How to find and use good WordPress support services
You might have heard a little about WordPress support services and wondered if paying for such a service would be right for you and your business. We’ll help you explore what’s involved and decide whether such a service is going to be right for you.
Managing your site
As your business grows it’s likely that your website will grow too. Even if the basics stay the same, modern marketing techniques demand that you’re sharing good and valuable information, handling traffic conversions safely, efficiently and productively and working across numerous platforms – and this is before you’ve maintained customer databases, email lists and backups.
Making time for maintenance can be hard – but not as hard as factoring in additional time for changes, updates and recovery – and having a dedicated employee just doesn’t work for most companies.
What does it take to manage a WordPress site yourself?
Managing a WordPress site is theoretically more than possible for most people. Even if your development knowledge isn’t cutting edge, WordPress is designed in such a way that you’ll get a grip of the basics quickly.
Sometimes though your business needs more than the basics, so it means exploring one of the following options:
- Train and practice doing it yourself – which often doesn’t work out from a productivity and money efficiency point of view.
- Find a freelancer who’ll work on your site – it can be logistically difficult to work with someone who’s got no formal expectation in a role and isn’t accessible all the time.
- Employ someone dedicated to your site – this is the most costly option and therefore the best in terms of access and dedication – but does it represent the best value for your business?
There’s unlikely to be a stand-out best option for you from that list – which opens the door for support service providers…
What is a WordPress support service?
Like so many other parts of your business, outsourcing is all about time exchanges. Some time exchanges are easy – do you want to drive 250 miles to deliver a letter? No, so the cost of a postage stamp is a positive investment. The most successful business owners look at their own time as an extremely valuable resource – and a WordPress support service should be looked at in a similar way.
Most services start from around £40/$50 – for that price you could expect a service covering the basics of backups, some technical support and lower level tasks. The upper price obviously depends on how much work you’d like someone to do on your behalf, but is unlikely to cost more than £250/$300 – which is obviously far cheaper than a full-time member of staff and the surrounding logistics and training.
What would a WordPress support service do?
As mentioned, there’s a sliding scale of price and service features – ultimately though, a good support service will have the knowledge and experience to do whatever you want them to – and maybe even suggest more. Services generally include:
- Secure backups
- Security monitoring
- Theme installation and maintenance
- Speed optimisation
- User experience testing
- Coding fixes
- Broken link checking and fixes
- Installation of caching resources
- Plugin management
…and much more. Don’t forget, you’re not just paying for what is actually being done, you’re paying for a bunch of people who have a massive knowledge base for all things WordPress – which means that most services will offer some kind of support desk feature too, often with the option of discussing your site and needs with hosting and storage providers on your behalf.
We’re going to pay special attention to updates for a second. Why? Because they’re absolutely vital is keeping things running smoothly on your site. They can also be a headache to apply – especially if you’ve got modified themes and plugins on your sites. If you’ve ever struggled with an update you’ll take little or no convincing that a support service is a brilliant investment of your money!
Most supported services will be so experienced in handling updates that you won’t know they’ve even happened.
How do I choose a good one?
What? You mean you don’t just plan on giving the most important part of your businesses marketing strategy to a random stranger and just hope that they’ll do a good job?!
You haven’t got to where you are now without making some smart choices – and choosing someone who’s going to do a good job of looking after a resource as valuable as your site is a big and important decision.
When you look at hiring outsourced services you should be thinking in the same way as interviewing a potential employee:
- What can you bring to my company?
- Do you have a proven track record?
- Can you give me some examples of your work?
- Can you provide references and checkable testimonials?
- Can you provide what I need – as opposed to what you want to sell?
Dig deep into reviews and testimonials – it’s easy to pretend to be better than you are when you’re selling your services on the web, but it’s also difficult to keep those bad reviews out of sight.
What else can they offer?
You might find a service that can tick some other boxes for you too. Perhaps you have a need for someone to manage your social media accounts? Or maybe you could use some help with on-site-SEO? Having a single point of contact for these things is convenient – and you end up working with someone who understands your business and your goals as part of a bigger picture.
If you’re running using WordPress and you’re struggling to keep on top of the maintenance it’s probably safe to say that you’re not getting the most out of your site in a number of areas. Every year internet usage numbers are growing – and with it, people’s expectations are becoming inflated.
If your site isn’t loading quickly you’re losing customers. If you’ve got broken links you’re losing customers. If you’re not backing up and taking security seriously – you’re losing customers. The question shouldn’t be whether not you can afford a managed WordPress service, but instead, can your company afford the website perils of not having a good supported service by your side?