Providing Maintenance and Support

By Patty J. Ayers

Staying with the focus of this series of articles, which is explaining how I run my particular business, I share the following. I know that not everyone will want to structure his business this way, but maybe it’s worth considering, since it has been successful for me.

In order to build someone a new website, I require a Hosting and Maintenance Agreement which must be paid yearly in advance. I’m convinced that such an arrangement is crucial to the success of a website, as I explain below.

WordPress Freelancer Forms

15A_Renew Maintenance Letter

The Hosting and Maintenance Agreement protects the client’s investment in his new website, and ensures that I will get compensated for the many small and medium-sized requests that the client will certainly make over the coming year. WordPress websites need to be maintained, and the clients who hire us don’t know almost anything about what should be done or how to do it. In addition to simply hosting the website, someone should be doing all of these things:

  • Keeping WordPress, plugins and themes updated
  • Making full backups on a regular basis and storing them securely
  • Supporting the client when he needs help using the WordPress Dashboard
  • Ensuring that the site will continue to work as it was designed.

Those four things are what I offer, in addition to hosting, for a yearly fee. I say “offer”, but I won’t take on a job in which I’m supposed to produce a website and then basically turn it over to the client to manage. Because the reality is, the client typically won’t manage it properly, and it will very likely come back to haunt me at some point.

I also make it very clear what is not included in my Hosting and Maintenance Agreement. That is: I charge by the hour for any actual changes or additions to the site’s design, layout, or functionality which the client chooses to have done.