Every successful website requires some level of ongoing maintenance. It’s not just a case of simply launching your site and thats it. WordPress itself as a core system comes with its own updates, and thats aside from plugins, themes and content.
Just like you need to change the oil, water and tyres on a car, a website maintenance plan is exactly the same when it comes to keeping your site optimised, secure and looked after to ensure it gets you the most mileage. For your website and your business, it is necessary to make sure your site stays functional and performing as best as it can. If you’re in the process of designing or developing a new website, it’s crucial to put in place a post-launch strategy once the site is launched to ensure that it stays up to date, secure and fully functioning.
So here’s our list of the 10 reasons why you need a suitable WordPress Maintenance Plan.
Arguably the most important reason why you should keep your WordPress website up to date, above all others. WordPress currently powers 34% of all online websites in the world. Due to it’s popularity, WordPress is also understandably a popular target for hackers, malicious code distributors and data thieves. WordPress is generally secure, but its easy to miss the basics of running a site which can create security holes in your install. Since WordPress is open source, anyone can study the source code to learn and improve it, but this also means that hackers can research it too in order find ways to break in. Keeping your site updated and maintained can help stay up to date with security upgrades as they get released for WP core, themes and plugins.
WordPress developers are always trying to make things as fast as possible by using less code, writing efficient functions and reduce as much load on the server and database as possible. Each new release usually comes with performance improvements that makes WordPress run faster and run more efficiently.
Since speed is such a huge factor in SEO (and thus your Google ranking), you should keep your WordPress updated to ensure maximum performance benefits. The faster your site, the higher your search engine rank – particularly with Google. Even a single plug-in that is not kept updated can slow down your site or even cause certain functions of your website to become unresponsive. As updates are released for WordPress itself, plugin developers should be updating with it to ensure compatibility and when they do, you should be updating the plugin too.
3. User Experience
Whether your WordPress website generates any income for you or your business, promotes your brand or simply fuels readers’ appetite for your awesome content, you must treat your visitors as best as you can. Nobody likes a site thats confusing, looks broken or outdated and it can certainly prevent valuable visitors from returning. If you’re running an outdated version of WordPress core under the hood, your website could get “glitchy” – causing users to think twice about your products, services or more as your site reflects the quality of your brand.
You don’t want to make your visitors frustrated just by using your website, and you may never know about these problems until decreasing traffic sends up a red flag, by which time it may be too late. WordPress updates are continually solving user issues, becoming more intuitive and offering site owners and site users alike a better experience overall. By staying current, you can usually pre-empt technical issues before they become apparent to your visitors.
4. Plugin and Theme Features
Updating core WordPress is obviously important, but it is also just as important to update the theme and plugins you use, as a bug in one of these can affect your whole installation including speed, performance and security. Most themes from popular marketplaces will be updated regularly and this usually adds in new features, layout options and bug fixes. Same applied to plugins, so keeping both updated is advised to improved not only the security of your site, but also make it look slicker.
5. Complete Backups
Your whole sites – the database, files, documents and images (all assets that come together to create your website) can be downloaded regularly and stored, just incase the worst was to happen. If anything happens to your website host or to the website itself, it can be a lifesaver to have a recent copy of your website safe, secure and ready to be restored. Here at WP Sanctuary, we offer daily backups included with every plan, and can even offer 6 hourly or hourly backups for the sites that have plenty of updated content, such as online magazines or e-commerce stores.
6. Fresh Content
As you tentatively make changes to your website, Google will pick this up on the next crawl. The more fresh, pertinent content you can add, the mor eyou can offer to your site visitors and the higher the ranking Google will likely give you. Remember that search engines want to provide their searchers with fresh, up-to-date and useful content, so a site with regular updates being added will usually outperform a stagnant site that has seen no fresh content in months or years. This is why websites now have a blog or news section – it allows an area on their site to receive new content to be added for this very reason.
7. Site Healthchecks
Updating the site, themes and plugins allows you to see the overall picture of your sites’ general health. By checking database loads, page load speed and even within content such as broken links, spotting these and fixing potential problems that you may not have know about and can help polish off the site. After all, the devil is in the details and small adjustments can have the biggest impacts.
8. Long Term Cost Savings
If you keep your site maintained and updated regularly, there’s less chance of something major going wrong that will cost a lot of money to make right. Just like the car analogy, if you didn’t take care of your engine maintenance, it could cost you so much money if it packs in, whereas keeping it maintained often will be much easier to manage and afford. You have to weigh the pros and cons. A monthly sum to make sure your site is secure and working properly, versus the possibility and cost of a complete site rebuild in a worst case scenario.
9. Brand Reputation
Your website is a public reflection of your brand identity. A poorly maintained website with lots of errors, broken links, dead pages and outdated information projects a somewhat unprofessional image and can put a bad taste in the mouth of your customers. We will routinely examine the look and feel of your website and update it to match your brand. Remember, first impressions count and people in todays times have limited attention spans and make snaps judgements about everything – your site included. Even if you have the best products or services in the world, a site that doesn’t reflect that will ultimately cost you.
10. Peace Of Mind
While you could always conduct some of the ongoing maintenance yourself, there will be almost always some sort of technical knowledge required to fix many common issues with running a site. This could include backups not always working and being unable to restore your site if a backup is corrupt, forgetting to update your site when you are busy, making a change that breaks your site or having malware hidden in your site folders without you even knowing about it. Having a reputable specialist company looking after all these for you (and knowing what to look for), can help you save time, money and stress in managing your site.
Looking for a complete WordPress Maintenance Plan?
All our plans include super-fast, fully managed cloud hosting, daily backups, active monitoring, core updates, plugin updates, theme updates, enhanced security, bug fixes, healthchecks, specialist support and a lot more. Plans start from as little as £45/month.View all features