WordPress Website Maintenance: Update, Edit, Protect

Best thought of as an insurance policy for your website. No one needs the disruption, lost sales or cost of unwelcome surprises.

Avoid unnecessary website downtime

Website downtime gives a bad experience to your customers and loses you sales and conversions. You may be causing downtime by letting software updates pile up or by allowing software to auto-update. WordPress updates which are checked and carried out by a human is the most effective way of preventing downtime.

Prevent lost sales & enquiries

You could be losing sales while your website is down or you could be losing enquiries because your contact form, marketing funnel or website feature has stopped working. I monitor and schedule manual updates to safeguard your income.

Prevent damage to brand & reputation

Attracting new customers is expensive. If your website goes down, from a botched update, expired domain or from being hacked your reputation and sales suffer. Maximising uptime and ensuring your WordPress mainenance is carried out will  safeguard your brand from damage and keep those hard won customers from seeking alternatives.

WordPress maintenance and improvement

 

Anyone working with WordPress will tell you with enthusiasm that you should carry out routine maintenance. They’re not wrong, but when you ask them “Why?”, you’re often expected to take their word for it.

I don’t just advocate the importance of WordPress maintenance — I’ve put it to the test. In the quest for meaningful data and a commitment to keeping your website, data and reputation safe. I have run and documented long-term experiments which uncovered the real consequences of neglecting website maintenance.

Armed with real-world data and 18 years of industry experience, I’m uniquely qualified to enhance your website’s security and performance. I offer tailored WordPress maintenance packages, informed by my direct experience to safeguard and elevate your online presence.

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What happens to a neglected website?

<< 1. Preparing for your web design project  –  2. Designing and building your website >>

 

We didnt just carry out an academic exercise; it was a demonstration of a deep commitment to understanding and combating the challenges faced by website owners. Our hands-on approach provided invaluable insights into how quickly and severely a website can become compromised without regular upkeep.

Missed plugin updates and patches

Our test website was setup with 16 plugins which were typical for an ‘average’ WordPress installation. These plugins were picked by polling a group of over 2000 web professionals and picking the most popular suggestions.

50% of all plugins on the site had missed updates by week 3 and 100% of all plugins had missed updates by week 11.

Every missed plugin update could represent a security weakness, bug, or missed feature upate.

Bar chart representing % of wordpress plugins requiring update over time. Time frame is week zero to week 11 with an upwards trend on plugins requiring update to a maximum of 100% at week 11.
screenshot of WordPress status showing that the website may be under attack due to over 100 failed login attempts today.

A sharp rise in unauthorised login attempts

Initially, the site appeared secure, with no failed login attempts, a common indicator of stability. However, as time passed without essential maintenance, vulnerabilities began to surface.

By week 8, the site experienced a significant increase in blocked login attempts, escalating to a staggering total of 1,323 by week 16.

This sharp rise painted a vivid picture of a site transitioning from a state of perceived security to one actively targeted by hackers, likely under a brute force attack.

Fatal errors start to ocurr

By week three of the experiment, our site had encountered it’s first ‘fatal error’. A fatal error can ocurr when there is some kind of conflict between theme, plugin or WordPress core. The result is rather unfortunate as any visitor to your website will be met with the below screen. Your site will be gone, your shop wont be making any sales and you wont be generating any leads or conversions.

Screenshot of an error screen generated by Wordpress saying "there has been a critcial error on your website. Please check you site admin email inbox for instructions."

Your site could become black listed and removed from search engine results

When a website is left insecure due to not updating WordPress core or plugins, it is more likely to get hacked, defaced or infected with malware.

When a website is blacklisted, it is either completely removed from the search engine’s index or significantly downranked, making it difficult or impossible to find through normal search queries.

Some browsers such as Firefox or Chrome may block your site and warn visitors not to continue. The damage to your brand, image and online sales can be huge and can take a significant amount of time to restore.

Screenshot of Firefox warning screen saying "deceptive site ahead"

Experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing your website is in the hands a professional who has thoroughly tested and understood the risks and available solutions in the dynamic world of WordPress. Maintenance that’s not just promised, but proven.

<< 1. Preparing for your web design project  –  2. Designing and building your website >>

WordPress maintenance packages

Most websites built on WordPress fall into three categories. Small, Medium/Ecommerce and Large/Ecommerce.

However, your business is unique and as such aftercare for your WordPress website can be tailored to your individual needs and the level of risk associated with your website in particular.

Maintenance will be recommended based upon the likelihood of potential issues and the likely cost to your business in terms of lost sales, impact upon reputation and repair costs.

The ‘Bare Minimum’

Ideal for small or low-risk websites.

From £50 per calendar month.

Recommended

For medium size websites and low to medium turnover e-commerce sites.

From £100 per calendar month.

Retainers & Custom Packages

Perfect for companies, web or marketing agencies wishing to have on-demand access to a web professional as a virtual team member.

From £500 per calendar month. Including ringfenced development/editing time.

Reviewer's Image

Maintain and Optimise E-commerce Website

Rating: ★★★★★
Since bringing Paul on board to maintain and optimise our e-commerce website…Our online visibility has effectively doubled, increasing from 4% to 8.5% and this growth has been instrumental in driving a 67% increase in our online orders and an impressive 156% rise in online turnover. Paul’s work on our website has played a key role in these achievements. His consistent and professional approach makes him a valuable asset to our team.

Chris Heffernan – Excel Machine Tools

Let’s schedule a conversation 

Frequently asked questions

People looking for someone to maintain their WordPress website often have questions like those below. I hope my answers help, however if you cant  find what you need. Please, get in touch. You can call me directly on 01903 527927 or send me a message.

How long does maintenance take on a website?

The amount of time taken to complete site maintenance will depend upon the size and complexity of the site, whether it has extra functions such as e-commerce and how often your normally carry out maintenance. For small websites I normaly advise to allow for at least an hour a month for technical maintenance and then an addition for any ongoing edits or iterative improvements you may wish to make. Some clients will prefer to retain a web designer on a retainer agreement so that they are available on demand for any emergencies or ongoing works. If you would like to discuss a maintenance plan or a retainer agreement. Pleaes get in touch by phone or message me here.

Why is WordPress so slow?

A WordPress website can be slow for a number of reasons. From slow, cheap website hosting to a bloated, un-maintained database, lack of caching, large images, excessive numbers of scripts etc. If your website was previously fast and has become slow you may find that your site is being throttled by your host or that you may have run out of space on your hosting account. To look for technical reasons use a tool such as gtmetrics.com to identify potential issues. If you would like help optimising your website or tackling a specific performance issue please contact me by phone or send me a message.

How much does it cost to maintain a WordPress website?

Basic WordPress maintenance packages start at £50 per calendar month. Larger sites start at £100 but can be customised to suit your particular needs. Retainer agreements start at £500 per calendar month and include ongoing maintenance as well as a time bank used for edits, optmisations and iterative improvements to suit your needs. Please see the maintenance packages listed on this page for more information.

How often do WordPress websites get hacked?

That’s a difficult statistic to gather. However, data published by Wordfence reveals that 2,471 vulnerabilities were added to the intelligence database in the first 6 months of 2023. This figure is made up of:

  • 2497 plugin vulnerabilities
  • 84 theme vulnerabilities
  • 6 WordPress core vulnerabilities

This data further supports my assertion that it is essential to keep plugins updated on a routine basis. A routinely updated and maintained website will be more resistant to attack.

How fast should a WordPress website load?

A WordPress website should ideally load in 2 seconds or less. Faster loading times improve user experience and can positively impact search engine rankings. However, achieving this speed depends on various factors like hosting quality, website size, size and number of images and media, the number of plugins and scripts used.

Do WordPress sites need maintenance?

Absolutely. If the data on this page hasnt convinced you then I suggest having a look at the experiment results in the blog section of this website.

How often should I backup my WordPress website?

A WordPress (or any other website) should be updated as follows:

  1. Before carrying out any site edits
  2. Before carrying out any site maintenance
  3. Prior to any changes to DNS, server configuration or hosting account
  4. On a routine basis (to be risk scored) for any site processing any transaction data or which has very frequent updates or user generated content added.

A small website that doesnt change very often may only be updated once a month at maintenance whereas e-commerce sites may be backed up weekly, daily or even hourly. Backups can be run both manually or automatically at site level or at hosting level and can be backed up localy or to a remote location.

How often should I update my WordPress website?

The data from my experiment in this page indicates that 50% of plugins on a typical website are likely to need updating by week 3 without maintenance. 100% of plugins on a typical site will require updating by week 11. Your website is unique and as such you will have to assess the risk or opportunity cost of not maintaining your website. My recommendation is that for small sites they are updated monthly, e-commerce sites more frequently and to be agreed based upon a risk analysis. Generally the larger, higher profile, or larger turnover associated with the site, the more frequently a site should be updated. It is not uncommon for sites to be patched as required within x number of hours of a release of a plugin or core update.

Not ready to talk?

Listen to, or read my posts about web design projects while you do something else or just while you’re on the train. When the time is right, I will be here to answer your questions.

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