Webcare: What to Look For

A lot of website developers will offer their clients a webcare plan (some may call it a care plan, or a website maintenance plan or something similar) once the initial build or re-build of their website is finished. A webcare plan helps to maintain your site in tip-top condition.

I wrote here about why you need a webcare plan, but what really happens when you engage someone to look after your website on an ongoing basis?

What does Webcare Involve?

A webcare plan will ensure that the range of software that has been used to build your site is kept up to date. Keeping each of the components (plugins, themes, basic WordPress software) up to date means that any security breaches that are detected can be addressed.

Additionally, the range of plugins used on your site are generally selected by the designer/developer to work together to achieve your business goals. Because these plugins are often developed by different people there is a possibility that they won’t always work well together.

Your designer has experience and knowledge about which ones are compatible and work well together, and should take that into consideration when building your new site. 

But sometimes one plugin is updated by its developer and this can cause a conflict with another plugin. Or an update in the core WordPress software causes a conflict to your theme or your plugins. A webcare plan can help.

How can a Webcare Plan help?

A webcare plan will ensure that if a conflict occurs between the various components of your website software, plugins and themes, issues caused to your site are addressed as part of the webcare plan. This means your site will continue to function as designed and be available for site visitors to see what you do and sell.

After all, you want your website to be available no matter what time of the day (or night!) they want to look – that’s part of the reason why you had your website built in the first place I’m guessing.

What Should you Look for When Choosing a Plan?

Choosing the right plan can be confusing and confronting. Almost no two web care plans are the same and the language used to describe them can vary from web designer to web designer, developer to developer. It can feel like comparing apples to oranges!

The baseline factors you should be looking for are:

  • Frequency of plugin and software updates
  • Frequency of backups
  • Ease of backup restoration
  • Support for resolving site issues (including getting your site back up again should it be needed)

A good web care plan will ensure that your software, themes and plugins are kept up to date on a very regular basis (once a month at a stretch, but weekly or daily is even better).

It will also include regular backups (weekly at a stretch, daily is better, hourly if you are running a large e-commerce site). Those backups should be able to be easily reinstated should it be needed.

A great web care plan provider will also be reviewing spam attempts and blocking likely spammers to ensure that any vulnerabilities can be addressed before something bad happens.

They will also be actively seeking and receiving information about any known vulnerabilities in any of your software suite and be proactively seeking solutions to issues which may or may not arise. They will be on the front foot when it comes to keeping your site running.

The best web care plan provider will be addressing these issues even before you know they exist. Ideally you won’t even realise they are doing their work in the background, because your site will simply continue to work as designed. Rest assured though if you have a great webcare plan in place you will wonder some days what you are paying for – that is as it should be.

Should the unthinkable happen, and you are spammed to the point of bringing your site down, hacked or something fails, no matter which webcare plan your choose, it should cover getting your site back up and running as soon as humanly possible.

Other Things to Look For

Content Updates

Often webcare plans can include a number of hours of additional work (such as site updates, image updates etc) to help maintain the front face of your website, keeping it looking fresh and adding new content so that Google loves your site (I wrote about this here).

If that is something you think you need to do, then often including a few hours in a webcare plan each month will be a more cost effective way to get the work done. Most designers and developers will offer their hours at a slightly discounted rate for this type of ongoing commitment. 

It helps them plan their time and gives you a priority service over random requests from their other clients each month too – meaning you move to the top of the list (and we all want to be there!).

Broken Link Monitoring

If your site includes a number of links to external sites, partnership sites or information from suppliers, or links to purchase items from a third-party site such as Amazon or eBay, then keeping those links in place is important for your site visitors too.

There’s nothing more frustrating than finally finding the site that has the answer to your search only to find the product they are recommending or the information they want to give you is located on another site and the link is broken. You are often met with an unsightly and exasperating 404 Page Not Found message.

A great webcare plan should include monitoring broken links so that should a third-party supplier change their website structure and their page URL changes, you are informed of it as soon as possible. That way you can make sure it is resolved quickly.

Support

It is always worth knowing how and when you will get support should you need it. A great support plan will include email or phone support, or potentially both. It may also include reporting on your analytics, site visitor numbers and behaviours or other value-add services. An annual site review can be helpful and informative, even if your business is reasonably stable. It will keep you informed of current industry trends, consumer browsing practices and provide you with tips about how you can improve your website’s ranking, user experience and conversion rates.

Webcare is critical to keeping your site relevant, safe and secure. Without it, you are susceptible to the whims of hackers, spammers and other hindrances that utilising software can present.

If you’re not sure what you need, then feel free to jump on a 30-minute phone hook-up using the big orange button below and let’s do this!

“Your website is the center of your digital eco-system, like a brick and mortar location, the experience matters once a customer enters, just as much as the perception they have of you before they walk through the door.”

— Leland Dieno

P.S.

Found a spelling or grammatical error in this post? Then contact me as soon as possible and let me know. In return for your super proof reading, I will offer you a free 30-minute review of your digital presence and some fresh ideas you can try out for free.

Get in Touch

If you’d like help deciding which webcare plan is the best fit for your website, then make a time to chat by using the orange button below. I can help you to:

  1. Identify where the gaps might be in your website security
  2. Understand how the right webcare plan can save you time and money
  3. Decypher the techno-speak and understand what a webcare plan is really giving you.

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