If you’re a business owner, you likely already know your website needs looking after. But do you know exactly what needs doing? And why?
In this article, we’re giving you a run-down of everything you need to know about website maintenance. Including why it matters.
In basic terms, website maintenance is what keeps your website up and running. For instance, it can include updating plugins, backups, WordPress core updates, and security monitoring. A well-maintained site:
- functions properly,
- has the latest info,
- AND is secure.
It means you’re safe, and your customers are looked after, too.
And why does website maintenance matter? Because if you don’t do it, you’re left with a slow-running site that’s full of outdated content and broken links. Ouch. No one’s gonna stick around for long on a website like that. And worse, a website that’s not maintained properly leaves you open to cyber-attack.
Convinced? Great. Let’s get into the detail.
Why is WordPress website maintenance important?
Safe as houses: maintenance keeps your website secure
Did you know that outdated WordPress websites account for a massive 44% of hacks? An updated website is far more secure. That’s because hackers get to know about security vulnerabilities in old coding, and they’ll make use of that knowledge to access your site. If your website hasn’t had regular updates to patch potential problems, it’s far easier for hackers to get in.
In other words, when your website’s outdated, you’re leaving yourself open to attack. Maintenance helps protect your site and your data.
High performance: keep your website at the top of its game
If your website visitors experience broken links, features that don’t work, or slow loading times, they’ll quickly head off to one of your competitors.
Maintenance plans can improve your website’s performance. They prevent or fix broken pages, make sure everything’s functioning properly, and keep your site fast and responsive. That’s a weight off your mind, right?
Backup plan: give your website a safety net
Working on your site and accidentally break something? It’s something every business owner dreads. Without expert knowledge, how can you sort out the mess and get things back the way you want them?
A good WordPress web maintenance plan (like one with Potion Web Studio) will have a backup at the ready. So if you make a mistake, we can get you back on your feet right away – phew!
What does a WordPress website maintenance plan actually do?
Every WordPress web maintenance plan’s different, but typically you’ll see…
Updates to WordPress core, themes, and plugins
Keeping WordPress core up to date is key to maintaining a secure website that runs smoothly. All the themes and plugins need to be kept current too, so they continue to get along together and work properly.
Updates are the foundation of maintaining a well-functioning WordPress site – without them, your site just won’t perform. And it won’t be secure.
A good web maintenance plan will check for the latest updates daily, and update everything that needs updating.
Don’t get us wrong, though, it’s not as simple as clicking a button. For example, if you simply update all plugins at once, it can cause issues on your website. This is quite common and not something to be concerned about (we website developers are well accustomed to it!), but it does usually require an expert to figure out what plugin has caused the issue and fix it.
Regular WordPress website backups
Your WordPress site needs to be backed up to protect you from disaster.
Onsite backup means you keep a copy of all your data, so you can restore it if there’s a problem.
But don’t forget offsite backup, too. Having a recent copy of your site held on a separate server is essential – it protects you if the whole server goes down. And if a catastrophe happens – like a hack – an offsite backup will make it quicker to get you – ahem – back up and running again.
When you’re looking for a WordPress web maintenance plan, choose one with both onsite and offsite backup to give you the very best protection.
Monitoring website speed and performance
Keeping an eye on your WordPress site’s speed and performance means picking up on problems that’ll put potential customers off.
Sites slow down if your hosting doesn’t match the level of traffic you’re getting, or if there’s a problem with your caching or Content Delivery Network (CDN). Because when a site gets slower, your visitors get bored and switch up to a competitor, instead of you. Bad news.
Plus, Google notices your site speed, too. You don’t want to get lost in the search results just because your website’s gotten a little old and creaky.
Make sure your WordPress website maintenance plan offers regular speed and performance measuring as standard. That way, you can keep optimising your site to give your visitors the best experience, so they stay with you for longer.
Cybercrime is on the rise. You need to know your security is top-notch to protect your website, your customers and your business.
A web maintenance plan should include security checks to look for any vulnerabilities in your software and plugins that could allow hackers in.
Google Analytics integration
As you make updates to your site, you’ll need to know you’re getting the right outcomes. Integrated Google Analytics allows you to track the trends to see what’s working AND where you need to make improvements.
When Google Analytics is included in a WordPress web maintenance plan, all the info you need is combined in one cohesive place – rather than spread between different agencies. It means you can be more strategic with your decisions, so you get better outcomes.
Best practices for doing your own WordPress website maintenance
Even if you know enough about web development to build your website yourself, doing your own WordPress web maintenance is difficult.
Unless you’re a specialist, a small investment in getting an expert to maintain it is well worth it. Apart from the fact that you’re too busy running your business to keep your website as up-to-date as a pro would, an expert has the latest knowledge to keep your site secure, fast and functional.
This is especially true if there’s data stored on your site. There are loads of bad guys out there wanting to breach your systems, so when it comes to data, you can’t be too careful.
But if you really want to do your own web maintenance…
Still want to do your own WordPress web maintenance? Buckle up, this is what you need to do:
Create a maintenance schedule
You’ll need to schedule updates and backups yourself. Make updates every week, and carry out a daily backup of both your site and your data.
Choose a reliable web host
Research and choose a web host you can trust. Make sure you get an SSL certificate with your hosting – it’s a security certificate that enables encryption. You’ll know when a site has a valid SSL certificate because the web address shows up as “https”. Why does it matter? It keeps your customers safe when they enter sensitive info, like payment details.
Monitor website analytics
Set up Google Analytics and search console. Monitor your traffic numbers, where your traffic’s coming from, and any new backlinks (links from other sites to your website).
Track the data regularly – monthly is best – plotting the trends. That way, you can see whether your site’s performing the way you need.
Write a comprehensive checklist of all the tasks that should be included in your website maintenance routine
And make sure you carry out your web maintenance tasks religiously.
If you get behind on website maintenance, you’re neglecting your site and leaving yourself open to attack. Things’ll slow down, and you’ll lose the trust of your customers – especially if you don’t have that security certificate we mentioned.
Feeling overwhelmed yet?
Best practices for a WordPress website maintenance plans provider
Decided you need professional support with web maintenance after all? Good decision. Now you’ve just got to find the right WordPress support and maintenance service.
Luckily, that’s simple.
Think about the kind of support you need, and whether you want any additional services, like WooCommerce reporting. Once you know what you need, research web maintenance providers who might be able to help. Look for a supplier who specializes in WordPress – they’ll have more in-depth knowledge to serve your site.
It’s also handy to be geographically near to your web maintenance provider – it means you can build a great working relationship. At Potion Web Studio, we work with businesses in San Diego, so if you’re nearby, come and grab a coffee with us or connect with us online, no matter where you are in the world .
Don’t neglect your WordPress web maintenance support
Regular maintenance keeps your site safe and performing the way you want. Think of it like changing the oil or replacing the tires on your car; it’ll perform better and keep you safer.
So if you’re responsible for a website, whether as a business owner or a web designer, create and implement a regular WordPress website maintenance routine. Use our outline above to make sure you haven’t left anything out.
But if it’s all too daunting or time-consuming, don’t worry. We get it, and we’re here to help. Take a look at our WordPress maintenance and support plans to see how we can keep your website in top condition. So you can relax.