The Importance of Ongoing WordPress Maintenance for a Healthy Website

The Importance of Maintaining Your WordPress Website

WordPress is one of the fastest growing content management systems available today, powering almost 30% of all sites on the internet and making up 60% of all sites that use a content management system. Some of the most famous companies in the world utilize this powerful tool for their own sites including: The New York Times, People Magazine, National Geographic, Forbes and even Snoop Dogg.

Since the technology behind WordPress and all the awesome third party integrations available are ever-evolving, keeping your site up to date with regular updates and maintenance is an absolute necessity.

Keeping your site current with the latest WordPress version, theme, and plugins can keep your site running smoothly, minimize the risks of security breaches, and maximize usability and performance for your customers. In fact, at Dohmain Designs we feel that maintenance is SO important to both your business AND your visitors that we will actually refuse to build a website if the owner indicates they have no intention of maintaining the site.

The Components of a WordPress Website

When talking about maintenance, it’s important to understand the different pieces that make up a WordPress site.

  • WordPress Core files
  • Theme
  • Plugins

Because each of these three components are updated independently by their original developer, there are updates available pretty much on a daily basis. While most of these updates are to improve things like functionality or to correct minor bugs, many of these updates are to patch an identified security threat that could potentially allow unwanted access to your site – a hack.

What Happens if Your Don’t Update Your WordPress Website?

Many small business owners try to roll the dice and take a chance by NOT updating their sites in order to save a few bucks a year, and most will end in some sort a catastrophic result. When sites aren’t maintained they might die a slow and painful death with slow or poor functionality until they just no longer work one day. Or you might just go to visit your site one day and see the “white screen of death”, an error message or this:

Malware Warning Notice for sites not routinely maintained

When a site is compromised, hosting companies will often put up a notice like this when a user tries to visit your site.

Getting Hacked – a Costly Nuisance

The fact that your site gets hacked and is pain to clean up is merely the first layer of this extreme nuisance. The second, and even more important, aspect is that if Google discovers your site has been hacked they may pull your website completely from search results and pretend you never existed until you can verify that your site is clean. Depending on the level of your security breach, this could mean a total domain name compromise that takes months to recover from, not to mention potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees to security experts to fix the problem, and severe damage to your business reputation.

Signs you've been hacked

This is a “PG” selection of a hacked site that had over 4,000 spam links injected into it. The owners were only aware their site had been hacked when they went to visit their website and found their hosting provider had taken their site down.

Finding a WordPress Maintenance Plan that Works for Your Business

Choosing a maintenance plan that is appropriate for your business can be daunting. On one hand, it may be expense that you weren’t prepared for and if you’re a small business just starting out, we all know that every penny counts. On the flipside of that, we’ve also seen businesses that have been talked into plans that are several hundreds of dollars a month that are totally overpriced or overkill for the type of business website they run.

There are many tiers of WordPress maintenance plans available on the market today with prices ranging wildly from $20 per month to well over $1000 per month. So, how do you know how to choose a plan that’s right for you?

WordPress Maintenance – The Essentials

For any WordPress website, regardless of if you’re a recreational blogger to full-scale E-commerce store, you need to ensure at the very minimum your routine website maintenance plan will cover:

  • Regular updates of your WordPress core files, theme, and plugins
  • Regular database and FULL backups of your site (read our article on the importance of having backups)
  • Off-site storage of backups (it’s common to store your backups on your own hosting server, however backups should ALSO be stored off-site to prevent catastrophe in case of a server crash)

WordPress Maintenance Features for Businesses

The majority of professional-level plans for businesses should provide more than the basic essentials. If you want to take the health of your business website seriously, you should consider a plan that has some or all of the following features:

  • Uptime monitoring
  • Monthly reports of maintenance performed
  • Proactive WordPress hardening
  • Brute force attack prevention
  • Security monitoring with notifications
  • Regular malware scanning
  • Real-time backups
  • Service hours

Top Things to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Website Maintenance Plan

  • How often your website is updated
  • How many user accounts you’ll have in the system
  • Whether you’ll allow visitors to create accounts and what type of information you’ll be storing
  • Whether you’ll be selling items or processing payments
  • How important your website is to the success of your business

WordPress Maintenance – Insurance for Your Website

It’s important to remember that that your website is one of the most important pieces of advertising for you business. It identifies you as a professional, attracts potential clients and establishes your credibility in the industry. As such, setting aside a budget to protect this vital investment is of utmost importance to protect the reputation of your business. The question should not be “How much will maintenance cost?” it should be “What will it cost me if I don’t have it?”

Totally Confused About Maintaining Your WordPress Website?

If you need help selecting a WordPress maintenance plan for your website, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Just complete the form below to request a consultation and we will be happy to talk with you about what types of maintenance services would be appropriate for your level of business.

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Jessica Dohm

Jessica Dohm

Founder, Dohmain Designs

About the Author

Jessica is the Director of Digital Marketing and Owner of Dohmain Designs. She is a small business sales and marketing expert specializing in business growth through intelligent website design and sales & marketing automation.

Jessica is a Certified Infusionsoft Partner, marketing automation and CRM expert with over 15 years of professional sales and marketing experience. In 2011, she combined that experience with innovative website design and created Dohmain Designs. She has worked with biotech giants, overseen the digital marketing for a popular Discovery Channel hit TV series, and helped hundreds of clients grow their business. Prior to creating Dohmain Designs, Jessica worked in the fast-paced biotech sector focusing primarily on technical sales and marketing, as well as providing complicated sales-focused CRM training across various disciplines.

Jessica is a member of her local Rotary Club where she has previously served as the Membership co-chair and currently serves as the Public Relations chair. Jessica truly believes in the "Service Above Self" Rotarian philosophy and strives to dedicate her time and talents to helping others, both in her personal and professional relationships.

She is located in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and works with clients all across North America. If you'd like to get in touch with Jessica, simply complete the contact form below.

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