Website Maintenance Plans

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Lesson Overview

In this series of lessons, we will learn one of the most exciting parts of being a website designer — the Website Maintenance Plan!

In this particular lesson, we will learn:

  1. What is a website maintenance plan?
  2. Why does a business need it?
  3. Why should your business offer it?


Lesson Transcription

Welcome! I’m Leighton, your webmaster. In this series of lessons, let’s talk about one of the most exciting parts of being a website designer — the website maintenance plan! These are awesome.

They’re basically like insurance for your website. You insure something valuable, like your car, in case anything goes wrong. A website is valuable, and needs to be protected. And, like your car, websites need maintenance. They don’t run on oil, but they do run on software that needs refreshing… And that’s where you, the webmaster, comes in!

Clearly I love website maintenance plans — but why am I so passionate about them? Well, let’s go back to the very first video of this course. Are you interested in… financial freedom? Freedom to choose your hours? Freedom to travel and work from anywhere in the world? Yes, being a web designer does enable those goals, but more specifically, what is it about the web design business that supports those goals?

Recurring revenue! A steady stream of revenue that you can rely on each month. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a feast or famine. Have you heard of that term? What does Feast or Famine mean to you? To me, it means that if I didn’t have revenue from my maintenance plans, I wouldn’t know how much money I’d have coming in each month. Think of it in terms of salary. When you’re on salary, you pretty much know how much money you’re collecting each month. On the other hand, when you’re a freelance web designer, working for yourself, you could have 10 projects going on (Feast) or 0 projects (Famine). What do you do on the famine months? If you have a Website Maintenance Plan, you just focus on pleasing your current clients. And those clients have already agreed to pay $50, $75, $150 a month, whatever you’ve agreed upon, so you know you’ll have steady, reliable income.

But what if a client drops off? (maybe they close the business, retire, outgrow you, downsize) whatever the reason, how does that affect you? By diversifying your income stream across several clients, you still have those other clients paying you each month to be their webmaster. The most I’ve ever lost is about 3 clients in one month (and that’s usually in a recession, that’s perfectly fine, we don’t make anyone feel bad, burn bridges or penalize them for leaving your maintenance plan), but the point is… that only represented a very small fraction of my client base. I could still buy groceries and pay my mortgage. That’s the type of freedom and security I’m talking about.

So that’s why you need a website maintenance plan… but why does a business need it? These maintenance plans are mutually beneficial — so what’s in it for your client? 

Well that’s go back to that car maintenance illustration. What could happen if you neglect the maintenance on your car? Just skip your oil changes? Well, you could find yourself on the side of the road somewhere. Car won’t start, and the hassle of getting it towed is far greater than the hassle of a quick oil change.

Maintenance is necessary, and what else is necessary? Auto insurance! How would you feel if you bought a $20,000 car… and totaled it a week later? Aside from the trauma of the accident, would you sleep a little better if you had full coverage and knew you would be reimbursed? Insurance gives you peace of mind, and website maintenance plans give businesses owners peace of mind knowing their website will remain live and continue to generate leads.

What could potentially happen if a business refuses to have their website maintained? What do you think could go wrong? Here’s 6 ideas:

  1. The site could get hacked. Broken into. Data stolen. Content altered.
  2. Poor hosting. Cheap hosting can lead to all sorts of problems, including, but certainly not limited to, a slow website.
  3. All content changes, even minor ones, are billed at an hourly rate, rather than included for free if you’re on a maintenance plan. So not being on a maintenance plan could get expensive.
  4. Without a dedicated webmaster, the website isn’t strategically directed to improve over time with fresh content. It could become dull and outdated after a few years.
  5. Backups. Without a reliable backup, your site could be wiped clean, gone forever, and you’ll have to start from scratch. Imagine the time and expense that would take!
  6. If a business owner updates their own website, one wrong move and the site could throw out an error message. That one error could take hours to troubleshoot, but minutes in the hands of a skilled webmaster.

There are plenty of other things that could go wrong without a maintenance plan, but those are some of the major ones. It is 100% accurate to say a website maintenance plan is a wise investment and in the best interest of a business.

So let’s recap. In this lesson, we learned:

  1. Website Maintenance Plans keep a website safe and secure.
  2. Website Maintenance Plans ensure you have a reliable stream of recurring revenue.
  3. Businesses can save time and money by paying for a quality Website Maintenance Plan. 

In the next 4 lessons, let’s look at the 4 primary features of your Website Maintenance Plan: Hosting, Management, Updates and Security. I’ll walk you through my favorite software (most of which are free!) that make your job as webmaster a breeze. These are tried-and-true services that I’m happy to connect you with! Then, we’ll discuss how to sell a maintenance plan and for what cost. By the end of this series, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to start selling website maintenance plans and build your client base.

I’m Leighton, and now you know, Website Maintenance Plans!