A few years ago someone hacked my business website. I couldn’t log in, I couldn’t retrieve any of my content, and my conversion took a huge toll. I told my developer friend about it and she immediately asked: “Have you been updating and backing up your WordPress site?” Her question took me by surprise. I haven’t been updating or backing up anything. In fact, I had no idea that I needed to perform WordPress maintenance on a regular basis.
The Many Benefits of WordPress Website Maintenance
My hacked website cost me a lot but taught me a valuable lesson. Just like any other software, WordPress websites require consistent care to perform well and remain secure. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the most helpful benefits of regular website maintenance:
Regular Updates Improve Website Security
Outdated WordPress files, themes, or plugins are vulnerable to cyberattacks. This is an especially serious problem for e-commerce stores. Malicious software can result in costly downtime, loss of critical data, and significant privacy breaches. Fortunately, WordPress and many of the available plugins are constantly monitoring their software for vulnerabilities. Security updates are released quite frequently, sometimes several times a month. Running them as soon as possible significantly reduces your chance of a cyberattack. For further protection, you can conduct regular security checks that will help you detect potential bottlenecks, malicious code, or other vulnerabilities before they cause a problem.
Bonus Tip: Other than regular updates, using an auto-generated password and changing it frequently can also improve the security of your website.
Frequent Backups Prevent Data Loss
There are few things more devastating than having to recreate your pages from scratch. Even if you manage to protect yourself from cyberattacks, data loss from human error or technical malfunction can still occur. This is why regular backups are a crucial part of a well-maintained site. Even if your site is hacked or malfunctioning, a working backup can be quickly installed until the problem is fixed.
Bonus Tip: Some Worpdress plugins notify you if your website is down. This allows you to install a backup before losing too much traffic.
Consistent Site Maintenance Improves User Experience
Did you know that a great user experience can increase conversion by 400%? At the same time, a negative one can be detrimental to the success of your online business. According to Google statistics, more than half of mobile users will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Regular updates and website maintenance can help improve user experience in several ways. They can minimize slow loading times, as well as issues like broken links, 404 errors, and visual bugs.
Bonus Tip: As part of your regular maintenance, you can monitor your site’s Google analytics. This is especially helpful in understanding your users and meeting their needs. To learn more about empathizing with users, check out our article on making your website more user-friendly.
Website Maintenance Saves Money
When it comes to WordPress websites, preventative measures are oftentimes cheaper than reactive ones. A messy, outdated website can attract cyberattacks, push away customers, and result in costly and lengthy troubleshooting. In contrast, consistent WordPress website maintenance can decrease the impact of many issues or even prevent them from appearing in the first place.
Bonus Tip: Maintenance can be done on a budget. Many maintenance plugins have free versions with a lot of useful functionality. Even if you need to work with an expert, you don’t have to spend a fortune. Many agencies, including ours, offer different types of maintenance packages based on your needs and budget.
The Challenges With WordPress Maintenance
Despite the benefits of website maintenance, more than half of all WordPress sites are running an older version. Why? Regular maintenance is not one of the most exciting tasks. Manual updating is time-consuming, while automatic one comes with the risk of not seeing errors in time. Heavily customized themes are especially vulnerable to issues during updating, and sometimes require professional coding to fix. Even with vanilla themes and plugins, updates can sometimes introduce visual or functional bugs that need manual fixing. This is why it is always important to conduct a thorough quality assurance review after each update.
Now What? How Do I Start Maintaining My Website?
If you have sufficient time and WordPress expertise, you can perform many maintenance activities by yourself. Here is a thorough guide on how to start. Alternatively, you can opt-in for a professional maintenance plan with an expert WordPress developer. Here are some tips on how to find one that meets your needs. We, at DodoWeb, also offer different maintenance packages based on your website, needs, and budget. Some of the services we offer include:
Weekly updates of all plugins, themes, and WordPress core files. Our safe update feature ensures we can revert to previous versions of your website if there are any issues with the update.
Testing of all major features after updating, to ensure everything will work as expected.
Real-time uptime monitoring to know if your website goes offline and for how long, which might be an indicator for an underlying issue.
Daily security checks to identify issues such as corrupted or vulnerable plugins, malware, or website being added to any blacklist.
Daily performance checks to identify speed problems.
Daily off-site backups stored for 90 days, so you can always have an available working backup ready to be restored if needed.
Real-time link checks to identify broken links that may frustrate your visitors.
Daily website traffic monitoring through Google analytics.
Monthly PDF report of all the above.
This was our brief introduction to the benefits of WordPress website maintenance. If you have any questions or remarks, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact us!
Gabriela Kostova is a UX Designer and Front-End Developer at DodoWeb. She has a background in Cognitive Psychology, Information Design, and Usability.