By: Carol Aldridge & Erica Franz
In 2022 more than 43% of all websites worldwide were created using WordPress, according to W3Techs.
"WordPress is used by 63.6% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 43.2% of all websites."
WordPress has become so popular because it is flexible enough to create many different types of websites. Because it can be so simple to get started creating your own website with WordPress, the importance of regularly maintaining your site can be easily overlooked.
To share more about the benefits of regularly maintaining your website, we turn to Erica Franz of Fat Pony. Erica has been developing websites for 23 years, with a keen focus on WordPress since 2005.
Q: WITH SO MANY WEBSITE PLATFORMS TO CHOOSE FROM, WHAT MAKES WordPress SUCH A POPULAR OPTION?
A: WordPress is well known for being a very flexible way to build just about any type of website you can dream up.
There are already tens of thousands of plugins you can use to add functionality to a WordPress site. And because WordPress powers such a large segment of websites on the internet it can be straight-forward to find a developer for a custom solution.
The WordPress community is also well known for how much they contribute free knowledge and support to make creating your website as encouraging as possible.
Q: WHY IS MONTHLY WordPress MAINTENANCE SO IMPORTANT?
A: Your website is your most valuable promotional asset. Even if you’ve created it yourself instead of paying a professional, your time costs money.
If you buy a brand new vehicle but don’t maintain it the investment you made in it is lost very quickly. And the cost to fix problems is much greater than if you would have regularly maintained the vehicle to begin with.
Websites work in a similar way.
The pace that WordPress adds new features and technology evolves like driving a vehicle. That progress puts wear and tear on your website. If you don’t regularly maintain your site to make sure it’s working correctly with the changing technology and address potential safety issues while they are still minor, it can cause a full break-down or cost a lot of money to fix a big problem later on.
Regularly maintaining your site means updating the WordPress Core, which powers your site, and the theme and plugins that are active. Updates to these components don’t just add features, many times the updates address security flaws to protect against hackers and bugs that can negatively impact your website.
Maintenance can also improve the site’s performance through faster page loading speeds, enhanced SEO and an overall better user experience for increased site conversions.
During maintenance, backing up your site frequently can literally save your site if it is hacked or compromised – you do have regular site backups, right?
Bottom line - providing regular monthly maintenance is a direct way to protect your investment. Preventing a major site issue with regular maintenance is less expensive than having to rebuild a site from scratch or recover and restore from a backup.
Q: WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF MY SITE IS HACKED?
A: Having your website hacked could have a number of potential consequences.
In some instances, hackers might simply leave a calling card to let you know that they hacked your site; like changing the homepage to show a message that you’ve been hacked.
However, it is more likely the hacker will cause real damage.
They may steal data from your website to try and hack into other websites, like financial institutions.
They could take over your website and hold it for ransom, locking you out until you pay.
If you are running an eCommerce site they might steal financial information and customer data. This could open you up to lawsuits, and depending on local laws you could face additional fines and penalties.
Don’t forget about the cost involved in repairing the damage done to your site by hackers. It may be as simple as addressing the security flaw or as extreme as having to rebuild the website from scratch.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES A WordPress MAINTENANCE PLAN COST?
A: Developers will either charge a flat rate or an hourly rate for website maintenance. The cost may vary depending on how complex your website is and how often you have it maintained.
Hiring a Developer to maintain your site on a monthly basis often allows them to give you a better price. This is because implementing smaller updates more frequently can reduce the risk of complications.
Because your Developer is also regularly accessing the website their familiarity with its functionality can also decrease the amount of time needed to properly maintain the website.
Because of how flexible WordPress is for creating a fully custom website, your website might not be like any other website that’s been built before. Having a good relationship with your Developer can end up saving you money in the long-term and keep your website running smoothly.
Q: HOW DO I FIND A QUALIFIED WordPress DEVELOPER TO MAINTAIN MY SITE?
A: There are many ways you can find a qualified WordPress Developer to maintain your website.
Word-of-mouth is an excellent approach, ask the people you know who have professional websites if they can make a recommendation. Generally, people are unlikely to refer you to someone they distrust or have had bad work from, so the recommendations you receive this way tend to be of very good quality.
You can also post a listing to WordPress Jobs. It’s good to be as specific about the requirements when posting a public job listing to elicit the most qualified applicants; this includes the most important aspects of your website and a general budget.
Many times WordPress Developers donate some of their time to help answer support topics in the WordPress.org Forums, and in specialized online groups for themes and plugins. If your site relies heavily on a specific theme or plugin you might consider joining an online community related to that theme/plugin and inquire about hiring a Developer that way.
There are also many development agencies if you prefer not to work one-on-one with a freelance Developer.
Q: CAN I MAINTAIN MY WordPress SITE MYSELF?
A: Just like vehicle maintenance, yes you can maintain your own website.
It’s important to weigh the cost vs risk of doing it yourself or hiring a professional to maintain your website.
There are numerous things that can go wrong when updating a website. These are often easily resolved by a professional if caught early, but left unattended, could develop into larger issues as time goes by.
Before deciding to perform site maintenance yourself, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you know how to resolve a fatal error should it occur?
- Do you know what to do if an update breaks some other functionality on the site?
- Do you know how to restore a full backup of the site should you need to?
- Is the money you’re saving worth the cost of fixing your site should it break in the process?
In conclusion, you’ve made the smart choice to build your website with WordPress. Now there are steps you can take to protect your investment and assure that your greatest asset continues to serve your business for years to come.
If you have any questions regarding marketing, website management, or other promotional topics, feel free to reach out to us at Carol@equineofficesolutions.com; or if you have any questions regarding WordPress Development feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EQUINE OFFICE SOLUTIONS
At Equine Office Solutions, we understand the unique challenges that horse-related business owners face in today’s rapidly changing digital world. Since 2010, our clients have enjoyed focused, personalized support, customized marketing plans and comprehensive sales funnels designed to increase website traffic and generate qualified leads. Contact us to learn how you can achieve your goals with consistent, quality results. Carol Aldridge, Ph: (859) 361-9416, www.equineofficesolutions.com
Fat Pony has been helping equine businesses with their websites for more than 20 years. We build long-term professional relationships with businesses who value efficient, transparent, and reliable website development. Offering front-end and back-end development, SEO, and UX optimization, we pay attention to the things that matter. Contact us to discuss your short and long-term website development needs. Erica Franz, email@example.com, Ph: (206) 794-2005, www.fatpony.me