Last Updated: 2nd of Apr 2024

What is a WordPress Care Plan?

Explore what a WordPress care plan covers, including security, updates, optimization, and support. Learn how to choose the right plan for your website.

What is a WordPress Care Plan?

As a business owner with a WordPress website, you may have heard about WordPress care plans and wondered what they entail.

There are two main approaches to WordPress care plans:

  1. Proactive Maintenance: This approach focuses on keeping your website up-to-date, secure, and performant as a preventative measure. It emphasizes regular maintenance and upkeep to minimize the risk of issues arising.

  2. Technical Partnership: This approach includes all the benefits of proactive maintenance but adds a more active role for the care plan provider. In this case, the provider acts as a technical partner, helping you grow your site, providing suggestions, and actively supporting the website with data-driven insights to improve the site over time as it grows.

Ultimately, a WordPress care plan is a service provided by a developer or agency to keep your website running smoothly and to help you achieve your online goals.

How Care Plans Work

Most WordPress care plans operate on a monthly basis, where clients pay upfront to receive a set number of support hours, access to a help desk, and other services.

The Basics

A typical WordPress care plan includes:

  • Technical support and troubleshooting.
  • Emergency support.
  • Website maintenance.
  • Regular updates of WordPress core, plugins, and themes.
  • Security monitoring and protection against threats.
  • Backup and restore services.
  • Performance optimisations.
  • Monthly reports.

The First Month

The first month of a care plan is often more active, as additional time is spent:

  • Setting up monitoring and optimisation tools.
  • Establishing a baseline for analytics, search rankings, and performance scores.
  • Familiarising the developer with the client’s website and business goals.

This initial period helps the developer understand the website’s current state and identify areas for improvement.

Ongoing Monthly Tasks

On an ongoing basis, the care plan provider will perform regular maintenance tasks each month, such as:

  • Updating WordPress core, plugins, and themes to ensure security, compatibility, and access to the latest features.
  • Managing support requests from the client and providing timely assistance.
  • Monitoring the website using automated tools to detect and alert for issues as they arise.
  • Performing regular backups to protect the website’s data and allow for quick recovery in case of an incident.
  • Optimizing website performance to ensure fast loading times and a positive user experience.
  • Providing reports on website performance, uptime, and other key metrics.

By proactively maintaining the website and addressing issues promptly, a WordPress care plan helps to prevent potential problems and keep the site running smoothly. The care plan provider acts as a reliable partner, offering ongoing support and expertise to help the client achieve their online goals.

Why Updates Matter

Keeping your WordPress site updated is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Security: Updates often include patches for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. WordPress is a popular target for attackers due to its widespread use, so it’s essential to keep your site updated to protect against known security issues.
  2. Compatibility: As WordPress evolves, older versions of plugins and themes may become incompatible, leading to site breakage. Updating ensures that all components of your site work seamlessly together.
  3. Features: Updates can introduce new features and improvements to enhance your site’s functionality, providing a better experience for your users and more options for customization.

WordPress Plugin Updates

WordPress’s strength lies in its vibrant community and the vast array of third-party plugins available to extend its functionality. However, this reliance on plugins can also introduce potential security risks:

  • The more plugins installed, the larger the attack surface becomes
  • Challenging to ensure every plugin follows best practices for security
  • Important to be selective about installed plugins, opting for well-maintained and trusted ones from reputable developers

Regular updates to WordPress core, plugins, and themes are essential for:

  • Addressing discovered security vulnerabilities
  • Maintaining compatibility between WordPress core and installed plugins and themes
  • Introducing new features, improvements, and bug fixes

Website Infrastructure Updates

When choosing a hosting provider, it’s important to select one that offers managed hosting with WordPress-specific support.

A good managed hosting provider will have designed their infrastructure and supporting software to be optimally compatible with WordPress and its plugins. This includes:

  • Server configurations tailored for WordPress performance and security
  • Automatic updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes
  • Specialized caching and performance optimizations for WordPress
  • WordPress-specific security measures and monitoring

Support and Response Times

One of the main reasons to invest in a care plan is to have professional help on hand when issues arise, especially when it comes to critical problems that require immediate attention.

While regular maintenance and optimization are important, the true value of a care plan often lies in the peace of mind it provides, knowing that you have a dedicated team ready to jump in and resolve urgent issues as quickly as possible.

When considering a care plan, it’s crucial to understand the level of support offered and the response times you can expect. Plans typically include:

  • Emergency Support: This is the most critical aspect of a care plan. When your site experiences a major issue that impacts its functionality or visibility, you need to know that your care plan provider will be there to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Look for plans that offer emergency support with guaranteed response times for critical issues.
  • Scope of Support: Understand what types of issues are covered under your care plan and during what hours support is available. Some plans may only offer support during business hours, while others provide extended coverage on weekends or even 24/7 support.
  • Response Times: In addition to emergency support, care plans should define guaranteed response times for different severity levels of issues. For example, a plan may guarantee a 2-hour response time for high-priority issues, a 4-hour response time for medium-priority issues, and a 24-hour response time for low-priority issues.
  • Communication Channels: Know how you can reach out for support when you need it. Care plans may offer various communication channels, such as a dedicated support email, a ticketing system, live chat, or even phone support for critical issues.
  • Expertise: When entrusting your website to a care plan provider, ensure that they have the necessary expertise to resolve issues efficiently. Look for providers with a track record of success and a team of experienced WordPress developers and sys admins.

Pricing Structures

Care plans are usually priced on a monthly or annual basis, with different tiers based on the level of service.

Factors that influence pricing include:

  • Website complexity and size: Larger and more complex websites often require more time and resources to manage, which can result in higher care plan prices.
  • Level of support: Plans with faster guaranteed response times typically cost more than those offering only business hours support.
  • Additional services: Care plans that include extras like content updates, SEO optimization, or performance audits may have higher prices than basic plans.
  • Hosting: Plans that bundle hosting with management services often have different pricing structures than those that manage your existing hosting setup.

Budget-friendly care plans

At the lower end of the pricing spectrum, you’ll find care plans that rely heavily on automation to keep costs down. These plans often use white-labeled WordPress management tools like MainWP or ManageWP to streamline processes and minimize manual intervention.

While these budget-friendly plans can be a good option for simple websites with minimal requirements, they may come with limitations:

  • Limited or no guaranteed response times for emergency support.
  • Fewer customization options for update schedules or backup frequencies.
  • Less proactive monitoring and optimization.

Premium care plans

On the higher end of the pricing scale, premium care plans offer a more comprehensive and proactive approach to website management. These plans often include:

  • Guaranteed response times for emergency support, often with 24/7 availability.
  • Dedicated account managers or support teams.
  • Custom update schedules and backup frequencies tailored to your site’s needs.
  • Proactive monitoring and optimization to catch potential issues before they cause problems.
  • Additional checks after automated updates to ensure no new issues were introduced.
  • More advanced security features and malware scanning.

While premium care plans come with a higher price tag, they can provide greater peace of mind and a more personalized approach to managing your website.

Choosing the Right Care Plan for Your Needs

When it comes to WordPress care plans, customers generally fall into two categories:

Basic Maintenance and Security

Some customers simply want peace of mind knowing their site is secure and that help is available if needed. They typically prefer a more hands-off approach, focusing on essential updates, backups, and security monitoring. These customers often opt for budget-friendly care plans that cover the basics.

Proactive Partnership and Growth

Other customers are looking for a more comprehensive solution that not only maintains their website but also helps it grow and succeed. These customers want a proactive partner to provide strategic guidance and support across various aspects of their website.

Premium care plans cater to these needs by offering additional services and benefits:

  • SEO Optimization: Premium care plans often include ongoing SEO support to help improve the website’s search engine rankings. This can involve keyword research, on-page optimization, and content strategy guidance to attract more organic traffic.
  • Performance Optimization: With a focus on enhancing the user experience, premium care plans may include regular performance audits and optimization tasks. This can involve caching configuration, image compression, and code minification to ensure the website loads quickly and efficiently.
  • Content Management: Some premium care plans offer assistance with managing and updating website content. This can include creating new pages, blog posts, or product descriptions, as well as optimizing existing content for better readability and SEO.
  • Analytics and Reporting: To help customers make data-driven decisions, premium care plans may provide regular analytics reporting and insights. This can include tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), identifying traffic sources, and monitoring conversion rates to continually improve the website’s effectiveness.
  • Marketing Support: Premium care plans may also offer marketing assistance to help customers grow their online presence. This can include social media management, email marketing campaigns, or even paid advertising support to drive more targeted traffic to the website.
  • Strategic Consulting: With a premium care plan, customers often have access to a dedicated account manager or support team that provides personalized recommendations and strategic guidance. This can involve regular meetings to discuss the website’s goals, identify growth opportunities, and develop action plans to achieve desired results.

When choosing a WordPress care plan, consider your specific needs and goals for your website. If you primarily want to ensure your site is secure and functional, a basic plan focusing on maintenance and security may suffice.

However, if you’re looking for a partner to help optimize and grow your online presence, a premium care plan with proactive support and additional services could be the better choice.

Other Considerations

Hosting and Infrastructure

The performance and security of your WordPress site are heavily influenced by the hosting infrastructure it runs on. When considering a care plan, it’s important to understand whether hosting is included or extra, or if the provider will manage your existing hosting setup.

Managed hosting can offer advantages such as WordPress-specific optimizations, automatic updates, and enhanced security measures. Have a look at my hosting article for more information.

DNS & Email Management

Setting up a website involves more than just designing pages and creating content. Two crucial aspects often overlooked are email deliverability and DNS management.

To ensure that your website’s emails (e.g., contact form submissions, password reset emails) reach their intended recipients, your web server must use a trusted email provider (SMTP). Some care plans include email configuration and management to help you navigate this process.

Additionally, proper DNS management is essential for your website’s availability and functionality. DNS records control aspects such as domain pointing, email service configuration, and integration with third-party services. Incorrect DNS settings can lead to website downtime, email delivery failures, and other issues.

When choosing a care plan, consider whether the provider offers assistance with:

  • Configuring and managing email services for optimal deliverability.
  • Setting up and updating DNS records to ensure proper website functionality.
  • Troubleshooting DNS-related issues that may impact your website’s performance.

Choosing the Right Care Plan

When selecting a WordPress care plan, consider your website’s needs and your own technical capabilities. If you have a complex site or limited technical skills, a more comprehensive plan may be worthwhile. On the other hand, if you have a simple site and are comfortable handling minor updates yourself, a basic plan may suffice.

Ultimately, a WordPress care plan is an investment in your website’s long-term health and success. By entrusting the technical details to experts, you can focus on running your business with the confidence that your online presence is in good hands.

Book an intro call to learn more and we can discuss a Care Plan suited for you.