Why You Should Budget for Website Maintenance
So you’ve got your brand shiny new website up and running and you’ve started driving traffic to it. Maybe you’ve made some sales and you’re seeing the benefit of spending the money on a redesign. Picture this: You’re in your WordPress dashboard working on updating a product page when, all of the sudden it’s all gone. What happened? You don’t have a clue where everything went. You simply clicked that…oh wait…what was it that you clicked?
Has this ever happened to you? Hopefully not, but it happens all the time to website owners who may or may not be well versed in the daily operations of their website or the features it has. Some of these owners are ok and don’t stress out. They simply make a phone call to their web designer/developer and have them restore a backup from before the error occurred. Wait, you don’t have a backup? Ouch, that’s probably going cost you.
Can You Afford It?
What would you do in this situation? You spent your budget on a new site, but didn’t insure it by signing up for a maintenance plan. As a result, you’re out of luck. You have no site and your possibly only option is to invest again on a complete rebuild. You may get lucky and your designer saved a backup of the initial site and they still have it in their files, but you still have to pay for the time to have it restored. Then you may have to re-do all of the additions or changes that you’ve made since the site went live. That’s a lot of your time and money out the window. In fact, do you even know how much that time is going to cost you in the long run? I mean, as the old adage goes, “Time is money”.
Something that is all to often overlooked is the fact that a website isn’t (shouldn’t be, at least) just built and forgotten about. Just like your car, it will need routine maintenance. Part of that maintenance – at a minimum – should be a regular backup of your site. This will protect you in case you click a wrong button somewhere and delete the whole site (it happens to the best of us). Additionally, maintenance involves going through to do periodic checks of the links on your site to ensure there aren’t any broken ones floating around. These broken links can hurt your SEO rankings and, to be honest, they look bad for your company.
Maintenance Means Security
Did you know that there are regular updates to the software your site is built on? These updates include security updates and bug fixes. If you don’t perform regular maintenance, you won’t get these updates and your site will be left open to the threat of someone exploiting the vulnerabilities that would have otherwise been fixed. Regardless of what your site is built with, there are updates that may need to be initiated or manually performed.
Now, you could take your time to perform these updates and backups and, to be honest, some of them may not take much time at all. However, many of the updates do take some time. They may involve updating a theme which might require you to download the new version, unpack it, then FTP into your site to copy the new files over. This is a common update method and it can take some time depending on the speed of your computer and internet connection as well as your skill and comfort level in doing such work.
Then again, how much time do you really have to dedicate to this kind of work? You could be building your business, but you’re stuck working on your website. What if you could have someone do all of this for you? Many companies will offer monthly or annual subscriptions for various levels of service. These subscriptions typically offer a discounted price for pre-paying for service.
DSD to the Rescue!
Don Smith Designs offers maintenance plans starting at $150 per month for the essential work needed. We perform weekly backups (and restorations if needed) and updates as they are released as well as 24/7 uptime monitoring. These services will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your site is being constantly supported and you can worry about what you do best – building your business. Should you decide you need more work done during that month, you will get a discounted hourly rate.
So, how many of you have had a major problem like this in your time as website owners? I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve made that fatal click when messing around in my FTP – resulting in a completely dead site. I mean DEAD. I deleted the entire thing! Luckily, I had backups and was able to restore it pretty quickly, but I would have been completely out of luck without that backup. Tell us about your “oopsie” moments in the comments below!