One of the most overlooked aspects after a website design is completed is website maintenance. Sure website maintenance isn’t fun and attractive, but like a car your website needs to be maintained if you want it to last through the years and to remain hassle free.
One of the worst trends we have seen in the web design industry is a huge lack of education. Web designers are no longer educating customers and teaching them that their websites need to be maintained in order to keep them working. Web designers seem to simply pump out website after website and seemingly forget about their old clients once their website has been built.
Without keeping your website, plugins, and theme up to date you expose yourself to hackers and over time your website will become clunky, unresponsive, and will eventually start to stop performing as originally intended. We have seen un-maintained websites suffer from slow load times, have seen things such as forms stop working, and have seen websites become completely unusable after security breaches by hackers.
This article will go through the necessary maintenance items and why they are needed to keep your website in tip top condition.
We choose WordPress as the CMS for all websites we build here at The Honest Agency. Because of this this article will talk specifically about maintaining a WordPress website.
WordPress itself is constantly being updated and your website needs to be updated to keep up with it’s latest features and security measures. It is important to update WordPress to the latest version for a number of reasons.
- Security – Unfortunately hackers exist and by updating you remove vulnerabilities that are exploited by hackers.
- Performance – WordPress is always improving efficiency with each update and updating allows you to take advantage of this.
- Compatibility – Plugin and WordPress go hand in hand and need to be up to date to function as intended.
The functionality of your WordPress website is often handled by plugins. A plugin is effectively a packaged piece of functionality on your website that allows it to perform a certain task. Plugin generally used to include forms, the ability to run an ecommerce website, payment gateways, sliders, drag and drop editors and more.
Plugins make life easier and websites cheaper to develop, but without updates can open a website up to security risk. Hackers are unfortunately always on the hunt for plugin vulnerabilities and once found, a hacker can simply find websites with outdated plugins and weasel their way in. WordPress Plugin providers constantly update their plugins and fill security holes to keep your website safe. You need to update your plugins to take advantage of the increased security the newer plugin versions provide.
Compatibility is an important reason we update WordPress Plugins as they need to work with the latest version of WordPress. WordPress needs to be updated to ensure security is tight and performance is good, and plugins need to be updated so that they work seamlessly with the latest WordPress version.
The majority of WordPress websites will be running a theme of some description. A theme ads a layer of edit-ability and functionality to your website in a pre packaged block, keeping development costs down and in turn the cost of having a website built.
Themes like plugins need updating for three primary reasons.
- Security – ensure hackers can’t utilise holes in the theme.
- Functionality – Some themes add features that you can utilise with latest updates.
- Compatibility – Updates ensure the theme works flawlessly with plugins and WordPress.