WordPress in 2021
In 2021, your businesses’ website is incredibly crucial towards your overall brand and is almost as important as your business’ actual location, as it serves as the public face and window into what you do and how you differentiate yourself from the competition.
As a conscientious decision maker, you will have done your due diligence when deciding to use WordPress as the website content management system. Being a WordPress user, you are not alone!
WordPress is the most popular website content management system in the world and a choice pick for some of the largest global brands and companies. Among those who use WordPress are such notable names as: The Walt Disney Company, Time Inc, The New York Times, Marks & Spencer’s, The Rolling Stones, Mercedes-Benz and many more.
The current estimate is that WordPress serves as the base for over 40% of all websites on the internet, including those that have a non-CMS-driven website or those with a CMS that has been customised.
Alternatively, you can think of it as WordPress powering around one-third of the internet! That’s a crazy number and its market share grows even further if you restrict the data set to only websites using a known CMS.
Since this is the case, WordPress now holds a 64% market share for content management systems on websites having a known CMS.
Although setting up a WordPress website is straightforward, you should not approach it as a simple “set it and forget it.” If you are utilising WordPress as the content management platform for your website, it is vital that you have a WordPress Maintenance Plan to support it!
You definitely don’t want to be among the website owners who are learning this lesson the hard way.
Why Do You Need A WordPress Maintenance Plan?
Despite being simple and straightforward to use, below its surface appearance WordPress is a somewhat complicated database-driven system with a significant amount of underlying source code.
The truth is that WordPress websites need regular maintenance to be able to constantly operate in a stable, secure, and in good functioning manner, much like any other programme.
The functions an effective WordPress Maintenance Plan brings include:
Prevention of Virus’, Hacker and Bot Intrusions
Due to WordPress being widely used (especially by web hosts and webmasters, who deploy it on an incredibly large number of websites), it’s a popular target for hackers, malware, bots, and other malicious actors in the digital realm.
In fact, the attempts made on WordPress websites are notably high. Roughly 90% of all the hacked content management systems (CMSs) Sucuri investigated and helped fix in 2018 were WordPress sites. In a distant second, third, and fourth came Magento (4.6%), Joomla (4.3%), and Drupal (3.7%), according to a report the company published.
Envisage that at some point you discover your site has been infected with malware and is therefore unsafe. An even worse scenario could be that a hacker has taken control of your site, stealing your client’s information, defacing your website, or even both. This would severely damage your business’ brand and reputation for a long time to come.
Fortunately, by using an effective WordPress Maintenance Plan, your website security will be regularly updated, with any potential breaches being covered.
Keeping your Website Up To Date is the First Preventative Measure You Can Take
Since WordPress is updated frequently, there are many release updates that are created every month to improve the security and speed of the platform.
It is critical that your WordPress website continues to be well-maintained in order to keep your website secure. Both the core code and any plugins you may be using must be updated frequently.
On top of this any functionality which may not be working as intended, such a contact form fill outs can be addressed quickly, and solutions made within hours of the error being highlighted.
A WordPress Maintenance Plan will periodically update your WordPress website and its plugins to make sure your site has the latest security updates in place, and this will dramatically reduce your vulnerability to typical assaults. Ignoring these updates will inevitably leave your system exposed.
A Well-Maintained Website Equates to Excellent User Experience.
You not only have to take security aspects into mind, but you should also think about the fact that the vast majority of WordPress sites use plugins provided and maintained by third-party providers.
When a plugin developer updates their plugin, issues can arise with the next WordPress update, especially if the developer does not take the time to check and verify that the new update is compatible with the old one.
Therefore, plugin users who stay up to date with new WordPress releases should always ensure both the WordPress core version and any plugins are kept current and a Web Maintenance Plan Developer would perform testing after each update to ensure that nothing breaks, and that performance does not suffer in a way that impacts end users.
To provide a good experience for your site visitors, you should make a good effort to deliver a nice user experience. If poorly maintained sites with broken links, mistakes, and warnings, or a lack of speed, are viewed by relevant traffic, this will aggravate the patience of these visitors, who are used to quick internet service.
A dedicated web developer would be able to monitor both website speed and mobile optimisation to ensure the loading times and appearance of a site are held to a reasonable standard.
If there is an issue, they can notify you quickly to have the issue resolved and minimise any potential negative exposure to your user base.
While no single action is sufficient to maintain a favourable image, a WordPress maintenance plan is essential to help your visitors leave your site with a good impression of your business.
Maintenance Plans can help your SEO
SEO is ever changing and one of the best ways to ensure your website will keep climbing the search pages rankings or remain competitive on the first page of Google is by conducting regular audits. These would check keywords, meta descriptions and the optimisation of a website – flagging any potential areas for improvement or errors requiring a fix.
This can have a significant impact in your websites, and indeed business’ long-term performance, as key changes as implemented SEO practices have to be registered by bots in order to evaluate SERP placement.
If any negative SEO is removed and replace early on with better addons then your sites rankings, exposure and potential lead generation will increase. This would provide a significant return on investment for the maintenance plan.
Major Updates Will Not Take Your Website Down
If you are rolling out a new update on a website, implementing minor, or even making a completer redesign of specific pages or sections, then ideally your business does not need to suffer downtime which could reduce your overall revenue, especially for eCommerce websites.
The way to avoid this is by having a test site platform which would allow all major changes or updates to occur and then transition to a live version only when your Web Developer is satisfied there are no issues.
This would come as standard in a Maintenance Plan and offers a lot more flexibility in making live changes.
What Should A Quality WordPress Maintenance Plan Include?
A good WordPress Maintenance Plan should be carried out by a certified web developer, someone with experience in the technical running of a website, and not purely by a website designer who is running a plan as a ‘bolt-on’.
Having such an individual running the maintenance of your website would only result in significant oversights which would cause the negative consequences mentioned earlier.
Under a Maintenance Plan a competent Web Developer ought to:
- Carry out regular updates for WordPress core version releases and plugin updates, with quality assurance testing done after each update to ensure functionality and experience have not been affected.
- Troubleshoot any conflicts or errors on your website when they arise.
- Ensure all online security best practices have been implemented to prevent potential threats from penetrating your site. This may cover continuous monitoring and protection against spam, malware, unauthorized logins, and other malicious attempts.
- Guarantee that your site is adequately secured with a legitimate SSL Certificate.
- Create ongoing, automatic backups in case your site ever needs to be restored in the case of disaster or data loss. Ideally, you will have incremental (e.g. daily/weekly/monthly) redundant backups stored in multiple locations (e.g. a backup drive, as well as offsite cloud storage).
- A properly maintained server/hosting environment with current and secure versions of Apache, PHP, and MySQL, properly configured SSL certificates, security firewall, and other best practices for server maintenance.
- To guarantee that your WordPress website is configured for optimal performance, including best practises such as page caching and image compression, you should employ performance optimization. Search-engine optimization and quick website performance are in the same ballpark when it comes to the benefit for the user.
- Be a dedicated resource who is familiar with the site, has access to all necessary administrative documentation and permissions, and who can assume responsibility for maintaining, and, if necessary, restoring the site, while also responding to on-demand needs in a timely fashion.
- Any unused support time in the course of a plan should be rolled over into the next payment period meaning that if a major IT disaster does occur it will not cause a huge blow to your accounts.
- Finally, the plan they utlise must be proactive and provide ongoing, forward thinking guidance to protect your website and your business on an ongoing basis.
Finding the time to manage your website properly can be difficult, especially if you have a family or you are on your travels! Book a call with me now to find out how I can ease the burden of website maintenance.