I’m taking over the maintenance on a website that hasn’t been updated, in, I don’t know how long. When I first logged into the Dashboard area, I found there were twenty-one plugins and a theme that needed to be updated. I do know that has been at least four months since any updates were done. The Yoast SEO plugin installed is version is 6.1.1 and the updated version is 7.4.2. Their 6.1.1 version was current in January 2018. In the world of WordPress updates, we all know four months is a very long time.

The incoming client was paying $50 a month for hosting and maintenance, and expecting to get:

Basic Support

Software Updates

Uptime & Security Monitoring

30 Minutes Support Time

The above list is pretty much the standard for all basic WordPress maintenance care plans. As the Dashboard clearly shows, they did not get what they paid for.

When this website was developed, the developer installed the Contact-7 Form plugin. In order for a form to retain the information submitted, an addon plugin is required. That wasn’t done. As instructed, customers have been submitting the form for the warranty on the products they have purchased. Unfortunately, she has no record of any of those registrations. As the client put it to me the other day, “So my registrations are just going to la la land?” Sadly, I had to respond with yes.

The company that was handling the maintenance is the same company that developed the website. Or is it? Trying to get the form submissions to work has been an ongoing problem for her. The “developer,” and I’m now using that term very loosely, the only answer has been, “I just don’t understand why you aren’t getting the registrations.” She’s had a few other questions for him, and his standard answer has been, “I’ll have to get back with you on that.” The client now believes that the development of this website was farmed out to a third party, and he knows nothing about website development. So do I.

When hiring a website maintenance and or development company, I recommend you ask for references that you can contact. Unfortunately, it is very easy for someone to cut and paste very impressive company logos and place them on their website giving you the buyer the impression they are clients of that company.

On the website for this particular company, it states that they have built websites for: “hedge funds, professional athletes, medical software companies, internet security firms, interior designers, TV personalities, political campaigns, As Seen on TV products, famous artists, heavyweight boxing promoters, actors, lawyers, and of course bars, restaurants, and hotels.” Funny, not really, but there is no portfolio on his website from all of this prior work.

Before I agree to take on any new WordPress maintenance client, I ask for the login information into the Dashboard. I need to know what I’m getting myself into for couple reasons:

  • What is the structure of the website, i.e. was it built correctly.
  • What plugins were used and have they been kept up to date?
  • If the website is not working properly what are the problems, and do I know how to fix them?

After I answer the questions above, I can then recommend the right WordPress maintenance care plan for them. Or, chose not to take the project on.

If you contact a company for continuing maintenance on your WordPress website, and you are not asked for the login information to the Dashboard, before they give you a price, as Jenny said, “Run Forrest, Run!”

As far as design goes, if the company claims to have built websites for just about every professional imageable but has no portfolio, again, “Run Forrest, Run!”

Do you need a WordPress maintenance company you can trust?

Does your current WordPress website need a facelift or do you need a new WordPress website?

If so, let’s talk.

I am an awarding winning logo and website designer who when not designing logos and websites, likes to write about how the industry has changed and what it looks to become in the future. I started designing websites around 1995. For the past 8 years, all sites have been developed in WordPress. Originally, I would develop the site in HTML and then convert those files to WordPress. Today all child themes are built on the framework of Divi. Guest blogger at 3lovablelabs,  Tropic Moon Media, and Patti & Hank.

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