There is this idea that a website once it’s created it can be left alone and everything will work. In theory, you might argue that this is true and that it will work if no one touches anything, but in real life, it doesn’t work like this.
That is why services for website maintenance exists, why people are using uptime monitors for their website, and why updates of WordPress core and plugins are performed, to ensure that the website will continue to work as expected as time goes on.
Maybe you have a simple HMTL website, a presentation page that doesn’t have a whole CMS system in place, you don’t have to perform maintenance, only to change the copyright year on every 1st of January.
WordPress is a much more complex ecosystem, with plugins and themes that are developed by 3rd parties, hosting dedicated to WordPress (that in some cases might automatically make core updates for you and break the site), shops integrated with online payment, and a lot of other moving parts. That’s why maintenance is an important part of using WordPress.
Here are the main reasons why you should start performing maintenance on your WordPress site.
Better user experience
Consistency is key for your visitors/clients. When they access your website they expect to have the same experience each time.
Things should work, buttons can be clicked, menus open, contact forms provide feedback and are sent correctly, images load, the search function works, and so on.
By performing maintenance you’re making sure that the visitor gets the best experience while visiting your site. A better user experience converts into engagement and sales.
Fewer errors on the site
Maintenance should be done on a constant basis. I talked about this in a previous article dedicated to WordPress maintenance where I mention that the most important things about maintenance are to do it frequently and to use a checklist.
If you check your site regularly you have a much better chance of catching an error before a visitor or customer has to report it to you. When errors are present on your site, the user experience is ruined and it can cost your business money.
Imagine you have a broken checkout cart for 2 weeks and you didn’t notice it because you never actually checked the site in detail from time to time.
Improve website speed
Performance is also part of website maintenance. Doing your weekly checks you should run a performance test on your most visited pages and compare the results from week to week.
This way you have a track record of how the site performance changed while you added or removed features. Small website performance tasks should be performed from time to time, like image optimization, checking the caching system, optimizing other assets available, and so on.
Secure your website
Keep your site updated as much as possible. WordPress core updates are the most important ones, they usually are packed with security fixes. You can always read the change log provided for each version to find out what is new.
Make sure your plugins are also updated and compatible with the WordPress version you’re running.
Check the security plugin logs and reports, they contain information about failed login attempts, spam, brute force attacks, and more. Based on those logs you might decide to change a username, password, or block a specific IP/country to prevent attacks.
Keep Content updated
No one wants to see outdated info when searching for something. Articles, product descriptions, reference links, and documentation, all need to be updated from time to time or checked to see if they still present relevant information.
This makes your site trustworthy and clients can rely on the information you provide.
This one relates to keeping your content updated. By checking on your performance for the most popular articles you can improve the content and see what keywords are working for the content you’re providing.
Tools like Google Search Console can help you narrow down the keywords used for finding your website, while other specialized SEO tools can help you run reports on the current content you have.
Integrating this into your maintenance can help you improve organic traffic.
I can’t think of something scarier than a website going down with no backup available. Sure, there might be a private GitHub repository with your theme, plugin, etc., but if you don’t have a full backup to restore the site to a previous working version, you’re in serious trouble.
No matter how big or small your site is, if it’s a store or just a presentation site, you should have a backup system in place. At least one working at the server level. Ideally, you should have an off-site backup place where everything is safe and easy to access in case your main site goes down.
Check that your backups are created on schedule.
Monitoring and tracking
You might be using tracking codes for analytics purposes. Make sure the code is registering the visits and the conversions correctly. If you run a bigger operation, a shop, the marketing team will rely on the conversion rates generated by the tracking code and report based on that.
Test the conversion triggers.
I hope the reasons above make it clear how important is WordPress maintenance and why you should have it higher on your list when it comes to your online business.
If your business is growing and you realize that you need professional help, don’t hesitate to contact us for WordPress maintenance services.