How much support and maintenance does WordPress need?

WordPress is a software platform, not too dissimilar from your PC or iPad. As a result it needs tending and looking after to get the very best performance and also to reduce the risk of outages, howsoever they are caused.

It’s a software application and needs updating in the same way as your SmartPhone and PC. However, your WordPress site is handling thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of visitors every week. Most are nice, but some are nasty worms and bots coming to try the break into your site, and this happens every day.

This means keeping WordPress up to date, and keeping tabs on it’s security. Additionally, WordPress periodically suffers vulnerabilities and fails from time to time.

Additionally, WordPress releases major updates (7 last year) that bring new functionality and patches security.

Client’s also need to evolve their digital strategy over time, trends come and go and new technology and approaches appear that a digitally-focussed business want to try out or take advantage of. Depending how active the digital strategy is, this could be a matter of a few hours a month making small improvements or a full-blown continuous improvement cycle associated with an agile marketing plan.

This takes resource and that costs money. Clients can either “pay-as-they-go” or bundle the resource cost up into a manageable lump, much like you do with a mobile phone contract, albeit a little more expensive!

What’s a reasonable support overhead

This depends entirely on what the site is doing, how much is it changing and what kind of load is it under. A small, quiet site with little traffic and no discernable changes should only need an hour a month – you probably should check it’s still working and all the functions are ok. You’ll need to stay in step with WordPress updates but that’s got a lot easier recently.

At the higher end, we might consider a site that has daily changes and lots of evolutions. It will break fairly often (changes do break web sites) and it will need constant attention just to keep it running smooth. That might take an hour and day to keep the wheels oiled and the site on track staying in sync with the latest security updates and plugins. If the client it backing the actual content changes out to an agency then, for example, a site the size of this ( consumes about 10 hours a week to keep running smoothly.

Most of our clients fall into the sweet spot in-between. That’s about an hour a day, or 21 hrs a month.

And the actual cost is?

The cost of agency time varies greatly, from a one-man freelancer offering support at £45 an hour through to a high-end London agency charging £1500 per day or therepartof (sic).

So, pay as you go support bills can typically ranges from £50 a month through to a few thousand – how long is that piece of string?

Our Approach to WordPress Support

We’re different. We don’t like the pay-as-you approach, it lacks transparency and can suffer terribly from billing-bloat and will foster an “us and them” approach.

Since 2005 we’ve operated a flat-fee structure for web site support & maintenance. Despite what seems to be a rather arbitrary approach, fixed-price support works for 3 good reasons:

  • WordPress requires attention. Keeping your WordPress site running in tip-top condition requires a combination of preventative maintenance as well as reactive.
  • Managed, known cost. No one likes surprises or the delays that might be incurred if every resource minute has to be be approved and paid for. Most clients don’t need daily changes and updates to their site – the resource needs are spikey across the day of week and month. A flat fee ensures clients have fast access to good quality support when they need it the most.
  • Shared responsibility = Fair usage. Support contracts are reviewed every 90 days to ensure Connected are providing a good service for a fair price, we share the risk of getting it wrong. This works both way, if we’re being asked to do more then we can review the resource load and adjust the cost of the contract accordingly … in a nicely managed manner.

Let’s be clear though, this is NOT A RETAINER. Work done under the contract is pre-paid and the scope pre-agreed at the acceptance stage.

Finally, all support work is carried out “in the open”. We use a Zendesk-based support desk where clients can see all outstanding tickets, record the performance of them and even rate the work we do for it’s timeliness and efficacy.

We also publish our rates, openly, for all to see.

Nothing is hidden. Don’t like the way the contract is going? Either renegotiate up or down, or cancel on the 90 day anniversary date. It’s that simple. No surprises. No daft bills. No faff.

Our WordPress Support Rates

For pre-paid support contracts, our rate is £99+VAT per hour for standard 10 am to 4pm support with a 24hr response target. Out of hours, weekend and quicker response time are also available – and cost a multiplier more.

Bespoke WordPress Development Rates

Requiring a more experienced, skilled and senior individual our development rates start from £142+VAT per hour including project management and account communications.

Interested? Come and talk to us.