Why You Need to Maintain and Update Your WordPress Website
Unlike old, static HTML based website, WordPress is constantly evolving. Because it is OpenSource, all the great developers that work on it add new features and tweak existing features to make it even better. These can be large or small tweaks and, most of the time the average person wouldn’t even notice them. But I do. I’ve been geeking out about some of the stuff they added in the most recent update.
Also, like anything on the internet, there are evil people out there who spend their days trying to hack WordPress and WordPress websites. The developers spend a lot of time thwarting these attacks, which means that when a new vulnerability is exposed they quickly fix it an issue an update. This is no different than the updates you get for your Windows and Mac operating systems, your phone and tablet software and even your TV if you have a smart TV.
Now, let’s think about all the moving parts – Themes and Plugins. These are all developed to work with WordPress. If, as I shared in my previous post, we are using high-quality themes and plugins, then the developers of those are also working to keep everything working properly. To that end, when WordPress releases an update, the theme and plugin people test their products with the new version and make whatever tweaks are necessary to ensure that your site continues to work properly.
I’ll give you a couple of examples from the most recent WordPress update – which was a biggy.
Here’s an email with the subject line: HELP!
Our galleries are empty, but the pics show up in word press. What happened. Why aren’t they showing up? HELP!!
So, with this client, the site had been live for several months and I had offered them my maintenance agreement several times, which they had not taken – more procrastination than not wanting to sign up. So, now WP has updated automatically on their site and the theme and plugin files have not been updated to work with the new version – so stuff broke. I explained the problem to them and, even though they had not signed up for maintenance, I offered it to them again and told them I would grandfather in the current issue. So, that’s kinda like getting in a car accident and then purchasing insurance and expecting it to be covered. I could have charged them for the fix and then charged them for the maintenance agreement, but that’s not how I run my business.
On another site that is on my maintenance plan I updated the theme and plugins but there was still an issue . For this one I had to download a patch from the developer and install it using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and the site was fixed. There is no way the client could have done this on their own.
Here’s the thing, most of the time the updates go very smoothly and there are no issues but, when there is an issue, it’s going to take someone who knows what they are doing to solve it. It’s kinda like insurance – most of the time you don’t need it, but when you do you’re glad you have it.
Maintenance, includes all necessary updates, checking the site for broken links, a visual inspection to make sure nothing is broken, and regular backups stored in the cloud. If something does go wrong, I restore the most recent working backup and troubleshoot the problem. I also provide a certain amount of customer support in the way of answering questions and helping them post new content.