Why you need a maintenance plan for your website
Having a website is a must these days just in terms of having a presence and because of how people utilize their smartphones or other smart devices. If you have been following along then you probably are aware that I am at least currently a freelance web developer. Based on what I do it is obvious that I consider having a website a must.
As you probably guessed from the title I am not really going to try and prove my previous statement. What I am going to discuss today is something people usually don’t even consider. Say someone has a website or wants to create one – and does it –What then? Let’s assume your developer discussed a possible maintenance plan but, for whatever reason you decided you didn’t need it because you know the Content Management System for example and when an update comes out you think “Ok all this guy/girl does is click the update button, I can do that.”
Here comes reality you may or may not be aware of. I am going to use WordPress specific stuff that can happen, but these apply to any Content Management System like Joomla, Drupal, Opencart as was well as totally custom sites. Here comes the non-exhaustive itemized list that comes to mind:
- You update and the look of your site changes.
- You update and the cool effect you wanted and paid for stops working.
- You update and there are were errors and warnings on your website.
- You update and all you see is a white screen when visiting your site.
- You update and no longer receive emails using your contact form.
If your business relies on the website in question and stuff like this happens, revenue is lost, simple as that. Assuming you are reading this, and I somehow convinced you that stuff like this happens and you need a maintenance plan so that an expert can help you avoid potentially similar or even more advanced issues like getting hacked than I am happy for you. There is something I consider very important even if you already have a plan in place. Make sure you talk with the person about a few things I will mention below:
- Assume I am hacked what will I lose and how fast can my site by back online?
- How will I know maintenance is really being done?
The point of the above questions is to instill in you as a potential client that, (I am not saying hire me, but you could) the person doing your maintenance should somehow give you proof of the maintenance that has been done. It needs to be irrefutable proof not a word document that can be altered. I say this because anyone can type something like “I did XYZ on 12/12/2018”. My response would be “Who says you did?”. I for example may send a report generated by a WordPress plugin that tracks plugin updates I make or even file changes I make with a time and date attached and if you as a client wants to check that I did what I say I did, then I should give you a way to check up on me. How I would do that is outside the scope of this article. All I am saying is hold the person accountable.