If you’re like a lot of small business owners, you created your website, launched it—and never looked at it again. You had bigger fish to fry.
But your website is a fancy piece of “machinery,” and, like a car, requires regular maintenance to stay up and running and in good condition. Ignore regular maintenance and eventually your website will clunk and sputter, leaving you stranded—or worse, leaving your customers stranded. You need to conduct certain tasks at certain intervals—that is, regular maintenance—to keep your website running smoothly.
Why conduct regular maintenance? Ignore regular maintenance and your website could leave your customers stranded.
Internet surfers have become spoiled. They’re used to a fast ride. If your site takes more than just a couple of seconds to load, people may leave before it even finishes opening. That’s lost business.
One of the things that makes WordPress an attractive tool for building a website is that you can optimize the site as you like with plugins and themes. It’s easy to go overboard, though, and that can slow down load time.
WordPress is the world’s most popular website solution, so it’s no surprise it’s a major target for hackers, viruses, bots, and other cyber-villains. Anyone can get hacked—even a humble small business such as yourself. What would happen if your visitors went to your site but got directed to a malicious site instead? Your website could also be flagged by Google as unsafe, which will hamper your find-ability. Think of the message that can send to prospects about whether they can trust your small business!
What’s more, many small businesses store at least some customer information on their site—customer contact information, for example—and you don’t want to be responsible for that falling into the wrong hands.
There is virtually no reason a WordPress website should be hacked if it’s being maintained.
Search Engine Optimization
You want your website to be find-able, to coin a word. Think about it. When you have a question about something, what do you do? More than likely, you do one or both of the following: ask a person next to you or search on the web (actually, if you ask your friend next to you, they might automatically go to the web to answer your question). You’re not alone. Google processes more than 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year.
This means your website needs to be optimized for search engines. Search-engine friendly, if you will.
Google spends boatloads of cash to create amazingly intelligent algorithms that crawl all the content that exists online, so that we only see the stuff that’s relevant and useful to our needs, based on our search terms.
Making sure your website is updated ensures it stays in Google’s “good graces,” which (coupled with content marketing and other SEO techniques) helps to favorably position your content in search results. And search engine rankings are everything.
All that said, it’s critical that you perform regular maintenance on your website.
First off, are you running the latest version of WordPress? Are you sure? WordPress sends out regular updates that give you access to new features and code updates—as well as security fixes and other measures to keep your website safe.
Secondly, what about your plugins and themes? Plugin and theme authors spin out regular updates for their products to make sure they function with the latest version of WordPress and continue to be secure. Are your plugins and themes up to date?
And do you really need all your plugins and themes? It’s simple to add a new plugin and theme—and just as simple to forget how many you’ve added. Extraneous plugins and themes are one of the most common contributors to clutter on WordPress websites.
What about backups? Is your site backed up? If you have even a moderate amount of traffic on your site, backing up daily is not a crazy idea.
Is your WordPress website being maintained? If not, what are the barriers keeping you from doing it?