Today, WordPress powers a huge percentage of the websites on the web. You only have to decide whether you can perform every WordPress maintenance service, or you need to hire it out. The beauty is, it allows you or anyone else, to create a website with every “feature” that one could need.
Those features come with a cost though.
Every plugin that you add to your website to make it do this cool thing or that one, adds additional load on your server. It makes the site heavier for those loading it, which is especially important on mobile devices.
Beyond that, all of those plugins get updated by their developers, sometimes for sake of security. As a website owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your site is updated and safe for your users, all while making sure nothing breaks.
Below are some of the things you should consider when deciding if you want to manage your own WordPress maintenance, or sleep well at night knowing you have a pro on your side.
WordPress Management is a Commitment
One thing in the world of WP is certain, the system isn’t designed to be a “set it and forget it” website. It is a constantly evolving script the builds your web pages on the fly.
All of the options and customizations you make are essentially building templates. These templates are then pulled together when someone requests your web page.
Sometimes, changes to the script can mean minor changes to the theme you run or plugin(s) you have installed.
WordPress Maintenance Means Frequent Updates
The WordPress core gets updated frequently. Patches are sometimes weekly.
Generally, themes will get updated at most monthly. Plugins also get updated once per month at most.
This isn’t the issue. In order to update these plugins, you have two options. Either test the updates in a staging environment, or take a leap of faith and hit update all.
Anyone that has a WordPress website can tell how the frustration of hitting update to find that your website no longer works. Below are a couple things that you can happen with updates. You won’t have to worry is you use a WordPress maintenance service though, it’s done for you.
White Screen of Death
Many times what happens when a website “crashes” is the white screen of death. It is named this because attempting to view the website or the admin dashboard results in a white screen.
Fortunately, in this instance I faked what you would actually see instead of actually suffering it.
This can result in lost revenue on a sales site or potential business on a lead generation website. The cause is usually one culprit.
Avoid WordPress Plugin Conflicts With a WordPress Maintenance Service
This is know a “plugin conflict”. The WordPress repository has thousands of plugins. Also, outside vendors sell plugins. This results in over a hundred thousand listings in the support forums.
This makes it impossible for every vendor to test their plugin with every other. It just isn’t practical.
A plugin conflict resulting in the white screen of death is basically an impossible fix for someone without server knowledge.
Not a big deal for a seasoned website admin, but a real kick in the shorts for your average business owner though.
Now it’s time to pay for a developer to fix it in real time. Doesn’t sound cheap does it? This is where utilizing a Wordpress management service is a lifesaver.
Plugin Abandonment is a WordPress Management Problem
The average business owner doesn’t know the WordPress landscape.
Plugin abandonment is when a developer just quits actively maintaining a plugin. This is troubling because it could open up a future security leak.
A normal business owner would have no way of knowing that this has happened to a plugin on their website. They don’t know the people or companies with a track record of keeping products up to date. They generally only go by the number of users. This can be a costly mistake.
An active WordPress user (Manager) however, would have this info and find a replacement for the dead plugin.
Theme Updates Come With WordPress Management
Other times updates can have less noticeable, yet significant changes to your website. This is especially true if you have many customizations on your website.
Sometimes the changes can be as simple as the theme updating how it does things and you simple re-check some options.
Other times, it can be css changes, which would require coding knowledge to fix the layout.
A WordPress Maintenance Service Provides Site Backups
Keeping you website backed up is important. Both the database and the WordPress files.
While a plugin can be set to automatically back up your website and erase the oldest copy, this can be troublesome.
Imagine your site is hacked and they were clever enough to not let you notice (likely). Now they can do what they want with your website, including sending users to other malicious websites.
Your site backup schedule carries about it’s business and makes copies of the now infected website. Think that backup is any good now?
While this can happen to anyone, even a managed website provider, it is less likely. This scenario happens way to often to business owners that aren’t even aware until they get threatened by their hosting provider.
It also brings up my next point.
WordPress Maintenance Includes Website Security
The security of your website shouldn’t be taken lightly. As mentioned, WordPress is used by millions. Thus, it is the target of attack.
Using a security plugin is a must. And they aren’t set up the way you want them “out of the box”. They can and should be configured to increase the security of your website.
Wordfence is an incredibly popular option and the choice that I use almost exclusively. With over 1 million users and 4.8 star rating you can’t go wrong.
Without security, hackers can literally test your login page all day, every day.
This will piss off your web host and make your website slow down to a crawl. That is if a potential customer can reach it at all.
If you run your own site, you are going to have to pay for a hack cleanup. With a managed provider though, in the unlikely event this happened, you would pay nothing.
A Couple More Reasons to Choose a Managed WordPress Website
One of the biggest things that is tough for someone is the actual server itself. Getting WordPress installed and adding files to the server. Setting up and maintaining email through an unfamiliar platform. Redirecting web pages to new versions. The list can get big in a hurry.
I know that you can use the one click script to install WordPress, but with a professional setup that wouldn’t be the case. It would be a clean install with no unnecessary software running to make it happen.
One other option when using an agency to manage your website, is the ability to include conversion rate optimization to tune up your website.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed hosting is when you pay for someone to manage your hosting environment. You actually manage your WordPress website though, complete with the ability to break a beautiful layout.
If that happens, they will restore it for you of course, but it will likely be queued up and you wait in line. It is nice however, that you don’t have to follow a tutorial or call a developer to hit up your server and fix up the site.
Fully Managed Plan
This is our plan to completely take website management out of your hands.
- Hosting is provided so you know you get a great choice
- Server management is completely handled for you, everything
- Email that is dependable and simple (Google Apps)
- WordPress is completely managed for you…updates, backups, security
- Deeply discounted website build pricing
- Minor changes to website content ~ not to exceed 1 hour per month. Client must provide assets (images, proofread .txt files for written content, change instructions)
- 99.9% uptime for your website
- Access to premium tools
- Beyond that, as a client you can get discounted pricing on additional services to grow your business. You have a digital expert to discuss needs with and someone that you can trust to be straight with you.
Managing a WordPress website isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. Their will be bumps in the road though, if you choose to go it alone.
The question is simple.
Does it make sense for you to try to be a website admin and run a business?