Why WordPress Maintenance Is Crucial For Site Longevity
Adding WordPress maintenance to your list of services could boost client loyalty and add recurring revenue. Make sure you communicate the benefits and value of these plans early on in a project.
Website owners may think they can handle these tasks themselves with automated software, but it’s impossible to automate all of the many aspects of a well-performing site.
Importance of Updates
There are a number of reasons why you should make it a priority to update WordPress regularly. The most important reason is security. Hackers are constantly trawling through open source software like WordPress to find ways to break into websites. They’re always looking for outdated sites to target, as they know they’ll have less security protections. Updating your site means that the talented development community at WordPress and plugin developers are sifting through the code to fix any issues they find.
Another reason is that updates often come with performance improvements. Software developers are always striving to create a faster experience for website visitors. This might include reducing the amount of time that it takes to load your website, or improving the way that complex queries are processed by the server. These updates can have a real impact on your site’s performance and your customers’ experience.
Keeping your website up to date will also help your customers feel confident that you are engaged with your brand. Having a website that is always behind on the latest technology can send a message to your customers that you don’t care about your business or their experience. This can damage your reputation and lead to trust issues down the line.
Lastly, many themes and plugins need to be updated together with WordPress in order for your website to function properly. Failing to update your plugins and themes can result in your site crashing or breaking. Usually, when this happens, you’ll be greeted with the dreaded “White Screen of Death” on your site. This is why we recommend setting your WordPress dashboard to automatically install minor updates and only manually update your theme and plugins when significant changes are released.
Security and Vulnerability Prevention
WordPress is very popular with hackers and there are always new ways to exploit it. Many security issues can be prevented by keeping your site up to date and following best practices. Hackers are looking for any crack in your site’s armor, and outdated plugins or themes can be a prime target. Outdated versions of WordPress core, themes and plugins harbor countless vulnerabilities that can be patched with a simple update.
In addition to bolstering security, updating everything regularly also improves your site’s performance. A slow site frustrates visitors and can make them less likely to interact with your business.
Checking the file permissions on both your site installation and web server is another essential part of a WordPress maintenance plan. If the permissions are too loose, a hacker can easily gain access to your site and wreak havoc. The same goes for tightening up security by making sure the passwords to your site’s administrative area and backups are strong and hard to guess.
Finally, checking for cross browser compatibility is important to ensure your site works correctly on multiple devices and platforms. Using sites like BrowserShots or BrowserStack is a great way to get an accurate idea of how your site looks and behaves across all popular browsers and devices.
Finally, removing old drafts, spam comments, settings from uninstalled but undeleted plugins and other unwanted data can help keep your site database clean and optimized. This, in turn, can speed up your website’s loading time. A fast-loading site can be a game changer when it comes to converting customers. A well-maintained WordPress site is a must for businesses that want to attract and engage their audience online.
Website Performance Optimization
A slow website can cost you valuable conversions, not to mention the frustration and loss of brand loyalty that results from a one-second delay in load time. With this in mind, it’s important to offer your clients a well-rounded set of WordPress care plans that includes website performance optimization services like:
Regular updates (for core and plugins) with quality assurance testing after each update. Regular scans to detect malware and other potential threats. Backups that can be quickly restored in the event of a disaster or security compromise.
Optimizing your site’s speed is also essential for a high-quality user experience, as it is one of the most significant ranking factors in SEO. This includes optimizing images and fonts, using caching tools, and using a server with fast uptime. It’s also important to monitor your site’s performance with tools like PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals, which help to connect the dots between various aspects of site speed and the end-user experience.
Keeping your database clean is another critical part of site performance, as it can become overloaded with old revisions and other unused information over time. Using a database cleaner plugin and doing a manual checkup every month is an easy way to ensure your clients’ websites are always running at peak performance.
Other things to consider include minimizing plugins, minifying CSS and JS files (which makes them smaller by combining them), and setting up lazy loading so that high-priority images load first, while lower-priority ones are loaded as they scroll down. Finally, making sure your hosting provider is reliable and offering 24/7 support is a big part of the overall maintenance picture. Many of these tasks are not technically challenging, but they can be time-consuming and complex to keep up with on a regular basis.
Regular Backups and Disaster Recovery
If your client’s website is hacked, they could lose valuable customer data or experience site-wide downtime – all of which can seriously damage their brand. Regular backups can protect them against this type of risk by restoring their website back to its previous state. Backups also provide an important safety net for websites that are experiencing issues that cannot be fixed.
A good WordPress maintenance plan should include automated daily backups of the entire website as well as a manual backup capability before updating any key components. A reliable backup solution should also offer redundancy by storing multiple copies of the site in different locations.
Plugin and theme developers roll out periodic updates to their products that often contain security patches and other improvements. These changes may break aspects of the website if not tested in a hidden staging environment first. A quality maintenance plan should ensure that all plugins and themes are updated safely before making any changes to the live website.
Slow sites lead to poor user experiences and low search engine rankings, so it is critical for any web developer to have a solid website performance optimization strategy. A good WordPress maintenance plan should regularly test the speed of the client’s site using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights and recommend improvements where needed.
WordPress is an amazing platform for creating powerful and customizable websites, but it is crucial to have a comprehensive maintenance plan in place to keep the site running smoothly and securely. By including the essential services outlined above, you can provide your clients with a superior maintenance service that will help them get the most out of their website.
Professional Support and Troubleshooting
Unless your clients are experienced developers themselves, they probably don’t know much about what goes into keeping their website running at top performance. Adding support and troubleshooting to their WordPress care plan helps them avoid costly mistakes that could affect user experience, search engine ranking or overall site uptime.
You can also offer them database maintenance services, such as a monthly sweep of their websites to clear out old revisions, plugin updates and images that may be slowing their sites down or contributing to incompatibility errors. In addition, you can offer Core Web Vitals monitoring, which monitors metrics like Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay and Cumulative Layout Shift to ensure that their websites deliver a fast and stable user experience.
While there are many WordPress plugins that automate the majority of these tasks, these tools aren’t foolproof and require ongoing oversight to prevent serious issues. Your clients need you to make sure they aren’t missing important steps, such as updating plugins on a schedule or running weekly backups that are kept in a safe place in case of data loss.
Often, clients will be more receptive to your pitch for WordPress care plans when you address them early in the relationship. Instead of waiting until they have spent a significant amount of money on a new site, you should try to introduce these plans during the sales process, so that your clients can see them as an essential service they need rather than an added cost. By demonstrating the value of these plans, you can help your clients avoid costly mistakes that could put their sites at risk. They will be able to focus their time and energy on growing their businesses, while knowing that their online assets are being taken care of.