When you put time, money, and effort into creating a WordPress website, chances are you’d like to keep it running smoothly. After all, you wouldn’t drive your new car 30,000 miles without giving it an oil change, right?
Websites are similar, except they need more than an occasional tune-up. Most business owners know that websites need maintenance. At the same time, they may underestimate the amount of TLC they require to stay in good shape and wonder if the added cost of WordPress maintenance is really necessary.
But, what exactly does “website maintenance” entail?
Many business owners believe that website maintenance is something they can do themselves. What they don’t realize is that it’s not just about technical know-how – keeping your website optimized, secure, and up-to-date is a full-time job.
There just isn’t enough time in the day to both run the business and also maintain your website – especially as your business grows!
Here what’s going into your WordPress maintenance cost behind the scenes.
1. We’re Performing Regular, Secure Website Backups (And Making Sure They Actually Work)
Essentially, website backups ensure that your website can be restored efficiently if something horrible happens to it. That sounds scary, and it is – having no backup often means that your website could take a lot of time and money to restore, if it can be restored at all.
While website backups usually aren’t too complicated, they do need to be done carefully and consistently.
Backups can also stop working after several weeks or months. That’s something you definitely don’t want to find out when you really need it.
At Barrel Roll, backups are included in the maintenance cost (as they should be with any reputable WordPress maintenance agency). We perform them regularly and keep all backups safe and sound on a secure off-site server to be accessed in case of an emergency.
2. We’re Keeping Your Website’s Performance Optimized
Long load times can frustrate visitors and hurt your ranking in Google. The last thing your website should do is cause you to lose sales or leads.
WordPress relies on a database to store content and settings. Over time, the database can become cluttered, affecting performance and slowing things down. We use database optimization techniques to clean up unnecessary data and ensure efficient queries.
Optimization also extends to factors like image size and mobile responsiveness. Most websites receive over half their traffic via mobile devices, so having a responsive, easy-to-navigate site is a big deal.
3. We’re Scanning for Malicious Code and Security Threats
Malware can infect your WordPress site through various means, such as vulnerable plugins, themes, or outdated software. Regular scanning helps identify and remove malware quickly, preventing potential security breaches.
You’ll want to make sure the maintenance agency you work with isn’t just fixing problems that have already happened, but preventing them as well.
It’s becoming more common for hosting websites to offer “maintenance-like” services to their customers in order to compete with actual maintenance specialists. Scanning for malware is usually something they claim to offer; but, that doesn’t always mean it’s a comprehensive service.
For instance, many hosts provide fundamental security measures like firewalls and IP blocking – but do they routinely scan your website for malware? The answer is almost always “no.”
Quality WordPress maintenance should include daily internal and external security scans.
4. We’re Making Sure Your Website is Up and Running
No one can see your website when it’s down, which is why uptime monitoring is essential.
For example, let’s say you run a business whose revenue comes solely from e-commerce. If it’s down for one day, you miss out on 100% of those potential sales. Now imagine it goes kaput when you have a special product launch or a promotion you’ve been working hard to advertise.
The results can be disastrous if your site is down for even a few minutes.
We can’t speak for everyone, but at Barrel Roll, we check your website’s status every minute and aim for uptime of 99.99%.
It’s a really, really important part of what goes into WordPress maintenance cost. Learn more about uptime here.
5. We’re Keeping an Eye on 404s and Redirects
404 errors occur when pages or content don’t exist on your website. They can pop up when a linked URL is typed incorrectly, a page has been moved or deleted, or the URL of an existing page has changed without redirection.
When folks encounter 404 errors on your website, it can be frustrating and confusing. They may assume the content (or product) they were looking for no longer exists, leading to a negative user experience. These errors can be hard to keep track of without the right tools.
We regularly scan for 404s and make updates to the site to prevent any issues.
6. We’re Safely Keeping Your Plugins and Themes Updated
The keyword is safely. Safely updating plugins is crucial for maintaining the security, stability, and functionality of your WordPress website. Here are some key reasons why:
- Outdated plugins are a common target for hackers. They often exploit vulnerabilities in older versions to gain unauthorized access to your website or inject malicious code.
- WordPress is continually evolving, and new versions may introduce changes in the core software. Plugin updates often include compatibility adjustments to ensure they work with the latest version of WordPress.
- Updates sometimes bring new features or enhancements to plugins. These features can improve the functionality and usability of your website, giving you opportunities to offer a better user experience.
All that being said, it’s dangerous to update plugins and themes without a backup. We create a backup prior to applying any update. That way, if something goes wrong, we can quickly revert back to a working version.
7. We’re Testing Forms and Making Sure They Work
Elements like contact forms, shopping carts (if you sell stuff online), product pages, live chat, and anything else on your site that people interact with need to be regularly tested.
This is equally important whether you manage a small website with only a few pages or a large e-commerce site. If something’s up with your form submissions, for example, you may not even realize anything is wrong until it’s too late and you’ve already missed out on potential customers.
We regularly test the functionality of your forms to make sure you are receiving those important leads.
Are WordPress Maintenance Costs Worth It?
When it comes to websites, as with most things, fixing problems is a lot more expensive than preventing them in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A stitch in time saves nine. Hope is not a strategy. We’re running out of proverbs here, but you get the idea!
Letting someone else take care of your site also means you get time back for yourself – time you could dedicate to growing your business or doing other things – like enjoying some well-earned time off.
LOOKING FOR WORDPRESS MAINTENANCE SERVICES?
If you’re interested in learning more about maintenance for your website, get in touch to learn how Barrel Roll can keep your site performing at its best to support your growing business.