WordPress Updates and Maintenance

Guy fixing a car

from Ryan McGuire via Pixabay

Sterner Stuff was founded with a focus on relationships. This means that working with me isn’t a one-off affair. I don’t build websites to be lost and forgotten. The web changes every day, and your website needs to keep up.

Of course, you shouldn’t have to worry about that.

That’s why all of my clients enjoy a worry-free update and maintenance plan. Every month, I’ll tend to your website’s health and well-being, as well as field minor support requests from you, without starting the timer. Instead, you get a flat fee, no matter what happens.

So what exactly does this cover?

The short version:

  • Stay hack-free and get the latest performance optimizations with monthly software updates
    • Any conflicts introduced by updates are covered under this plan
  • Recover quickly with priority cleanup of (unlikely) compromises
  • Get help whenever you need it with 1 hour of monthly support time
  • Cut down on load times with automated image optimization
  • Ensure contact form submissions find your inbox with an SMTP email relay for outgoing mail
  • Sleep easy with uptime monitoring and nightly backups
  • Encrypt traffic and speed up your website with a free security certificate

If you host with me, you get all that, plus base hosting, for $112/mo. If you have your site hosted elsewhere, it’s $150/mo. I configure my own hosting to make these processes super easy, which is why that’s the cheaper option.

I’m already sold! Let’s chat.

Software Updates

For my WordPress clients, this means first and foremost updating WordPress itself. WordPress receives several updates each year on an irregular basis, depending on the discovery of potential security flaws, performance improvements, and the addition of new features. Additionally, third-party plugins and themes that may have been used on your site receive periodic updates for the same sorts of reasons.

If you’re a custom web app client of mine, your software updates look very similar, just without as catchy names. Suffice to say, the framework your app was built on gets updated, as do the extensions that make it so powerful.

Why is this important?

Security is no joke. A hacked site can infect other sites on the same hosting account, so when it comes time to clean up, you have to clean up every site on the server. Many hacks go unnoticed, operating in the background. If you have email enabled on your server, they’ll make a slave out of it, blasting spam to anyone and everyone until your server is blacklisted from sending email (bye contact forms!). And of course, if Google has a hunch that you’ve been compromised, they’ll slap a label on it in search results.

I often have clients ask why updates need to be done every month. Can’t I do bi-monthly? Or semi-annually? Time for a quick case study.

On January 11, 2017, WordPress 4.7.1 was released. Two short weeks later, on January 26, 2017, WordPress 4.7.2 was released. This quick turn-around was to address three security flaws discovered in the previous release. I know folks who were compromised in that short two-week period. Security vulnerabilities can be discovered at any time and patched in a hurry.

Because WordPress is an open source platform, all changes to the code base, including security fixes, are published for anyone to review. This makes it very easy for a hacker to write a script to exploit those holes specifically, crawling the web for any and all WordPress sites. Hacks are almost never directed specifically at you. They’re directed at the exploits themselves.

What makes the update plan worry-free?

With the Sterner Stuff update plan, not only are you receiving regular updates, but if for some reason your site does get hacked, or an update breaks functionality on your site, I fix it on my dime. The timer still isn’t running, and I’ll get everything cleaned up.

Security, got it! Let’s chat.

Call Me, Beep Me

The update plan also includes an hour of my time each month for small support requests. Forgot how to change a photo on your website? Want me to change a photo on your website? Maybe a button isn’t working or an external link was updated. These ticky-tack items come up, and I don’t want to run the timer on you to take care of it. On the monthly update and support plan, it’s covered.

You’ll do stuff I can’t be bothered with? Let’s chat.

There’s More!

There are a variety of services that all my clients’ sites take advantage of, but I’m not forwarding costs on. This includes automated image optimization, a suite of premium WordPress plugins, and flexible, premium themes that form the basis of many of my WordPress projects.

Host with me? It gets better! Your hosting comes with SMTP email management, a free security certificate, and weekly backups.

This plan provides you with peace of mind, allows your website to take advantage of the latest technologies, and allows me to keep systems in place to do it all.

You Can Start Now!

That’s right—you don’t have to have any kind of pending project to get started! You don’t even have to host with me (but you’re strongly encouraged to, so ask about that, too!). It starts with a $350 website tune-up, so fill out the form below to get started. I’ll review your existing site, let you know if I see any red flags that need taken care of first, and get you up to date. Then, every month, you get the great benefits above. It truly is worry-free.