What to look for in a WordPress Support Plan
My last blog post explained why you might want to think about outsourcing your WordPress website support. This post will help you to find a package that’s right for you. There are a lot of things to consider when selecting someone to look after your WordPress website. It’s a big step. Get it wrong and it could be an expensive and frustrating experience. But if you get it right, you will wonder why it took you so long to sign up for a WordPress support plan! So, here is my list of the top 10 things to look for in a WordPress support plan.
1. Reliable, fast hosting
If you have decided that you don’t have the time or the inclination to look after your WordPress website yourself, the number one thing that will save you time is having really decent hosting. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for when buying hosting. Look for a company that offers you your own private server (not shared with other sites), a unique IP address and super-fast, ultra-reliable hosting. It’s all very well looking for “super-fast hosting”, but how do you know that this is what a hosting company really provides? You can test out your website speed using a tool such as Pingdom.
2. Site monitoring
Your hosting company should monitor your website to make sure that it’s always available to customers. If not, they should be on the case fast to get it back up and running. You should never have to tell your hosting company that your website is down. If they are doing their job properly then they should know before you do.
3. Backups and restore service
Should the worst happen and something goes wrong with your website, you need to know that your website support company will have a recent backup of both the website files and the database. Also, check that they will restore your website from the backup for you if necessary (for example, if your website has been hacked). Hopefully, you will never need it, but things can go wrong and you really don’t want to lose your website and have to start all over again!
4. Updating WordPress, themes & plugins
It is vital that your website runs the latest software at all times. Security patches are frequently being issued within the WordPress environment. If your WordPress version, theme or plugins are out of date then your site is much more likely to be hacked. Whatever you do, do not run a WordPress website with outdated software, themes or plugins; it’s an accident waiting to happen.
5. Security checking
To prevent unauthorised people from gaining access to your website, regular, quality security checking is something that will give you peace of mind. If someone tries to hack into your website, you want to know that they will be blocked. Your WordPress care package provider should be performing regular security scans and checking for plugin vulnerabilities.
6. Google Analytics
Of course, there’s no point in having a great website if nobody ever visits it. Google Analytics tracking will enable you to see how many people have visited your website, plus lots more information about where they have come from and what they are doing when they get there. A good WordPress support package provider will help you to understand what the statistics mean and how you can improve your website traffic and conversions.
7. Speed checking and improvements
Over time, your website slows down without regular (weekly) maintenance tasks. Look for a company that monitors the speed (page load time) of your website and takes appropriate action if it has slowed down. Regular cleaning and housekeeping of your database should also be included. It’s also worth having a broken link checking service included, so that any links which no longer work over time are identified for you. Some providers will even fix broken links for you!
8. Development time
It’s inevitable that you are going to need tweaks and changes to your website over time. Maybe you have a new product, want to include a social media feed or just add a new page. Great WordPress developers are very difficult to find, can be expensive and are often unavailable at short notice. So by making sure your website support package includes guaranteed development time and you will never have to worry about getting help with WordPress development again.
9. SSL Security Certificate
Significantly, Google values websites with a security certificate. If your site has a correctly configured security certificate, then it will do better in Google results. It’s as simple as that. Look for https:// at the start of your domain name rather than http://. In addition, the Chrome and Firefox browsers has started warning internet users that a website is not secure if it doesn’t have an SSL certificate. Make sure your website support package includes a security certificate, including initial configuration and renewals.
10. Monthly updates
If you are trusting a company to look after your WordPress website, then you need to know that they are doing their job properly. Your website support company should provide you with regular written reports to explain what they’ve done. They should also have regular (at least monthly) update meetings or phone calls with you so that you can discuss your priorities and goals and agree the scheduled upcoming development tasks.
Conclusion – what to look for when considering a WordPress Support Plan
There is no doubt that a quality WordPress website support package will save you a lot of time and trouble. Before you sign up for a support plan, ask whether it includes the above 10 things to look for in a WordPress Support Plan.
Something I haven’t included in the above list, but which I think makes all the difference, is hiring someone that you know. We know all our customers individually, and we count most of them as friends. They know that whatever problems they may have with their website, we are at the end of a phone. We are always willing to help and we genuinely understand their businesses and want to help then succeed. Find out more about all the features of our Premium WordPress Support Plan.