When I launched my first WordPress support business WP Curve in 2013, it was the first of its kind in the world. We offered unlimited small jobs for a low monthly fee and we operated world wide 24 / 7 from day 1.
Having been out of the game for so many years and now back in it, the changes are immense. Just googling WordPress support in 2023 you find many many support options.
My current business WP Master is fairly limited in its scope because the price point isn’t super cheap and it’s only available to Australian companies in Australian business hours. So I thought it would be useful to cover some of the things to consider if you are looking for WordPress support.
*Note my previous article “Essential WordPress Help: A Beginner’s guide to getting support with your WordPress site” covers all the various ways to get help with WordPress. This one is just if you are planning on engaging a WordPress support service.
Check the expertise and experience of the support service. Look for providers who have a track record of working with WordPress and providing reliable support services. Evaluate their technical knowledge, skills, and familiarity with WordPress best practices. I’d look at who owns the business as well and their specific background as it relates to WordPress.
It’s important to understand who you will actually be working with. Often companies will build the brand based on well known founders but you don’t get to work with those people. Chat to them about who is doing the work on the site. Are they full time staff, where are they located, what are their skillsets etc. I know first hand that if you want to scale a business in the WordPress support space you are going to really struggle to find great people. So you want to be sure if it’s a decent size provider, that they have a great time.
Meeting availability expectations is where a lot of client and service provider relationships fall down. If your expectation is to be able to call someone or sit with someone and the provider handles all jobs via email, well that’s not going to work very well. If you always want support during your business hours but the service provider works different hours then that’s not going to work.
With my last business we handled all jobs via email. We had live chat available but people generally used email. It was easier for us to manage and scale that way but it wasn’t the best experience for the customer. At WP Master I do it all via live chat and Whatsapp. That most likely will not scale well but I don’t have big ambitions to scale the business, I just want to give a handful of clients great service. And immediate responses to messages and working collaboratively live is the best service for the customer.
That said I’m clear that this is the only support we offer. I don’t do phone calls or zoom calls, or in person meetings, or email.
It’s a good idea to understand what tools the provider users to get their work done. We have a fairly basic operation here, Google docs for shared notes and Whatsapp for communication. That’s how I like to work but if clients don’t like that, it won’t be a good fit. Similarly if the service provider works off email and you have to send an email and wait a few hours for a response each time you want to communicate, that won’t work for some people. Or if they only support certain hosts, or certain WordPress themes etc.
It’s a good idea to reach out to them before you engage them to get a feel for what it will be like to work together. I encourage people to do that on the WP Master site because it helps that both the client and the service provider don’t have any surprises once they start working together. You can learn a lot from attempting to reach out to a service provider before you engage them and getting a feel for how they communicate.
Consider the response time and availability of the support service. Ideally, they should offer timely responses to your queries and be available for assistance during your preferred working hours or have a reliable support ticket system. Live is the best but often that will be hard for some companies to make work. Most will give you some idea of what they aim for when it comes to response time. Although you can only be sure once you start working with them.
Pricing is obviously a big consideration. Most providers offer slightly different things so it’s a bit difficult to compare. I’d also add here that sometimes the cheaper providers attract more demanding customers and that can bog them down. At WP Master I’ve priced the main service at $250 / month so it’s not super chap. I’m aiming for legit businesses who can afford to pay a decent amount for help. That will rule a lot of people out, but it means I should be able to offer great service to the few people who do go for it.
Level of hands on
This is something to establish early with any outsider working on your WordPress site. These days most people will want to do some of the work on the site themselves and delegate some to an outside service. Working out exactly what your preferred scenario is here from the start is a good idea. Communicate this to the service provider and see if they are happy working in that way.
For me I’m not fussed how much if any work the client does on their website, just as long as we both know the preference and have it documented so there’s no confusion. Some providers might not want you touching your site, or there might be some things they won’t do on your site. Best to work all of that out early on.
Assess the range of services offered by the support service. Determine if they cover the specific areas you need assistance with, such as troubleshooting, updates, security, performance optimization, backups, theme/plugin management, or website maintenance. Most providers should have clearly defined ‘in scope’ and ‘out of scope’ examples of jobs.
Out of scope
For out of scope jobs it’s a good idea to understand how those are handled. Does the service provider have the ability to do them for an additional fee? Do they have referral partners for them? Are they happy for you to do them or to work with another provider on them? One example that comes to mind is website migration. That tends to be a specific area of expertise and some providers may not want to include this in their services.
Security is a big one when allowing anyone into your website and hosting control panel. Ensure the support service has security measures in place to protect your website. Ask about their approaches to malware scanning, vulnerability patching, firewall protection, and backup and recovery processes. Ask how they go about managing passwords and sharing them with the team. A reputable support service should prioritise website security and offer proactive measures to mitigate risks.
Contract Terms and Flexibility
Review the contract terms, cancellation policies, and any limitations or restrictions imposed by the support service. Ensure the terms are fair, transparent, and flexible enough to meet your changing requirements. You probably don’t want to be signing lock in contracts for something like WordPress support.
I hope this article was useful, if you are an Australian business who wants help with WordPress check out our plans here. If you are interested in more content like this, check out the rest of the WP Master blog.