As a growing business, you may be putting a lot of effort into your marketing. However, you may not be aware of how website maintenance impacts your marketing results and customer retention.
Neglected website maintenance can result in slow loading webpages, outdated site design, broken contact forms, security risks, and more.
All of these negative attributes result in a poor user experience.
And since 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a poor user experience, keeping your website well-maintained can help you attract and retain customers efficiently.
In this article, we provide a comprehensive guide for utilizing a website maintenance plan for your company’s website.
Table of Contents:
- What Is a Website Maintenance Plan?
- Why You Need a Website Maintenance Plan
- Essential Elements of a Website Maintenance Plan
- Common Payment Structures: Benefits and Disadvantages
- Monthly Website Maintenance Plan Examples
- Things to Look for in a Web Maintenance Service Provider
- Ready to Start Your Website Maintenance Plan?
What Is a Website Maintenance Plan?
Before we get started, let’s clarify exactly what a website maintenance plan is.
A website maintenance plan is a set of activities to be performed to keep your website fully operational, reliable, and secure. This plan is typically broken down into weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks.
This plan should be created along with the help of your development team. It should be comprehensive and easily understandable so it can be handed to a new team or employee for a seamless transition between roles.
Why You Need a Web Maintenance Plan
A website maintenance plan is a necessity for companies both small and large.
Performing the activities in your web maintenance plan will reduce downtime, mitigate security risks, and keep your site running smoothly. All these benefits help you increase sales, retain users, build trust with customers, and more.
Below, we’ll discuss a few of the most significant benefits that you’ll receive from implementing a website maintenance plan.
Prevent Cyber Threats
Your website maintenance plan will include tasks that keep your website and user data safe and protected.
One of the most important aspects of your website maintenance plan is performing software updates. These updates are often released to address security flaws that allow malicious users to infiltrate your site.
Additionally, your website maintenance plan will include activities that protect and monitor your site. This may include setting up a website firewall, reviewing blocked requests, and monitoring user activity logs.
Keep Your Website Loading Fast
Over time, websites tend to become bogged down which results in poor page loading speeds. There are many potential causes for this, such as old, unneeded data in your databases or unused plugins.
Since there is an average 16% drop in customer satisfaction for a one-second delay in page loading time, your website maintenance plan will include activities to measure and improve your loading speed over time.
Optimize for UX/UI for User Satisfaction
Did you know that nearly 60% of internet visitors are using a mobile device?
Optimizing your website for use on mobile devices is one critical factor in user satisfaction, but there are other important factors to consider as well.
Some other factors that contribute influence a positive user experience are page loading speed, ease-of-use, visual appearance, and credibility.
Your website maintenance plan will help keep your website in a state that provides a positive experience to users.
Essential Elements of a Website Maintenance Plan
Now that you understand why a website maintenance plan is important for your business, let’s talk in more detail about what your maintenance plan will consist of.
Every company is different, so you should adapt this plan based on your needs. Your own maintenance plan should cover all the activities needed to save yourself from future website mishaps.
A website maintenance plan for a small businesses may be simple and take less than an hour to complete, while a larger company may have a more complex plan that takes more time to execute.
This guide will be a great help in getting you started with developing your website maintenance plan.
Weekly Website Maintenance Activities
- Backup your files and databases
- Update plugins, themes, and other website software
- Review website firewall and file scanning
- Address miscellaneous errors or warnings
Monthly Website Maintenance Activities
- Review activity logs
- Optimize databases
- Optimize images
- Test website functionality
- Test usability and design on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices
- Test usability and design on various web browsers
- Identify and fix broken links
- Identify and fix 404 errors
- Remove spam comments
- Replace expired software licenses
Quarterly Website Maintenance Activities
- Review and remove unneeded administrator accounts
- Review hosting disk, memory, and CPU usage
- Review and delete unneeded pages
- Identify and repair technical SEO issues
- Test email deliverability
Annual Website Maintenance Activities
- Change your passwords
- Change your footer copyright date
- Reassess your overall website strategy
Common Payment Structures: Benefits and Disadvantages
After creating a website maintenance plan, you’ll need an expert to execute it.
There are a few different options for hiring this role which have different advantages and disadvantages, so you should take time to weigh all the possibilities.
Below, we’ve created a chart comparing the pros and cons of different payment structures used to hire for this role. We go into each of these in further detail below the table.
|– More control over the processes and procedures involved
|– More expensive
– Excessive for most companies
– May need more training
|Hourly freelancer or agency
|– Very flexible
|– Difficult to budget
– May need to be instructed when maintenance is needed
|– Predictable monthly cost
– Good for predictable monthly workloads
|– Will cost more if you exceed the retainer limit
– Can be less cost-efficient
– May need to be instructed when maintenance is needed
|Monthly website maintenance package
|– Predictable monthly cost
– Most cost-efficient
– Minimal guidance needed
– Best overall value in most cases
|– Not always as customizable as other options
– May be less flexible
An in-house employee is an individual (or team) that you hire internally to manage your website maintenance plan.
By going this route, you will have more control over the processes and procedures involved in executing the website maintenance process.
Unfortunately, this option is not a good option for most companies as it is more expensive and requires more training. Although some large companies can benefit from having an in-house employee for this role, it is excessive in most situations.
Hourly Freelancer or Agency
An hourly freelancer or agency is hired on a contract basis to execute your website maintenance tasks. You compensate for each hour worked, rather than with a salary or monthly retainer fee.
This is a very flexible option and can be great for small businesses. However, it can be difficult to budget and you will need to inform the contractor when maintenance needs to be performed.
If your website maintenance needs are very minimal, this may be a good option for you.
A monthly website maintenance retainer is a fee that you pay an individual or agency. It will grant you a specific number of hours each month which can be devoted towards website maintenance.
This can be a good option for some businesses because it is a predictable monthly cost if your workload is nearly the same every month.
However, if the amount of work you need varies each month, you’ll find that this option is not very cost-efficient. If you exceed the number of retainer hours, you will be charged extra fees. If you do not use all your hours, you will be overpaying for each hour worked. Also, you will still have to inform the contractor when maintenance needs performed.
Monthly Website Maintenance Package
A monthly website maintenance package is a predefined set of tasks that will be performed on a monthly basis for a flat fee.
This may sometimes be less flexible than the other pricing structures, but it is most cost efficient and predictable. It’s generally the best overall value.
Additionally, you won’t need to provide much input to the agency because the tasks are already predefined within the terms of the package.
This is typically the best pricing structure for most companies.
Things to Look for in a Web Maintenance Service Provider
When working with a service provider for website maintenance, you’ll want to carefully vet their skills and abilities to manage your site. Not everyone is a great fit for your project, so you should be focused on hiring the right individual or agency to fulfill your needs.
Here are 4 important things to look for in a web maintenance service provider:
1. A Desire to Meet Your Specific Needs
Your website maintenance provider should put in the effort to understand the needs of your website and business.
Maintenance provides a solid foundation for some of your key business activities, such as marketing, sales, and customer support, so your web service provider should understand how your maintenance supports those functions.
We recommend scheduling a free website maintenance consultation before working with a new provider.
2. A Proactive Approach to Maintenance
It’s very important that your website maintenance plan acts to proactively reduce downtime and website errors.
There are many website support companies that only act when something goes wrong, which causes more downtime and large repair bills.
Your website maintenance service provider should be acting to proactively maintain your website to stop problems from happening in the first place.
3. Trustworthy Reviews and Testimonials
A great way to see if a company offers excellent services is through their reviews and testimonials. This is a great way to hear about people’s honest experiences working with a company (source).
You should check the company’s reviews on a trustworthy platform such as Google to ensure they are unbiased; however you can usually trust the testimonials posted on a company’s website as well.
4. Transparency and Honesty
When talking with a potential website maintenance provider, you should look for signs that they are transparent and honest.
If someone is withholding information from you or speaking vaguely about their services, it could be a sign they are not being honest about their skill set. Additionally, they may make hefty promises for a very low price, which should be a red flag.
Also, a trustworthy company will be honest with you if they are unable to fulfill your needs. This shows that they are genuinely trying to help you, rather than trying to make a sale.
Ready to Start Your Website Maintenance Plan?
We hope this guide helped you get started with your website maintenance plan.
Remember that it’s important to make a detailed plan that is customized to the needs of your website so it can stay fully operational, reliable, and secure.
Once you’ve developed your plan, take time to carefully assess different website maintenance payment structures so you can execute your plan in the most effective and cost-efficient manner.
For most companies, monthly website maintenance packages tend to be the most effective use of resources.
If you have specific questions or need assistance creating a website maintenance plan for your company, please reach out to us!
Jonathan is a WordPress expert with 10+ years of experience building and managing websites. He owns WPCharger, a service business that specializes in managing WordPress websites for small and midsize businesses.