any damage done and get things back up and running again.
After all, you wouldn’t try to diagnose without a doctor or take legal action without a lawyer. Websites are no different. So all there is left to decide is, how valuable is your time to you? Ongoing website care is time consuming and can be really rather tedious and if something goes wrong, who do you call? Instead you could be saving all of that extra time, avoiding the hassles and headaches and instead focusing on what you do best within your own business.
Can’t I just call you when I need the help?
I only offer ongoing support to clients who are on a care plan with me, because of this, if you decide to let me take ongoing care of your website, you can rest assured that you are getting my full attention and support.
And as websites often cost a lot more to fix than to simply maintain, the value of ongoing website care is a wise investment. After all, you spent a fair amount to get the website created and launched, it makes sense to get a return on that investment by keeping it functioning properly and welcoming returning customers.
If I have worked with you then I have grown to care about you and your business, I am rooting for you to do well. I want your business to succeed, especially online. I don’t want us to both pour our hearts and souls into your website only for it to be left redundant and slowly slipping through the cracks of an ever growing and morphing online world. I want to keep it updated regularly, looking fresh, always showcasing the best of your business.
Here’s how I can help
Regardless of which care plan you choose I encourage ongoing communication between us. We both need to be on the same page so it’s crucial that you see me as an extension of your team.
My higher level care plan clients are communicating with me on a regular basis through monthly coaching calls, where we assess the website’s analytics and discuss strategies that need to be implemented or tweaked to gain the best results. We discuss relevant blog posts that need to be written, marketing funnels, advertising, we develop plans that work and deliver results.
When you start to realise that your website is a living breathing thing, out there to promote your business, that’s when the magic really starts to happen!
I love watching this light bulb moment, when my clients realise the potential of the online world. It’s fascinating, so team up someone who totally geeks out about it and has the drive and passion to see your business succeed!
Because the market is moving so fast, it also means that people are increasingly doing business online. Which is why I offer content updating services (where you send me your latest images, events, blog posts etc. and I post them for you) embedded within my care plans to keep your online business up to date. There’s nothing worse than a potential customer losing interest because they see your last blog post or event was listed for over a year ago because you haven’t had time to get around to it. Just like with social media, keeping your website updated and active is an ongoing process.
My website care workflow:
This is my monthly system to take care of your website for you, ensuring that any bugs get ironed out quickly before they can turn into anything more serious and keep your site running smoothly.
- I take a fresh back up of your site. If anything goes wrong I can immediately roll back the update so that the site doesn’t go down.
- I check the website before updating to ensure that everything is functioning. So that if anything breaks I will be able to tell if it was related to the plugins that were updated or if it was a separate issue that requires my attention.
- Update WordPress, plugins and themes in small batches. I don’t want to overload the server by uploading in bulk which might cause the site to crash. If there are some heavy plugins (such as eCommerce or membership sites) to be updated, I will always test the updates on a separate server to ensure it all works smoothly before rolling it out on your live site. This avoids any disruptions to your website and you potentially losing customers and money.
- After the update is complete, I check your website thoroughly for inconsistencies. My software will keep a record if there’s an issue with the site due to an update. If this happens I will roll back the update and contact the plugin developers for a solution.
- As the final step, I create a maintenance report of all the updates performed on your site. It will also include performance updates, security scans and backups created throughout the month which I will share with you in an easy to digest format.
- I will send you a monthly Google Analytics report of your website. This will also include a BONUS list of insights and suggestions from me to improve your site’s performance which we can discuss in more depth during a monthly coaching call.
How much should I invest?
This varies from business to business. If your brand relies on online visibility then maintaining the site with updated images, events, blog posts etc. is a priority. In the “Spread your Wings” care plan I offer 30 minutes of changes to the site per month. This is enough time for me to upload a new blog post for you and 2 new client testimonials. Or making 1 small change to website copy (text) and swapping 3 – 4 images. These changes are frequent enough that your site can stay fresh and updated all through the year which keeps the search engines happy!
On the other hand, I have some clients who already have a months-long waiting list and get all of their work by word of mouth, so they simply opt for the basic maintenance plan. It keeps their site ticking over nicely as a reference point for customers, to continue creating trust. Their images are perhaps updated once in a blue moon whenever they’re ready. They recognise the importance of having it functioning properly which is why they don’t want to let it slowly disintegrate over time. My “Maintain the Nest” care plan best suits them.
For people who really want to see online growth, I offer coaching calls as part of the “Flying High” care plan. As someone who understands the online world and its confusing jargon, I can relay your website’s analytics and convey them to you in layman terms along with insights and suggestions on what we can tweak, change and implement to keep us moving in the right direction. As the online world changes so rapidly, this is the optimum way to keep your business on top rather than sinking beneath the masses or going round and round in circles making no impact.
What should I do now?
If you’re interested in investing in a maintenance plan reach out to me so that I can keep your website functioning properly and delivering results to your business. Take a look at my Care Plans in more detail to discover which would be the best option for you and at the bottom of that page you’ll also find a contact form to apply.
My care plans start at $97 per month, if you’re unsure which would be best plan for your business, let’s have a chat to discuss your goals and find the best plan to suit your needs.
Fair warning: If you haven’t been on a care plan before, if your site hasn’t been updated in a while or if it wasn’t built by me, I may require you to invest in a Website Evaluation before I can take you on as a Care Plan client. The Website Evaluation also includes 2 hours of work that you would like done to your site, ie. swapping old images for new ones, changing the text on the About page, adding new team member profiles, etc. generally refreshing your site. If you require a whole site redesign I can provide a quote for that too.