Websites are no longer just static HTML pages residing on the internet. Modern websites are dynamic, software-driven, content management applications with dozens of moving parts. They have to be kept up to date in order to work with evolving internet technologies and meet consumer demands and expectations. Fixing usability and security issues as they arise is another essential part of maintaining any website. But there’s much more to implementing a comprehensive WordPress maintenance plan strategy that protects your website investment.
Key WordPress Maintenance Plan Tasks
WordPress is constantly evolving with new features and security improvements. Here are some WordPress maintenance plan tasks that regularly need to be performed on your WordPress website:
WordPress itself constantly evolves, adding new features and improvements. In fact, WordPress releases an update to its core platform an average of every two months. These are typically intended to fix bugs and a variety of security issues. Updates also add new features and functionality that can improve the overall design and performance of your site.
If the WordPress “core” is not up to date, your website gradually becomes less secure and stable. It will not perform at the level it should be. Not only can this cause a poor experience for your visitors, it can have a negative impact on search engine rankings. You should update themes and plugins regularly. Also, update other integrated software that powers your website. This will ensure everything continues to run smoothly.
Theme or Builder Framework Updates
Themes or administrative builders (like DIVI) are the framework that make your site look and act the way it does. Like the WordPress core, theme developers frequently improve and update their products for security and performance. Using an out of date theme or builder limits the function, security, and form of your web presence.
Plugins are the tools that can be added to your WordPress site to add features and increase its functionality. There are many different plugins available to help you add functionality to your website. They can do everything from creating forms and managing calendars and events to increasing security and enhancing interaction with your website’s viewers.
Plugins are created by different authors. When WordPress releases an update to its core software, it’s then a plugin author’s responsibility to keep their plugins up to date and compatible with the latest version of WordPress. When these plugin updates are released, but you do not install the update on your website, you could miss out on enhanced features, cause security issues, or introduce malfunctions to your website.
The WordPress platform is stable, but that does not mean it is invincible. In the event that your website is hacked or goes down for some reason or your web host encounters server issues, having a backup off-site can save you from the devastating effects of having to start from scratch. You should backup your website often (on a remote server and packaged with proper backup software), preserving your hard work and latest updated content.
Security Monitoring and Protection:
Security is not something taken lightly by WordPress. Even as the platform is continually strengthened, malicious individuals will explore new ways to overcome security measures to infect websites with their malware. Website owners may not know that Google and other search engines will actually blacklist a malware infected website, leaving it virtually invisible search traffic.
Why? Because a hacked website is a security risk to their users and to other websites. It allows for the spread of malware attacks on other websites and escalation to attacks against government websites and connected online infrastructure.
Understanding security vulnerabilities and taking necessary precautions is vital to the protection of your website and the reputation of your brand.
Broken Link Inspection & Repair:
When visitors to your website come across dead links, it results in a poor user experience. Dead links send a message to your website visitors that you do not care enough to take care of your website. Your visitors may then, assume that you do not take care of other business matters, including your customers. Scanning and resolving broken links regularly helps to ensure a positive user experience.
Dead links will also hurt your search result rankings. When search engines run across multiple broken links on your site, they interpret broken links negatively. They see them as stale, low-quality content, and therefore, not the best website to recommend in search results.
Removing Unused Plugins:
Though it may seem harmless, you should avoid having inactive or unused plugin software on your website. Maybe at one point you needed a form plugin, but now use a different one. Leaving the old plugin (even if it is disabled) can cause conflicts and impact your website’s page load speed and functionality. Go through your plugins and uninstall the ones that are not in use to lower the risk of a website crash or malfunction.
Removing Spam Comments:
A blog on your WordPress site can be a valuable method of generating website traffic and building your brand. Comments on your blogs can also be a good source to provide additional information and generate discussion on topics important to your visitors. Unfortunately, like email, comment postings can be used for spamming. If the spam comments are visible to public website visitors, your brand’s reputation will quickly decline. Spend time to clear out spam comments to keep your visitors happy and engaged.
Use a Professional
Although it is possible to perform the aforementioned WordPress updates yourself, doing it properly is time consuming and can be risky if you do not know how to fix your website when it breaks.
It’s important to have updates performed regularly by a professional developer who knows WordPress and the plugins in use on your website. They can monitor and resolve any issues that may arise from the update process. Software updates usually go smoothly, but on occasion they conflict with each other or an update can trigger malfunctions that can cause a poor experience for your visitors, or worse, bring your site down entirely.
Have a professional perform consistent tasks associated with a WordPress maintenance plan to prevent possible security breaches. Installing updates makes changes to your files, potentially making your site vulnerable to hacker attacks. A solid WordPress maintenance plan includes performing consistent backups of your site before and after the update process. Any Content Management System-based (CMS) website is vulnerable to attacks on its database. Keeping your WordPress website core, plugins, and themes current will lessen the chance your website is compromised due to malware infections, SQL injections, and other nefarious attacks.
Think Your Website Isn’t a Target for Hackers?
“Oh, I’m just a small business. Nobody has a reason to attack my website.” This is a very common misconception about website security and the need for maintenance. Too often, website owners put off necessary WordPress maintenance plan tasks or they don’t think they need to pay for it. The website owners don’t think anyone would have reason to hack their website or steal information. Ignoring maintenance makes your website a prime target for malicious attacks.
For hackers, it’s not about stealing information, but hijacking your site to use its server as a hosting environment to send spam emails or attack other servers. Hackers often create web bots to search for vulnerable sites. Once hackers detect an access point, they make their way in and take control of the server.
The hackers then use the server to send out spam to massive email lists. This will damage your website’s reputation with search engines and will trigger a block to your website’s IP address. Hacks can remain dormant for a long time, while the hacker infects other websites and builds an army of exploited servers, referred to as “botnets.”
Hackers also use infected servers to perform Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on other networks. Botnets send out a swarm of spambots, to infect other sites, setup phishing, and/or facilitate DDoS attacks. This type of attack aims to seize control of multiple services more easily accomplished with a botnet.
Maintenance tasks are important on any website, not just WordPress websites. A well-maintained website makes your business look good and keeps your customers happy. Whether you hire someone to maintain your WordPress website or do it yourself, it’s important to keep all of these things in mind.
If you’re looking for a WordPress maintenance plan, we offer plans that range from small, occasional updates to full website management. Plans can be customized to your specific needs. We want our website clients to get the most from the sites we build for them. Further, we want to be able to show off our website work to future clients.
Contact SYZYGY 1 Media Group today!