Website Maintenance – what it is & why you need it
Wondering where to start with website maintenance? What exactly is it and why do you even need it? Let’s take a look at why maintaining your website properly is essential for a secure and well-performing site.
Ah, that new website feeling. When you’re in love with your new site and excited at all the possibilities it holds for growing your business. It’s a bit like when you get a new car and keep looking at it because it’s so new and shiny.
I bet you wouldn’t park your new car outside and then never attend to it for the next year. That would be madness and a complete waste of money.
However – that’s exactly what plenty of business owners do to the website they just paid good money for.
Websites are like your home or your car or an awesome haircut with killer highlights: they need to be maintained in order to look great and last well. Remember that your website is your online shop window. Look after it and it will serve you well. Neglect it and you risk putting off potential customers instead of inviting them in.
Proper website maintenance keeps your site secure from hackers, encourages traffic growth, and boosts your search rankings
What Does Website Maintenance Involve?
Put simply, maintenance website mainly involves running regular checks in essential areas such as performance and security, and keeping software updated.
The rapidly-evolving nature of the internet means that leaving your website alone for any length of time means it’s going to be out of date before you know it. Websites that aren’t kept up-to-date can cause you major problems – and time and money to fix.
Keeping Your Website Safe
Not only is website maintenance important for performance, it’s also crucial for security. The most common cause of hacked or malware-infected websites is out-of-date software. (In the case of WordPress, that usually means plugins but can also include themes and page builders).
Hackers take advantage of vulnerabilities in software which hasn’t been kept up to date. If you don’t patch it in good time with an update, malware can infect your website, putting you and your users at risk of viruses, data breaches and more.
Percentage of all websites that use WordPress
CMS market share of WordPress
Number of attempted attacks on WordPress sites every MINUTE*
*Source: WordFence Security
Benefits of Website Maintenance
A properly maintained website will continue to work hard for your business even when you’re sleeping!
Keeping your website properly maintained can help with:
Essential Website Maintenance Tasks
So what is actually involved in a successful website maintenance routine? Here are the key tasks needed by most sites:
Best practice is to use a service which will alert you if your website goes down, so that you can investigate as soon as possible.
Taking and Checking Backups
Take regular complete backups of your site and store them somewhere securely. (Don’t store them on your web server in case the whole thing goes down.) If your hosting provider runs scheduled backups, make sure you’re checking that those copies exist and are where they should be.
Scanning for Security Issues
Check your security software and malware scans. Investigate any issues and fix errors. It’s also important to ensure your SSL certificates are up-to-date and keep a note of their expiry dates.
Updating Your Software
For WordPress, the items you’ll have to update most regularly are plugins. On an average site you’ll need to run at least 2 – 3 plugin updates per week. (You can set these to auto-update but it’s not recommended, because if an update were to cause a problem on your website you’ll have a much harder job knowing which update caused the issue.)
Themes and WordPress core files will also need to be updated regularly. It’s recommended to run these larger updates on a staging site first so you can see if they cause any issues, before rolling them out to your live website.
Making Essential Fixes
Sometimes updates themselves can cause issues and urgent fixes have to be made to resolve any new problems.
Running Performance Checks
It’s good practice to run speed and performance checks on your website regularly, to ensure it’s not experiencing any new issues.
Suggested Website Maintenance Schedule
Some jobs are more time-sensitive than others. Here’s a typical schedule for an average site:
Investigating Security Alerts
Updates: Plugins, Themes and WordPress Core Files
Additional Manual Backups
Performance and Speed Tests
Check Traffic and Search Rankings
Content Review and Additions
Clean and Optimise Database
Check for 404 Errors
Review Hosting Contract
Assess Design and Functionality Requirements
Why is Website Maintenance Important?
The lists above show you how important it is to consistently maintain your website on an ongoing basis. Staying on top of all the tasks takes organisation and practice – especially as your site grows over time.
It’s always worth sticking to your maintenance schedule though, and not letting things slide. Falling behind on maintenance can be costly:
- Once the software and structure of a site become neglected, it can take a developer many hours to put everything right, which will cost you more in the long run.
- If you get hacked because of outdated software and malware is installed on your site without you knowing, you’ll have to pay a professional to remove all the infected files. If you don’t, your website can be a danger to anyone who clicks on it. Never a good look for any business.
Keeping your website properly maintained keeps your site secure, performing well and working hard for your business to secure new leads and sales.
How to Maintain Your Website
Website maintenance is one of those essential business tasks that you can either do yourself or you can hire someone to do it for you.
Many of my clients simply don’t have the time, desire and/or tech skills to carry out all of the routine tasks every month, and so I offer website care plans to cover all of the necessary work.
These can be tailored to include some design and development time each month as well, to cover small ongoing updates you might need.
Why Subscribe to a Website Care Plan
If the sight of all of those little red update notifications on your WordPress dashboard makes you feel uneasy, then you need a website care plan!
Investing in a website care plan takes away all the stress, saves you time (and money in unexpected repair bills) and gives you somewhere to turn if a problem arises. You’ll know your website is in safe hands and you can carry on doing what you do best – running your business.
Another reason that website care plans are so popular is because it gives you a point of contact if something goes wrong with your website. No more panicking and wondering how you’re going to fix it.
Lastly, it gives you priority access to your designer/developer. If you are paying for a chunk of time each month, you know you won’t have to wait for availability.
Website Maintenance Costs
The cost of website maintenance varies hugely, depending both on the size of your site and who you hire to take care of it. If you do it yourself you’ll keep costs low, but it could end up eating into your time if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
Paying a freelance web developer or website agency is the easier (and arguably safer) option, saving you time and stress every month. Subscribing to a fixed price monthly plan makes budgeting easy and avoids unexpected bills.
My website care plans are very affordable – view pricing here.
Benefits of Paying for Website Maintenance
- Knowledge and Expertise: You’ll be hiring an expert who is familiar with what to look out for and common problems that arise.
- Dedicated Contact: You’ll always know who to turn to in the case of issues.
- Save Time: You’ll free up time to focus on other areas of your business.
- Priority and Turnaround Time: You can include edits/development time in your package so changes can be made when needed and you’re not joining the bottom of a web designer’s waiting list every time.
Website Maintenance Packages
TealBlue Digital Website Care Plans
I offer website care plans to clients that are affordable, reliable and have the choice of dedicated monthly time to make edits and updates to your site.
I’ll take care of backups, security, updates, performance checks, and errors – leaving you to focus on your business.
Looking for help with your website?
I’m a WordPress developer who loves helping small businesses grow their online presence with great looking websites.
Want a new website or to overhaul an existing site? Got a broken WordPress site that’s driving you crazy?
Just let me know what you need and I’ll be happy to help!