Why you need a website maintenance plan
for your WordPress website
The creation of your WordPress website, whether it is built by yourself, or with the involvement of a web design agency/freelancer could be considered to be the ‘fun’ phase of your new web design project!
Possibly the most important part however for the responsible business owner is the ongoing maintenance and security of your new site.
Having spent considerable time, energy and money on producing a website to be proud of, that delivers the information you need to convert visitors into new clients and customers, it is imperative that you then keep it up to date and working smoothly.
Without due care and attention to routine maintenance and updates to the WordPress core filesystem, themes, plugins etc. your mighty website could quickly fall into a state of disrepair (and consequently disrepute with the likes of Google!)…
…where once your finest products and services were majestically presented to regular visitors, a hap hazard mix of pharmaceutical wizardry or worse could rapidly take their place.
As an unsuspecting website owner having neglected for too long the upkeep of your website, you are probably going to be upset to discover your web pages offering up remedies to sleepless nights, or maybe even a little something to keep folks up all night instead!
Either way, unless you actually own and run a pharmaceutical business we can probably assume your website visitors will be falling over themselves in their frantic efforts to bash the back button!
Your future website traffic could be seriously compromised and you probably shouldn’t bank on them returning anytime soon to give you and your business a 2nd chance to make that great 1st impression.
Website security considerations aside there are of course many further reasons why keeping everything up to date is essential for avoiding serious problems and ensuring the success of your website…in no particular order of importance (because they are all arguably equally as important as one another!)…
- Time is money right?
All the while your website is sitting pretty and wowing your visitors it’s easy to figure there is no need to waste time updating anything.
Until it is compromised, at which point the conversation you have with your web designer and the cost they quote for fixing everything, assuming it is even worth the cost of fixing, is not going to help you sleep that night even if you make the appropriate purchases from your now hacked website!
- Loss of visitor confidence and ensuing damage to your website’s reputation.
Many sites are hacked with the intention of installing malware to the site, that malware targets the site’s visitors directly. Once this is detected by Google (and it will be, along with around 10,000 others per day) the site is very likely to be blacklisted.
If your hard work with the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of your site over a long period of time was paying dividends with top slot ranking in the SERPS (Search Engine Ranking Pages), kiss it all goodbye!
Warnings will be issued alongside your search engine listing details so that potential visitors are made aware of possible dangers to be found when visiting your site. What was that quote for fixing everything up?
- Compatibility issues affecting the correct functioning of your website.
It won’t take long before you (and more importantly your site visitors) may begin to witness a significant drop in performance of your site. This is typically a result of deprecated WordPress functions and your site running on an outdated version of PHP, the scripting language that WordPress and its numerous themes and plugins are developed with.
With new features and functionality being added to the core WordPress framework all the time, along with improvements to performance and security, it is common for themes and plugins to no longer function correctly if not kept up to date.
Google has been actively penalising slow websites for many years now, so be aware that slow sites do not earn a top spot in the rankings!
- Website crash or defacement.
With your entire website down and showing the world nothing but a screen full of error messages, you are certainly going to be losing out on opportunities to convert site visitors to clients and customers.
Worse still maybe, if your ‘Health & Fitness’ or ‘Dental Practice’ or whatever site you own is now displaying naked bodies all over the place then Joey and Chandler from ‘Friends’ may be your only and last site visitors for some while.
- Loss of personal and/or customer information.
If your website falls foul of hackers with bad intent it is entirely possible for a data breach to occur.
It’d be bad enough if your own personal details were to fall into the wrong pair of hands, add to that the possibility of client and customer details going the same way and you could end up with legal headaches, stolen business secrets and processes and most definitely sleepless nights!
This list is far from definitive, the truth is there are very many negative consequences of neglecting your website and leaving it to chance that everything will be OK.
The vast majority of our clients subscribe to our own ‘Safeguard’ WordPress Care Plan, a plan that ensures routine maintenance updates and fixes are applied to our client websites, regular full site and database backups are taken and stored in 3 secure offsite locations, website uptime is monitored 24/7 and many many other important and valuable features.
We expect to hear from the few that don’t sometime in the near future…
What should my WordPress website maintenance plan include?
There are many providers of WordPress website maintenance/care plans to choose from, and the features, benefits and level of service will vary greatly from one to another and accordingly how much they charge.
As a minimum, you should ensure you have in place a basic plan which provides routine updates to the WordPress core filesystem, themes and plugins.
This at least ensures current security fixes are applied to all elements of your website and will keep it far safer from hackers and unexpected site crashes.
There is no definitive list of requirements or features that must be offered in a maintenance care plan, other than what it is that the specific provider has agreed to deliver for their clients…
…perhaps then we can proceed by highlighting the specific features and benefits of the Mid Sussex Websites ‘Safeguard’ WordPress care plan with the recommendation that you settle for nothing less for your website from your own chosen care plan provider!
There are four main areas of concern that are addressed by ‘Safeguard’
- Critical Updates
- Site Backups
- Security & Monitoring
- Support & Development
And as a value added bonus, Reporting
WordPress Core, Theme & Plugin Updates
All WordPress Core updates are regularly performed, from routine maintenance fixes and minor version and feature updates to major version updates.
These updates are applied in a common sense fashion, with minor updates being applied upon release and major updates at a point in time that they are considered robust and stable.
Website functionality and stability is thoroughly checked subsequent to updates being applied.
Peace of mind that your WordPress website is being kept up to date and running smoothly.
Complete Website & Database Backups
Daily database backups and weekly full website backups are taken to ensure as quick a recovery as possible in the event disaster strikes your website.
All backups are held for 90 days in 3 separate locations, Google Drive, Amazon S3 and locally on our own hardware.
It’s when things come out of left field and leave a site unavailable that website owners appreciate that their backup is only marginally less important than their pulse!
Security & Monitoring
Your Site Security & Uptime Monitored 24/7
The core code of WordPress is inherently secure, the team at WordPress take security very seriously and have a well defined and tested process for managing potential vulnerabilities.
Typically it is the fabulous extensibility of the platform that often is the root cause of problems, plugins allow us to achieve amazing things with our websites, but if not kept up to date they are the most likely weak link in the chain.
The routine updates provided by ‘Safeguard’ limit the exposure to serious issues, but nothing is 100% secure, but to tighten things down that little bit further, the plan also includes…
- User Account Security (where applicable)
- User Login Security (where applicable)
- User Registration Security (where applicable)
- Database Security
- File System Security
- Whitelist/Blacklist IP Address/ranges
- Web Firewall
- Brute Force Attack Prevention
- Malware & Security Scanning
- Front-end Text Copy Protection
- & Many more enhanced security features to protect your website
Support & Development
Technical Support, Website Edits, Site Development
To help our web design clients maintain the best possible website for their businesses and site visitors, we offer 1 hour of support per month with their ‘Safeguard’ plans.
This is time that can be allocated to whatever tasks they wish, whether that be general website content updates, technical support or anything else for that matter that Mid Sussex Websites can help with!
Monthly Safeguard Activity Reports
Safeguard delivers a monthly report to illustrate all updates and additional security activity on your website during the month.
Hopefully this article has helped you to understand just why it is important that your website is routinely maintained, just as a car will eventually fail if left un-loved, so will your website.
In addition you should now have a good sense of what to expect from your WordPress website maintenance package.
Of course, given the time and expertise, you can yourself attend to the maintenance requirements of your own website.
You don’t have to pay for this level of comfort and peace of mind if you have the skills to put in place your own maintenance tasks list and schedule.
In the interests of keeping every WordPress website as safe as possible…
…we would be only too pleased to offer advice or answer any questions that you may have on this topic…
…don’t hesitate to make contact at any time!