Hiring a WordPress Maintenance Agency: Top 10 Questions To Ask
How do you determine which WordPress maintenance agency is right for your website? In my opinion, the key is a combination of doing proper research and asking the right questions.
Before starting your research for a new maintenance service, please make a list of your needs and have it in hand. Discuss your company’s needs with your sales and marketing departments to have a clear picture of what you’re looking for.
We’ve put together ten questions you should be asking the agency representative before signing any contract.
1. What exactly does my WordPress Maintenance Package cover?
Perhaps this is the most crucial question to ask your future agency. If you’re not a WordPress developer by trade, understanding what is needed to keep a site running may be something you’re not sure about.
We’ve found that different service providers offer different levels of service. Before hiring a website maintenance agency, visit their website and look for a clear outline of what’s included in their plan.
Here are, in my opinion, the must-have services that a maintenance package should include:
1.1 WordPress Updates
WordPress usually rolls out major updates twice a year, though minor updates roll out as needed. There are also updates for themes and plugins, which are much less predictable but need to be done to ensure your website is safe and continues to work as expected.
Backup plans are mandatory for each website. If your website gets a lot of content updates, you may need a backup to be done at least once a day and a full backup should be performed at least weekly.
On the other hand, if you own a presentation website that you don’t change very often, then you don’t have to do backups so often (obviously it doesn’t hurt to do it), but you need to ensure that at least once a week your website is scheduled for backups. These backups should be stored both locally and at least in a remote location.
Ensuring that your website is secure and in case of an incident, you can get it easily recovered and back in shape it’s mandatory. Your maintenance agency should offer you website security, plugin, themes, core updates, and uptime monitoring. On top of that, they should be proactive in keeping your website safe. If anything happens, you’ll likely need your agency to step in and fix the issues in a timely manner.
1.4 Website edits or features added.
You will probably need small website changes from time to time. These changes can be adding a new page, editing an existing one, changing a phone number on the contact page, or replacing a few pics. Besides these small tasks, you may also need new functionalities added or fix the broken ones.
Make sure that your WordPress maintenance agency can help you with those. Most likely, these are time-sensitive, and you don’t have the time nor will to hire a web development agency to get those done.
Your agency must offer you a complete report of the activities that have been done in the previous month. A good WordPress maintenance agency should at least offer you a simple report that summarizes the changes done on your website, the uptime figure, and other relevant stats for you.
Further reading: Top 10 Reasons to Use a WordPress Maintenance Service
2. What are your support hours?
You need to know upfront what the agency’s support hours are, especially if you are dealing with an overseas company.
Also, if your website’s uptime and functionality are crucial, you should deal with a 24/7 company that has the night shift covered, too. That’s to make sure they can take care of issues as soon as they happen and minimize the downtime.
You will be harming yourself if you don’t know the support you will be getting in your business right from the bat before committing to a maintenance agency. You need to see if they will support you all through the way.
3. What best practices are you following regarding code changes, uptime, backups, and security?
Coding standards change over time. It’s essential always to follow the latest changes to ensure compatibility with new technologies and the code to be easily readable by other developers.
Also, make sure their backups and security policy comply with all the regulations in your jurisdiction. That’s important because it can cost you a lot of money in the case of a hack or a data breach.
4. What happens with the hours not used in the previous month?
If you are looking at a WordPress retainer, it’s essential to determine how your hours are used.
If you have a retainer with more hours, you can expect more work to be done proactively. You might have an account manager and monthly, quarterly, or yearly deliverables. With a lower number of hours, you might expect several hours to be used to make changes at your request.
It would be best to understand how you’d be billed for the maintenance services.
5. Is there a minimum contract length I have to agree to?
Some maintenance agencies ask new clients to sign up for long-term contracts, varying from 12 to 24 months. This can be risky if you don’t trust the agency entirely.
Our plans at WPRiders are month-to-month as we think you’ll LOVE working with us. Thus there’s no need to tie you into a long-term contract.
6. How much time will you allocate weekly for my project?
How much time your future WordPress maintenance agency will allocate monthly for your project is another thing you must know. Not only will this help you hold them accountable, but it will also let you decide if they are interested in the success of your project or not.
Depending on your arrangement, please find out how much time they will be working on your project every week. The importance of knowing this cannot be overemphasized.
Chances are they are working on multiple projects simultaneously. Therefore you both must conclude the amount of time they will be ready to spend on your project per week.
7 . What reports should I expect from you? Are they included in the management package or for an additional fee?
Remember when I said that reports are an important deliverable you should expect from your maintenance agency? If not, check the 1st question of this list again.
You should ask the agency if they provide reports on an agreed schedule and if those reports are included in your management package. Also, ask what is included in the reports.
Don’t be shy to ask for a report sample. Will they include strict data, analysis of the data, and expert recommendations?
Ensure that you see everything going on with your website, preferably at least every month.
8. Will I have a project manager or one central contact point?
Working with a team of people on your website can sometimes be efficient and occasionally slow things down. Having a central point of contact dedicated to your site will ensure that one person manages the project each step of the way. So don’t be shy and ask about your agency management workflow.
9. Can you share some of your clients and references?
Looking at a maintenance service’s portfolio and work for clients can give you an idea of their skills and what sort of companies they are dealing with. A reputable company will be proud to show off its best work. Also, they will have several satisfied clients that stay with them and will be happy to share their experiences with you.
If you are not convinced they have the experience, don’t hesitate to ask for proof. Let them show you case studies or results that prove they have experience working on similar websites.
10. Are you sure you can handle my website?
To get as many clients as possible, some agencies promise heaven and deliver, well, less. Ask them to check your website carefully, and tell them about the particularities of your business.
Some of these particular situations may be the need for hosting in multiple countries, or you have to be compliant with special regulations like GDPR if you are targeting the European Union market, or have a minimum uptime rate written in a contract, etc.
Knowing this right off the bat is essential to avoid losing time talking with agencies that can not comply with your requirements.
After speaking with the agency representatives, which one do you feel most comfortable with?
Which one knows his game and is the most customer-focused?
Don’t look for the cheapest and the quickest; look for a WordPress maintenance agency that is determined to help you meet your business goals for development, security, sales, and more.
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