A website is very much like a car. It needs regular maintenance to keep it safe and on the road.
Cars need regular oil changes and check-ups to keep them moving.
I learned this the hard way, much to my dad’s dismay, in college when I thought those rules didn’t apply to me. The mechanical issues that arose form blowing off my car maintenance ended up costing SO much more to fix than if I had just made time for those oil changes.
Websites work the same way.
Failure to keep your software updated, meaning your WordPress installation, themes and plugins, increases the odds that your website ends up broken or even worse, hacked.
Myth: My beautiful new website looks & works perfectly right now. I can just set it and forget it!
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
WordPress is the most popular CMS on the internet and the bad guys are constantly looking for vulnerable sites to hack. In turn, WordPress core & plugin developers are always releasing updates to keep these bad guys out. And they do a bang up job! A site that is up to date & consistently monitored and backed up is virtually immune to attacks.
Your website is like a living, breathing entity. It will grow over time with fresh content, analytics monitoring and design changes. It is crucial that you have someone making sure all updates to the website are done in a smooth and error-free fashion.
Benefits of Maintenance
Your website’s performance, it’s load time, downtime and uptime, is all dependent on the WordPress software and plugins performing at their peak levels. Page Speed happens to be one of Google’s ranking factors, so it is essential to have a speedy and optimized site to keep ranking highly in search results.
If your website goes down, gets hacked, or even if some parts break, your visitors will go elsewhere for the business they were bringing to you. Missed website issues or downtime can lose you potential customers.
At City Dock Digital, we take great care to first backup a website, and check the website after our updates for any issues. We use a sophisticated system to get notified when your website needs an update and keep a record of all updates so if there is ever an issue, we see what was changed and can revert back to an earlier version. If, in the event we ever catch a plugin issue, it becomes a support ticket and we address it before you ever know there’s a problem.
All of our Site Care Plans include a monthly maintenance report with security scans, performance & site traffic analytics, web optimization and uptime monitoring. Our Premium & Elite Plans also include SEO keyword ranking reports, so that you can see how you’re doing in search results AND support hours so you always have someone in your corner to perform small content updates or site tweaks.
Do It Yourself Maintenance Pitfalls
If you have the time and are technically comfortable, you may elect to perform your updates and backups yourself. That’s great and we encourage you to do so, because someone has to! Here are 5 things to keep in mind if you want to do website updates yourself. There are some pitfalls though…
If you just update from your WordPress admin, you don’t have a record of what was done. If an update to a plugin created an issue a couple weeks later, it would be difficult to know what changed and how you should revert back without restoring a very old backup (and possibly losing content changes, sales orders, contact entries, you name it).
Often a client will believe they were creating backups only to find out they weren’t actually working. Some hosting providers provide daily backups, but they only keep them for 30 days. What if you found a problem that happened more than 30 days ago? If you have a backup, you also have to know how to properly restore it.
Some hosting providers offer automatic plugin updates. But these only work on specific PHP versions and only for free plugins, not premium ones.
“Fixing it” costs more than “Maintaining it”
This is the lesson I learned from not taking in my car for regular maintenance. Major things went “boom” and it was expensive.
Inexperience and neglect can damage the look and functionality of your website. When that happens, you have a choice to make. One, you try and fix it yourself, in which case you may do further damage. Or two, you can then pay the (sometimes hefty) price for someone experienced to fix it. We believe preventing these problems as much as you can is the best way to go.
Rely on a Professional
Hiring us to take care of your website frees up your time to run your business. You probably have enough going on, why add “webmaster” to the many hats you already wear? Trust your site to professionals and avoid downtime and potential lost visitors and sales.