As a small business owner, finding the time and the budget to maintain your website can be a challenge. Once you’ve invested in a new company website, you’ll likely want to leave it to work its magic, and then refresh it every year or two with new features and product listings.
However, failing to keep on top of your website maintenance is a bad idea. According to Yell, more than 30,000 sites are hacked every day, and websites running outdated software (such as WordPress) are up to three times more likely to suffer an attack or data breach.
It’s your responsibility to maintain your website and protect sensitive customer information, but there are firms such as TyMedia that offer a WordPress maintenance service to save you time.
Below, we’ve put together some of the benefits of WordPress maintenance for SMEs…
Keep on top of your security
Perhaps the most important reason to maintain your website is to reduce the risk of security breaches. Whether you run an e-commerce website handling sensitive payment information on thousands of customers, or a straightforward landing page designed for lead generation, your website must be maintained to deter breaches and protect your visitors.
A good WordPress maintenance provider will not only monitor your website for any security issues but recommend and implement changes to further protect user data.
For example, firewalls and security plugins can be installed to make it harder for hackers to penetrate your website, two-factor authentication can be added to make it impossible for others to log into your account, even if they had access to your username and password, and under-the-hood changes can be made to your databases to disable directory indexing and browsing.
Improve search engine optimization
Failing to maintain your WordPress installation could result in outdated plugins, page bloat, common crashes, and broken links across your website, which damage the user experience and can reduce your rankings on search engines such as Google.
Maintaining your website ensures that usability issues can be ironed out, reducing your bounce rate and increasing the chances of consumers purchasing or enquiring about your services.
There are several search engine optimization techniques applicable to WordPress sites, including SEO plugins like SEOPress. Maintaining these will ensure your content is marked up appropriately for page crawlers, helping you rank for relevant search terms.
Improve page load optimization
As we’ve just touched upon, failing to keep your WordPress website updated can result in pages taking too long to load, bogging down your website and impacting user experience. 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load - failing to meet both of those standards could increase your bounce rate and reduce your conversions.
When you hire someone to manage your WordPress maintenance, they’ll monitor your page load and speed and make suggestions and improvements, such as using WordPress cache plugins.
Updating WordPress and plugins
WordPress receives a significant update every quarter, introducing features to streamline the content management system and give developers more tools. In between those releases come essential fixes and patches that should be installed as soon as possible.
If you still needed a reason to invest in WordPress maintenance for your business, this is it: back in September 2020, millions of websites were targeted following a major security flaw in a zero-day vulnerability, allowing attackers to upload malicious files onto company websites.
A good WordPress maintenance provider will be aware of upcoming WordPress releases and prepare your website for updates. What’s more, they’ll update plugins as and when they are released (the average WordPress website uses 20-30 plugins) and ensure compatibility between the latest WordPress version and your theme.
It’s also important that unused or outdated plugins are removed from your website to avoid any security vulnerabilities.
Backing up your website regularly
If your server malfunctioned and your website’s files were lost for good, what impact would it have on your business?
The best-case scenario would be starting from scratch, having to build a new website from the ground up. The worst case is losing access to client contact information and projects, potentially costing your business many thousands of pounds. With WordPress maintenance, regular backups can be provided to create “snapshots” of your website at different times of the day, and on different days of the week.
If anything was to go wrong and your files went missing, backups stored securely on encrypted servers could be deployed to have your site up and running again quickly, minimizing downtime and losses.
This not only offers you peace of mind but protects your business from any changes you make to your website. It’s all-too-common to install a dodgy WordPress plugin, only for your database to corrupt and for you to lose access to your data. Within a couple of clicks, your maintenance team can reinstate an older backup of your website and have you back online.
Monitor uptime and fix server problems
In today’s always-online world, ensuring your website is online 24 hours a day, seven days a week has never been more critical. Consider your website as a second shopfront; if it’s inaccessible, customers aren’t coming through the door.
For every minute your website is down, you’re missing out on leads and sales, and perhaps encourage customers to visit one of your competitors’ websites instead.
Indeed, according to a study from Akamai, one in ten consumers won’t return to a company website ever again if it’s down the first time they visit, demonstrating the vital importance of choosing a good web host and investing in monitoring.
What’s more, search engine robots like Google and Bing are continually checking websites for new content - if they notice that your website is down, it could have an impact on page rankings.
A good WordPress maintenance service will include 24/7 uptime monitoring, using tools to keep an eye on your site, investigating issues to ensure they’re promptly resolved.
Let the team at TyMedia maintain your WordPress website. Give us a call on 01789 632959 today to find out more and check back soon for more from our blog.