What is WordPress Website Maintenance, and Why Do I Need It?

Guide

by Katy Dwyer

 

laptop with wordpress security dashboard

Congratulations! You’ve launched your brand new website! You can now go back to working on your business and serving your customers. No need to worry about the website anymore, right? Not so fast…

KDD exclusively builds custom WordPress websites for our clients. While this article specifically addresses WordPress website maintenance, no matter what type of website you have, make sure you are following the best practices of your host and platform to keep your website secure.

 

Platform and Plugin Updates

Any WordPress website, regardless of size, requires manual maintenance on a regular basis because WordPress and the plugins that help run your WordPress website have regular updates which need to be installed. These updates typically fix any issues the platform or plugin may be having, close potential security gaps, and keep the plugins up-to-date with changes in technology and with the platform itself. When you are paying for website maintenance, you are paying for a human to manually go into your site on a regular basis (or when a critical update is required) and run these updates. 

Sometimes, running an update creates another issue on the site. Something breaks, something isn’t displaying properly, or you get an error message. When this happens, a good maintenance plan will include fixing whatever is broken as part of the service.

 

Security!   

Whether you like it or not, your website is very public. You may not realize it, but people and bots across the world may be actively trying to attack your site. It has nothing to do with you, exactly, or your business. These bots and hackers are just doing what they love (however malicious it may be), trying to hack into anything. Sometimes that comes in the form of attack which can mean spam and bad news for your website. Security monitoring means paying attention to the kind of traffic your website is receiving and whether it’s above-board or not. When it’s not, there are ways to curb that traffic and fend off attacks.


An insurance policy for your website

Maintenance isn’t just about updating and fixing things. It’s also about insurance. Another method to protect the site (and all the money you have just spent on it) is to run and keep multiple backups of the site on a separate server. Depending on the type of plan you have and how often you edit your website, this may happen on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and the number of backups kept may also differ. Assuming you are on a maintenance plan (so someone is checking up on the site at least monthly) it’s best to keep at least 5 weeks of backups (longer than the last time someone checked the site). Should anything happen to the site, such as being infected with malware, which can happen even to well-protected sites, these backups will mean you have a clean version of the site which can be migrated over to the live server without having to rebuild the whole site. 

 

Not the good kind of “downtime”

We all crave a little downtime, but not for our websites. Another service often offered in a maintenance plan is uptime monitoring. While all hosts have short downtime periods, if your maintenance team sees that your site is down for a prolonged period of time, they will typically investigate and work with the host to get the issue corrected as part of the plan.

 

Fresh content?

Sometimes a maintenance plan may include a certain amount of content updates per month or quarter, but be sure to discuss this with your service provider ahead of time to see if this is included or can be an add on.

 

Get your money’s worth

An added bonus to a website maintenance plan is site longevity. You’ve spent a lot on that website, and you’d probably prefer to not have to rebuild it anytime soon. A website that has been regularly maintained will likely last much longer than one that isn’t. A website that isn’t maintained could become broken beyond repair within years, while a site that was kept up to date could last much longer. In the past, it was expected that websites would need to be rebuilt every five years or so due to the rate in the change in technology. We’ve seen client websites that were built nearly ten years ago still functioning and relevant with a good maintenance plan in place.

 


Is your website on a maintenance plan? Contact us today for more information.


Katy Dwyer is the Founder & Creative Director of KDD Marketing. She started KDD in 2009 to bring her creative and marketing experience to hyper-local businesses. With 25 years of design and marketing experience, she is now proud to share both her talents and the talents of her team with many small- and medium-sized businesses in the tri-state area.