2018 package & pricing changes

After a very useful consultation exercise with our clients in December and January, and a lot of stress-testing of our existing offering and some new additions, we’d like to announce changes to our support packages and pricing to take effect immediately for new customers, and from 1 April 2018 for existing ones.

The key changes

Package names

First, let us bite the bullet and say sorry: we’re changing our package names again. The current names never really took hold, and confused us as well as you – so Quality is becoming Standard again, Marketing back to Professional and Strategy back to Elite. Technical will stay as Technical though.

New package: Technical Plus

Our clients divide into two groups:  those who want regular updates, maintenance or marketing help for their online activities, on a retainer basis, and those who just need hosting & technical support, and to get in touch when you have an occasional challenge or change request.

Traditionally we have offered priority (faster) support to clients on retainer packages.  However several of you on the Technical package (no retainer) told us you’d like guaranteed rapid response, so we have introduced the new Technical Plus package which includes priority support and some other benefits.

New hosting option: Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

Some of you expressed interest in VPS hosting, which means you effectively have a server all to yourselves for a much cheaper price than an actual ‘dedicated’ server. Your site is protected from other websites competing for the same resources, and should find the public site and the WordPress admin panel run faster.

We’ll contact those who expressed interest to discuss pricing (in the region of £40-50/mo extra); if you haven’t expressed interest but would like to, please let us know.

Stronger security

Many of you would like additional security measures over and above those provided by the host, so we’re adding iThemes Security Pro to our retainer packages. This includes daily malware scanning, (optional) two-factor authentication for admins, user security auditing, brute force protection and much more.

Extra backups, kept for longer

Again, many of you would like an additional or better backup strategy on top of the daily one made by the hosts (kept for 30 days). So for Standard and Professional customers, we’re adding a second, offsite backup made daily and kept for 90 days. And Elite customers get an advanced realtime backup system where changes to your site are tracked and backed up almost as soon as they’re made.

SEO and site quality scans

Frankly, most of you don’t look at these, which is understandable as they contain a lot of fairly opaque data.  So we’re making various changes here:

  • SEO scans will only be included in Professional and Elite packages going forward – but if you’re on Standard and find them useful, we’ll “grandfather” them for you (keep them running).
  • We’re changing from Sitebeam to its newer, slicker alternative Insites for site healthcheck scans.  We will send these to clients on all retainer packages if you find them useful, on a schedule to be agreed.
  • And do the same with broken link scans.
  • A common bit of feedback was:  “The reports would be more useful if you explain them!”. So we’ll build them into our new Proactive Care strategy (see below).
Proactive Care

The work we do for you can be divided into:

  1. Technical work that simply must be done – e.g. fixing WordPress if something breaks;
  2. Work you specifically ask us to do, e.g. content or design changes
  3. Work that really should be done on your site, e.g. broken link fixing, periodic speed & maintenance optimisation, and SEO.
  4. Work that we could be doing such as recommending & implementing new features; making use of newer, better plugins etc; automating process you currently do manually etc.

For many clients, especially those on the Technical plan, we never do more than 1 and 2.  For those on retainer packages, we’ve traditionally done 3 and 4 if we have some time left at the end of the month – but there is no long-term planning, site maintenance is erratic, and you’re not involved much in the decision-making.

So for those who want it, we are now offering a Proactive Care strategy, which sounds like a toothpaste but actually means:  we agree with you a schedule for any or all of the following:

  • Speed & performance optimisation sessions
  • Calls to review SEO & site healthcheck reports and discuss recommendations
  • Onsite visits to discuss & feed in to your overall online strategy
  • Other formal testing e.g. browser and mobile display or compliance
  • Other areas of site improvement

It’s very simple:  you choose which sessions would be useful to you, and how often you want them conducted;  we schedule them in the calendar, and deliver the work;  the time is deducted from your retainer.  (Some sessions are free depending on your package.)

Pricing changes

The bad news (well not very bad) – some of our pricing is going up. We know price rises are never popular, but we hope we still compare very favourably with our competitors and offer you a huge saving compared to paying separately for the services we offer – ask us for the numbers if you’d like to know more.  But also, to build the best team and give you the best service, we need to charge a market rate.  We also hope we get ever better at our job and deliver faster, more effective work.  (If you don’t agree, please tell us.)

Packages (will only affect invoices sent from 1st April)

  • The price of Technical rises from £65 to £75 per month (+ VAT)
  • New package Technical Plus is £125/mo
  • Standard (which went up last year) stays the same on £225/mo
  • Professional (which didn’t) rises from £400 to £450/mo
  • And Elite stays the same on £800/mo

See the new support packages.

Hourly rates (from 1st April)

  • Non-retainer clients:  £110 per hour
    • 30-minute minimum job for Technical customers
    • 10-minute minimum for Technical Plus
  • Retainer clients: your retainer includes a certain number of pre-paid hours @ £75/hr (a 32% discount);  if you use those up and ask us for more work on top, you get discounted rates as follows:
    • Standard: 5% discount
    • Professional: 10% discount
    • Elite: 15% discount

All prices exclude VAT.

We will contact each of our clients individually to discuss your needs and make sure you’re on the right package for you.  But if you have any immediate questions, use the live chat facility below, or book a call at a time that suits you.