In my last post, I talked about the need to update your version of WordPress and plugins regularly. The reality is that someone has to do this, whether it is someone internal, or an outside web professional.
But according to today’s stats (April 29th, 2015) — on what version of WordPress people are running on their websites, less than 10% have the current version (4.2 as of this writing), and less than half are running version 4.1 or 4.2!
This means more than half the sites running WordPress are not up to date.
Last week, we discussed how leaving WordPress, plugins and themes out of date gives bad guys possible openings to exploit your site. While it may seem preposterous to some business owners that their site would ever be a target for hackers, they fail to assess the damage it could do to their business, if they do get hacked — especially over something lame like not updating software, like you are supposed to do.
So before you ask “How much will monthly site maintenance cost?”, let me pose a question to you.
How much will it cost your business if your website is unusable?
The High Price Of Doing Nothing
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
— Benjamin Franklin
Maintaining your website is like maintaining anything else of value you have.
You wouldn’t drive your car when the oil is bone dry — or when the brakes are grinding metal on metal — or when your tires are balding and the wires are poking out…would you?
You wouldn’t buy a house without having a termite inspection — or knowing whether or not it’s built in a flood plain — or without fire insurance…would you?
If your doctor tells you that you have diabetes, or high blood pressure, you’re going to take steps to make sure you take care of your health…aren’t you?
How much does it cost to maintain your health, your place to live, or your means of transportation each month?
Your website is your main marketing asset, the hub of your online presence, and in some cases — the very means by which you make money.
How much does it cost to maintain your business each month?
Wise Business Owners Protect Their Investments
If I could wave a magic wand, I would make all site owners get good web hosting and have a plan for updating WordPress and their plugins regularly.
These things are that damn important.
And smart businesses understand this. Enterprise level businesses do not skimp on upkeep and maintenance. They understand what a vital difference these things make to website security and site performance.
The folks I really worry about are the small and mid-sized businesses that try to build a website on the cheap, end up finding a developer on Craigslist, and then never hear from that developer again.
Once that developer disappears into the ether, the small business owner is left entirely on their own to figure out how to use WordPress. Eventually, they get busy in the work of running their business. They forget about their website. Maintenance becomes something that falls by the wayside.
If these business owners do want to make changes to their site, or get some good advice, or update their site without fear of breaking things — then they have to start their quest for a developer all over again.
Most of the time, this cycle doesn’t end. Sometimes it ends badly, when they have to scramble to find someone to fix a compromised site — or make critical changes for a deadline.
Having to shift gears and deal with their website on top of dealing with their business, payroll, and finding customers, is a burden that many business owners really don’t want.
But because WordPress is deceptively easy to start with, regular people erroneously believe there is something wrong with them if they aren’t able to configure their site at a master level, once they hit that learning curve. No one told them that it’s okay if they ask for help.
What’s your confidence worth to you?
Weighing Time vs. Money
Small businesses may not have the time or patience to update WordPress or plugins every time an update is available. That’s just reality.
They may not have a person dedicated to maintaining or updating their website. And for them, that few hours a month is time they don’t necessarily have.
But security and functionality updates still need to be implemented by someone.
For these businesses, it makes sense to hire an outside consultant to make sure that their website is always up to date. To make sure that security is in place, to make suggestions for improvements, to make changes that they wouldn’t normally have time for.
What’s your time worth to you?
For larger businesses, who do have the resources to have an internal web marketing team, a maintenance agreement might still make sense. They just may have different reasons to keep a monthly relationship with a web studio going.
For them, a more sizable web maintenance retainer would be a way to not only do the bare minimum of upkeep, but to also keep working on new features. By working on web development with specialists, they can have access to expertise that a basic web marketing team may not possess.
What is your business growth worth to you?
Can You Hear Me Now?
If the moral of the story hasn’t come through loud and clear yet, if you have a WordPress site (or any website), at the bare minimum, you need someone to update WordPress, your parent themes and plugins as soon as those are released — not six months later.
If you have a dedicated internal web team doing this, great! You are ahead of 90% of small/mid-sized businesses.
But if you don’t have someone on staff to take care of site maintenance, you need to find someone to do this for you.
If this sounds like something you need, Lockedown Design offers a monthly WordPress maintenance package for $149 a month. This includes two hours a month of work for updates, backups, feature development, content upload and optimization, or whatever else you need.
You can find more details by following the link below.