Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links with Allison Woad Design.
Monthly WordPress maintenance. The service many small business owners put off, only to regret later.
As a WordPress professional, I know the benefits of monthly WordPress maintenance. But I wanted to bring someone on who actually offers that service to tell you in their own words why it’s so important. And, you know, cut the jargon crap and just explain to us how it all works.
I’d like you to meet Allison Woad of Allison Woad Designs. I had the pleasure of being her business mentor many, many moons ago. A great designer in her own right, her focus on WordPress maintenance continues to impress me. In fact, she’s my #1 recommendation to Canadian clients when they sign with me.
Let’s pick Allison’s brain, shall we?
Why did you decide to dedicate a portion of your design business to WordPress Maintenance?
I saw a need and opportunity to offer a WordPress maintenance and support service to my own clients. Many were not comfortable with performing updates themselves. Others did not have the time to do so and wanted someone else to keep an eye on things for them.
From building WordPress websites over the years, I learned a lot about how to properly maintain them, security measures and other common things that can go wrong when left unattended. Although not a typical thing for a designer to enjoy, being that support person for a business so they could thrive on the web and not be held back by technical woes is really fulfilling.
Why do you think people forgo WordPress maintenance packages?
I think people underestimate how much time and experience goes into properly maintaining a WordPress site. So website owners start by trying to do it themselves. Soon enough, those details get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.
Sadly, website maintenance and security is often taken for granted, only dealt with when something goes wrong. Not to mention the misconception that the hosting company is taking care of these things automatically!
It’s like car maintenance. If you put off regular oil changes, you will eventually have car trouble and a big expensive repair. For a website, that’s downtime or a hack which means loss of revenue and credibility. It costs more to fix a major problem than to maintain to prevent.
Realtalk: when clients sign up for your service, what are they really getting?
(laughs) They get me! A real-live person you can talk to!
Seriously though, like other WordPress maintenance services, some of my processes run off automation. This includes things like daily database backups, malware scans and uptime checks.
The difference I bring is that I do not let automation perform updates. So we’re talking plugins, themes and major release updates of WordPress core. Once a week I am inside my clients’ site performing these actions, doing a full backup beforehand and testing in a testing environment to prevent an update from going wrong. I am there to check the site after every update to ensure things are working as they should and carefully reading developer patch notes to see what the update involves.
I believe that automation is better than nothing. However, it doesn’t have the keen eyes of someone who knows how your site should look and act at all times. Automations can’t check to see if an update created a visual problem on the front end of the site or create a conflict with another plugin. By being hands on, I can to the best of my ability ensure these things do not happen.
Save up to $120 off Allison Woad’s yearly WordPress maintenance packages!
Last but not least, I provide a monthly website maintenance report with all my maintenance packages so you can see what actions are being performed on the website.
Oh yeah! I also provide further services such as monthly content changes and malware cleanup.
What makes Allison Woad Designs an ideal choice for Canadian small businesses?
As a small business owner myself, I understand the need to keep our expenses low and our time is valuable. We wear enough hats! My pricing is a solid balance of being affordable and providing quality service.
I want small business owners to focus on what they love to do and leave the site maintenance to me! I really enjoy working with local clients, as there’s a special kinship there as well. (Allison’s company is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia).
Ideally everything run smoothly. But let’s say some BAD happens to the website. Can you talk about what happens with a client when something goes wrong?
Ready for a checklist? I love them.
- Regardless of what it is, I inform the client first and outline the steps that are being taken.
- The site is put into maintenance mode with a “We are temporarily down for maintenance” message for visitors.
- For plugin issues (such as a conflict) I investigate and perform tests. These could be rollbacks or temporary deactivation of plugins to find the root of the problem.
- If it’s a hack (such as malware) then the fastest way to restore the site is from the most recent full clean backup (I store up to 12 weeks of backups off-site). However a thorough investigation is carried out: on the server to see what files were infected, where the vulnerability is and more security measures are put into place. Both a server-side and website malware scan will be performed to make sure there is no more infection.
- Once the issue is resolved, the site is put back online. In either case, I’ll advise the client of what happened and what steps were put in place to help prevent it from happening again.
I love that you’ve kept this very jargon free and focused on service. Anything else you’d like to add?
I encourage people to contact me and just ask about how it all works, and which features they would benefit best from. Each website has its own personality!
I also love explaining how my services measure up against what their hosting company is providing. Clients have been surprised at the gaps they are left with. My packages can even save money because hosting may be trying to bundle in things that seem easy to do… but just take time away from running a business.
I don’t want people to feel like their WordPress site is a technological burden – I want them to feel secure and confident! Nice!
Interested in Allison Woad’s Services? Have I got a deal for you!
I am excited to be a partner in growing Allison’s business. She may have outgrown me as a mentor, but you, dear reader, still benefit from associating with Alison K Consulting. Use this link or mention this blog post when you sign a one-year term with Allison Woad’s WordPress Maintenance and you save 10%! That’s savings of up to $120! I also receive a small commission, which means you’ve helped not one but two Al(l)isons, all while saving time (and money!) for your business.