Don’t Let Out of Date Plug-Ins, Expired Themes, or WordPress Updates Damage Your Website
Your WordPress website is not too different than the vehicle you own. Even the most well-built vehicles require preventative maintenance to continue running. Yes, content is the fuel for your website, but if you don’t regularly change the oil, you’re not going to be driving far.
Exploring your WordPress website maintenance options brings a lot of questions. Here are some of the top questions Signalfire is asked.
Who is responsible for maintaining the software and plug-ins on my WordPress website?
You are. Unless you have an established maintenance agreement with Signalfire or other provider, running updates on the plug-ins, themes, and software are up to you or a member of your team.
My hosting provider updates WordPress for me. Isn’t that enough?
Support for core WordPress updates is a big help but shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for a maintenance plan. Most core WordPress update features don’t update plug-ins and themes.
These updates are also “pushed” down and may need to be checked for adverse results. Installation of the newest software doesn’t promise compatibility.
Would it be better to just leave the site and not run any updates?
No, and it may cause greater problems. One of the primary reasons behind the updates is security. Keeping WordPress, the plug-ins, and the theme up to date will reduce the vulnerability of the website. Additionally, unforeseen glitches or bugs are frequently fixed with updates.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to fix the website when/if it breaks?
Adopting a “run to failure” mentality for your website is a gamble. It may appear to work in the short term, but it inevitably comes back to haunt you.
For example, one recent website owner had let the core WordPress be regularly updated by the host. However, the theme wasn’t updated. Tools and plug-ins the theme relied on were disabled by newer versions of WordPress due to security issues. The situation resulted in the website owner needing to invest in significant updates and applying a new theme—nearly the cost of a new website.
A maintenance plan would have caught the changes several versions ahead and cost a fraction of the repair cost.
If my website breaks when installing an update, is it the developer’s responsibility to fix it?
No. Website designers and developers cannot build a future-proof website. However, when developing your website, you should talk about maintenance plans and support for these situations. Many times the recurring maintenance costs are less than the repair costs.
What the difference between WordPress maintenance and website updates?
In a word—content. WordPress maintenance will focus on the functionality and stability of your website. The software, the plug-ins, and the themes are the primary focus. Website updates refer to making additions, changes, or optimization of the content.
Content updates can be changes to page text, adding content (e.g. blog entries), or updating imagery (pictures and/or video). These are commonly referred to as “non-development” changes.
Signalfire provide options for both. If you need to leverage content on your website more effectively, Signalfire specializes in developing comprehensive content strategies that help with SEO and social campaigns.
What happens if the website is hacked or has an intrusion? Who is responsible for the repair?
This is an important question to ask any maintenance provider. Who is responsible and what is covered by the maintenance program will vary between providers. It is best to decide how critical of a deliverable this is because it will impact cost.
Hacks, malware, and intrusions are all significant risks. They are also the primary reason why you want to keep everything up to date. Plans that include fixing hacks will be more expensive on a monthly basis, but may be significantly more valuable should disaster strike.
Should I consider an automated WordPress maintenance program?
One of the fastest growing service providers are the WordPress maintenance providers. The idea is simple—programmers have assembled an automated method of running updates.
The advantage is that it is a low-cost option to keep your core WordPress software and plug-ins up to date. Frequently these providers will include a back-up protocol and rudimentary testing.
The disadvantage is that the services may not cover theme updates or other support requests at the lower price point. More comprehensive support quickly increases the monthly price, and support requests involving hacks or malware may be separately billed.
Looking for a WordPress Maintenance Partner?
Signalfire has extensive experience in WordPress development, maintenance, and hosting. We’d be happy to learn more about your website needs and how we can provide solutions. Looking to get more out of your website? Our creative marketing Guides and Outfitters develop and deliver successful marketing programs for businesses of all types. Connect with our team and get a path mapped to success.