By the end of 2022, WordPress will be the world’s most popular content management system for 12 years running. CRM software site, Hubspot, says currently, 43.2 percent of all websites on the Internet use the platform. There are several reasons for that.
If you don’t know code or you’re not a web designer or developer, WordPress has got you covered. It’s easy to use and it’s versatile. Whether you run a blog or a business, WordPress can be customized to do anything you need it to with thousands of plugins and themes. It’s free which, to any budget-conscious business owner, is the sweet sound of money staying in their pockets. WordPress’ open-source code means it can be tweaked and optimized for individual performance.
The Thing About WordPress
There is a tradeoff for all this functionality. Because almost half of the Internet uses WordPress, it’s a popular target for hackers. Most of the vulnerabilities they exploit are in those very plugins and themes. Plus, WordPress has lots of moving parts that can get broken over time.
Why You Need A WordPress Maintenance Plan
You’ve only done half the work once your website is up and running. Having a regular program of maintenance afterward safeguards it and its users. It’s a solid investment sure to bring returns.
In the US, more than a quarter of all business conducted is done online now and that figure is projected to go up to 95 percent by 2040. On top of this, 55 percent of online shoppers check product and service reviews before they buy, with 47 percent of these going to the company website before they make a decision.
Having a site that goes down because you neglected to do preventative maintenance can cost you goodwill and new customers. Below are the major threats your WordPress site could face.
Hackers Can Compromise The Security Of Your Site
Did you know your customers’ credit card information could be skimmed by a tiny bit of code embedded into your website? You wouldn’t even know the code was there. Failing that, a brute force attack using AI could steal the password to your site giving a hacker administrative access.
These are two of the more nightmarish scenarios involving hacker attacks. But even less serious incursions, such as page defacement, can result in embarrassment, loss of reputation, and customer trust.
The hackers’ way in? In most cases, it’s through WordPress plugins and themes and to a lesser extent, WordPress’ core code. There are vulnerabilities in each that hackers exploit. To stop this, you need a planned schedule of regular updates.
Both WordPress and the developers of the plugins and themes you use provide improved versions of their software in which vulnerabilities are patched. By regularly updating your plugins and your WordPress version you plug the security holes hackers can use to get you.
It Optimizes Your Site’s Performance
There’s lots of talk about User Experience or UX these days. So much so that the average business owner tends to be confused or intimidated by it.
If you were one of your customers or readers, how would you feel about your own site? What would you tell others about it? That, in essence, is user experience.
This is the sum total of encounters people have when using your site. Even if you have products and services they want, they may find the site hard to navigate or find the design off-putting. There may be elements on the site that make it slow to load or even broken links that take them to the dreaded 404 error message.
A WordPress maintenance plan would catch any of these problems early. This way, the broken elements can be resolved and your site can function the way it was meant to.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this. A visitor who decides to check out a competitor because they had a bad user experience may never return to give you a second chance.
You improve your site’s SEO
If a website is published on the Internet and it doesn’t appear in Google’s top search rankings, does it exist?
The best SEO for a site is a moving target. While your page may be properly optimized today, that standard is going to change over time.
What Google needs to keep your page at the top shifts. It requires fresh, original content that answers people’s search queries. It requires quality backlinks for credibility. It also now prioritizes the mobile capabilities of your site. Your site will be ranked higher if it’s mobile-friendly.
A regularly scheduled WordPress maintenance plan helps you in several ways here. Through periodic review, you’ll know what are the best keywords to rank for your content topic and update. You can check to see if your backlinks are helping or hurting your ranking and adjust accordingly. You can also install plugins that enhance mobile users’ experience of your site.
You know when your site is up and running
A maintenance plan will help you avoid downtime. Downtime is any period when your website is not working.
As a website owner, the number of hours you can check this yourself is limited. Sometimes, the first time you know a site isn’t running properly is when customers call to complain.
Uptime monitoring actively and passively monitors your site for a list of problems and reports when they occur. This is beneficial because customers always have access to your site.
What should a WordPress Maintenance Plan Do?
When you start looking for a maintenance plan, make sure that the company that you’re thinking of hiring doesn’t just host your website. It’s important to make this distinction.
Many business owners assume maintenance is included in a hosting package, but this isn’t always the case.
A host’s only obligation is to store your website data. With a maintenance plan, you can continually optimize its performance and function. Elements that a plan should include are:
- Checking for malware
- Monitoring WordPress’ core code
- Updating plugins and themes
- Having solid customer support
- Backing up the website
- Performance monitoring
- Database management
- Uptime/downtime monitoring
- Security monitoring
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list and what your website will need may differ from another company’s.
Ultimately, a WordPress maintenance plan is important because of the peace of mind it offers. Your customers can trust that their data is safe and they’ll have a positive experience while using your site and doing business with you.
With the growing importance of online business, with a secure and optimized website, you’re poised to capture your share.