Maintaining your WordPress website is critical to ensure it is always up-to-date, functioning properly, and that if something were to happen to cause a website failure it could be brought back up quickly and efficiently.
Why do I need a Monthly Maintenance Package?
The most important part of website maintenance is ensuring that your website is updated and backed up, and that security checks are being performed routinely. If these are not being done, your website runs the risk of crashing or being taken over with malware, at which point it would be very costly to hire someone to fix it. Worst case, you may lose your website completely and need to build a new one which can cause business interruptions, loss of critical data, and loss of customers.
A website is a piece of software, and needs updates and patches much like your computer or phone’s operating systems and applications. Security updates are constantly pushed out in order to keep everything secure. If an update goes unnoticed for too long, your website may start losing functionality, break, or even be compromised. You must do everything you can to prevent those things from happening, and if something were to happen, be prepared to fix it immediately with minimal down time.
The Big 3: WordPress Updates | Website Backups | Security Checks
1. WordPress Updates
There are three primary types of crucial updates that your site will need; the WordPress CMS itself, theme updates, and plugin updates. It’s important these updates are made periodically since they are usually released to fix/update security issues. Not updating them leaves your website vulnerable to attacks. You may think “who would even want to take the time to attack my small business website?” but you would be surprised how often it happens. Generally, these attacks are in the form of bots that attack millions of sites at once, looking for known vulnerabilities such as outdated plugins and security utilities.
While you can enable auto updates for most WordPress features, these as updates can cause your site to break due to incompatibilities and bugs in the patches and new features. A review and maintenance strategy are critical to make sure everything is operating smoothly.
2. Website Backups
You need to make sure your website and its database is being backed up monthly at a minimum. If you actively change and update your site, it may be necessary to create backups more frequently, possibly even daily. Backups are simply a saved copy of your website that can be used if the primary site ends up getting malware or crashing. It is very important to have quick access to backups so you can publish them as needed to have as little downtime as possible.
3. Security Checks
Security scans are necessary to catch malware and potential vulnerabilities that may be hiding in your website’s files. Make sure you are performing security scans periodically, if not daily, before a bigger issue results in the loss of capital and hard work. Imagine you have implemented regular backups but not security checks, and malware has been hiding in your files for months. Well, now you have a months’ worth of backups that have that malware in them, so they are useless unless you can pinpoint the malware and delete it manually.
WordPress already has some core security features in place, but it is worthwhile to look into additional security checks with notifications for insurance. With something as important as your website, don’t take any chances.
Added Benefits to Having a WordPress Maintenance Package.
4. Customer Service
With a maintenance package, you don’t have to worry about anything. By hiring an expert to make sure your website is in good health, you can have total peace of mind. If anything happens that you are unsure about, you have a point of contact you can reach out to for help.
5. Up-time Monitoring
Configuring an up-time monitor to get email/text/phone notifications whenever your website is down can be very important, especially if you have a website that is being visited frequently. Often, short periods of downtime result from the host performing standard updates, but it could also be a number of more critical issues. By utilizing a WordPress maintenance package from a professional web company, you can save yourself a lot of worrying since they will investigate and remedy any issues that may arise.
6. Malware Removal
Some maintenance packages may include malware removal. This service provides added assurance that your website is always being monitored and taken care of if any vulnerabilities present themselves.
7. Crash Protection
Your plan may also include crash protection. This means that if your website does crash, you and your maintenance provider be notified and the maintenance team will start working on getting your website running right away without the need to submit a ticket. While this may sound similar to the Up-time Monitor, the difference is that the Up-time Monitor will only provide notifications, while Crash Protection means that a team will take remedial action immediately.
8. Daily Performance Monitoring
Daily performance monitoring is important if your website has a high number of visitors or if you just want to ensure your visitors have short load times. PM provides insight on the entire website’s performance, including where it could use improvement and where its performing well. Your maintenance package may not address these issues but at least you can keep an eye on your performance and address any new issues that may arise.
9. Broken Link Repair
Broken link repair can be very useful if you are updating pages often or adding new ones. Sometimes you may want to update an old page and its URL, or maybe a link in one of your blog posts is no longer active. Broken link repair services will monitor your website for broken links so that your maintenance team can fix any that are identified. Not only are broken links annoying for your users, Google and other search engines can lower your websites ranking if it has any broken links that produce a” 404 Page Not Found” error.
10. Maintenance Tickets
Some companies may include Maintenance Tickets in their WordPress maintenance packages. This is usually an added benefit that covers work outside the normal package service offering. Website crashes or glitches happen all the time for any number of reasons and having this additional monthly benefit can be very valuable, saving time and money.
11. Small Jobs
You may see Small Jobs included in your maintenance package. This is usually some sort of small page update like a text change or job posting that takes less than 15 minutes. This is another great cost saving benefit that takes additional work off of you.
12. Publishing Jobs
Do you post a blog each month? This may be a feature you want to pay a little more for to save you time and money. For dedicated blog services, you may have to hire someone at an hourly rate of up to $100/hr to simply publish content on the site. If you see this as an option in a maintenance plan, consider it carefully since the benefits could be huge for a content-heavy organization.
Not worth the risk.
Overall, it’s just not worth the risk to your website and your business to forgo updates, backups, and security checks. If you do decide to take on the website maintenance yourself make extra sure that you are handling the “big 3”.
Your website is your business and your livelihood.
Because of the importance of a company website today, most of the time it’s just better to hire outside help to handle things like maintenance. This allows you to focus on the business itself, without worrying about your website’s health. Most companies that handle WordPress maintenance are experts who are very familiar with the platform, so they know exactly how to keep your website running efficiently at all times.