WordPress maintenance and troubleshooting

How your developer is not required to provide lifetime website support

OK clients, look, I love the work that I do, and I love being as helpful as I can for you. But there’s something that we all need to discuss: your developer and designers time. When I build a site for a client, big or small, I now walk everyone through what WordPress is: a living breathing ball of software that needs updates & care to remain solvent.

What does that even mean?

WordPress is effectively these things: the WordPress system/software, a database of content and relationships to content linked to your WordPress install, a theme to display the site the way you want it, and plugins and custom coding to provide functionality specific to your site. All of these items revolve on a lifecycle of updates and changes. And any one of them may change at any given time based on a number of things. From the WordPress core being updated and now the subsequent themes & plugins must update to remain compatible, adding new features, or making things more secure to name the most common of ones.

Given that this is a ongoing, living thing in the virtual world, it will require updates & tidying to keep running smoothly. 

What does this mean for you and your developer?

It means that your developer, unless it’s written into your contract somewhere, is not on the hook for a lifetime of work on your site. I offer all my clients maintenance packages and strongly recommend that clients take me up on them, especially when the site owners do not consider themselves technologically savvy.

What does a maintenance package get me?

Everyone’s maintenance packages offered are different. Here at AGC, we offer a 2 hour package where we log in, run the necessary updates to plugins, themes & the WordPress core, then test and review the site to make sure it continues to run as it should. If there are hangups/issues/etc. then depending on the situation, a rollback might be the applicable solution, followed by a review of what went awry, and fix those issues and redo the updates. Sometimes a plugin is no longer being updated and the WordPress core is, and therefore we find an alternate solution to that plugin. Sometimes themes & plugins conflict styling or functionality and that needs resolved. Part of the AGC package also includes adding/changing small text and posts on the site for our site owners as well who are limited on time or just limited on wanting to deal with the site but still want the option to login and do what they need, when they need. So that part is up to clients!

But at the end of the day, when a WordPress site is created, it becomes the client’s responsibility to maintain in some form or fashion. Troubleshooting site issues or usability is not required of your developer on a lifetime basis. For clients that do not pursue a maintenance package, I charge whatever my current hourly rate for the studio is to trouble shoot & fix sites. Maintenance rates are fixed on a six month or yearly advance payment and are almost half what I charge for standard hourly rates.

So talk to your developer about ongoing costs and really think about what kind of user you truly are and pick a solution that really works for you!