WordPress is great! It’s versatile, flexible, scalable, and customizable. Regardless of whether you are an aspiring blogger, small business, or a large enterprise, the platform can be molded to your needs and used to provide a bespoke experience.
However, the thing is that, similar to any other tech solution, WordPress websites need maintenance and support. You can’t simply build a website and forget about it. Well, you can but then it is highly unlikely that it delivers on your business goals.
To that end, your website needs to be in top operating condition, properly optimized, and regularly monitored for errors and issues.
And yet, many website owners, especially those of DIY and small businesses properties, fail to notice the signals and red flags showing that their website needs a professional touch. As a result, they risk losing traffic from organic searches, driving customers away, and, ultimately, losing real money.
In this article, we highlight the 8 most common signs that your WordPress website needs maintenance. If you happen to observe some or all of these, you should consider hiring an agency to provide you with WP tech support and help you get back on track.
Read on and take notes!
1. A Non-Tech-Savvy Website Manager
If you are a non-tech-savvy website owner and/or manager and don’t have in-house IT to take care of the complex stuff for you, you may be in trouble.
Maintaining a small WordPress website is not a difficult task. Especially if it doesn’t have high technical requirements, large traffic, and too much content.
However, even the most modest of websites need regular backups and updates and may face some of the other issues outlined in the following sections.
If you are not sure how to address these and don’t even know if you are experiencing any of them, the best you can do is consult a professional WordPress agency or at least an expert developer. They can diagnose the state of your website, suggest a course of action, and provide actionable advice that applies to your needs.
This way, you can be sure that you are extracting the maximal potential of your web solution and that it can actually serve its purpose. Otherwise, you may be wasting your time and resources without any foreseeable results, and end up wondering what went wrong.
All in all, in order for a website to contribute to your digital presence in a positive way, it needs to be maintained by someone who knows what they are doing. If you are not that person, you need assistance.
Now let’s have a look at some more specific issues that signify that you need maintenance.
2. Slow Loading Website
A slow-loading website is a sure sign that you should call for help.
The issue can be caused by multiple problems and to find out which one is it in your case, the website needs to undergo a full diagnosis. You may even suffer from all the possible setbacks and not even know it!
Some of the most common reasons that cause a website or page to load slowly are:
- Too many plugins. When a page loads, all the plugins installed on the website load together with it, regardless of whether they are pertinent to the particular page. If the plugins become too many or are not properly coded, this can cause speed issues.
- No CDN. If the website aims for international traffic, but relies only on the original server where the content is hosted, it may take longer for the pages to load when the user is geographically far away. A CDN network of distributed servers reduces the distance the information needs to overcome to reach the user and drops the loading time.
- Shared Hosting. Shared hosting is cost-effective which makes it a common choice for smaller organizations and DIY websites. If you don’t have much traffic, it can be a good enough choice. However, when your traffic grows, this can cause serious loading issues and provide for a really unpleasant user experience.
- Large Images. Large images take longer to load and can significantly slow a page down. Finding the balance between size and quality can be tough, but it’s absolutely necessary when it comes to user experience and SEO. Also, if there are too many images on a page and no lazy loading is implemented, this can make the issue even more pressing.
Regardless of what causes a website to load slowly, this can affect not only the user experience but the SERP performance and ranking as well. People tend to leave pages that take forever to open, and a high bounce rate is a sure sign that this may be happening to your website.
Furthermore, with the core web vitals update, Google considers this kind of performance vital. This means that if you don’t take care of speed optimization, you may lose your rankings and fall behind competitors that take their technical SEO more seriously.
3. Piling Updates
Updating your WordPress website regularly is vital.
WordPress is an open-source platform, which means that the source code of your website is visible to everyone. This creates a certain risk and makes it more prone to hack attacks and malware.
Luckily, the WordPress community is constantly on the watch and, more often than not, catches such vulnerabilities in an early stage, and provides a patch.
Without these patches and updates, your website will not be secure and both yours and the data of your clients may be jeopardized.
However, the larger and more technically advanced your website is, the more complex updating it can become. Furthermore, aside from the core, you need to update the themes and the plugins as well.
Unless you are working with a dedicated WordPress agency that has built and designed these for you, they are probably developed by different providers. As a result, updating them may require additional coding and adjustments. Otherwise, on rare occasions, your whole website may break after the update.
4. Malfunctioning Plugins
Plugins allow you to install on your WordPress website practically any functionality your heart desires. Not to mention that there are almost 60 000 free and paid plugins available on the official WordPress website.
However, the issue with such an abundant variety is that quality is not always guaranteed. Furthermore, not all of these plugins are regularly maintained and updated by the provider which can result in incompatibility and security issues.
Inexperienced website owners are often tempted to install all the add-ons that catch their eye, because they are simply not aware of the consequences. In fact, people may even keep plugins that they are not using, or that provide an insignificant vanity function that is not worth the additional load.
In addition, as mentioned, to function properly, plugins should regularly be updated and if you don’t do that, your website may be at risk. Also, as plugins are developed by independent third parties, core updates may cause them to malfunction.
Simply put, it’s complicated. And if you are not sure what you are doing, or you are sure that you’ve already created a mess, you definitely need professional maintenance.
5. Irregular Backups
When was the last time you backed up your website?
If you can’t remember, you may be in trouble.
Regular backups are just as important as regular updates. They ensure that your data is secure and can be restored in case of a fatal error or some other major issue.
Furthermore, aside from scheduled events, you have to back up your website before every update, to make sure that you are on the safe side if anything goes wrong.
This type of work is part of the standard website maintenance, and shouldn’t be neglected under any circumstances, even if you are managing your website yourself.
6. Poor SERP Ranking
Poor rankings in the SERPs can be caused by many reasons.
We all know that the search engine regulations are constantly changing and even though the effects of these changes don’t take place immediately, they do catch up with every website eventually.
If you take your SEO chores seriously and think that you are doing everything by the book, but still see unsatisfactory results, there may be hidden technical issues that are hindering your performance.
For example, your layouts may not be optimized for mobile traffic, or even your whole website may not be mobile-friendly. Also, you may have not implemented the proper meta tags, and redirects, you may lack structured data, and so on, and so forth.
Even if you successfully implement an SEO audit, you may not be able to take care of all the issues yourself.
Technical SEO plays a major role in a website’s ranking and, depending on your maintenance plan and contract, your provider can help you take care of it, or at least provide insights on where the issues may come from.
7. Outdated Design
Depending on when your website was built, who created it, and how good of a job they did, your design may be outdated without you even knowing it.
The thing is, that web design trends change quickly and it’s difficult to keep up with them. Even if your website’s looks were all the rage a year or two ago, they may seem old school and unseemly now.
To be able to attract customers, keep them around, and contribute to your online reputation, your website needs to look and feel good.
Design is not necessarily part of every maintenance plan, and whether your provider can cater to your needs depends on what specialists they have on the team, the resources at their disposal, and your budget.
However, with a professional WordPress agency, you can always rely on top-level advice and suggestions.
8. Random Website Errors
Even if you are doing your best not to meddle with things that you don’t understand and you are managing your website properly, bugs and errors are bound to happen. That’s how technology is.
Your content may not be rendering on the client’s side, the user may see error codes, there can be issues with redirects, and whatnot.
Some of the common website errors are obvious, and some need a professional audit to identify them. If you are not capable of implementing the revision yourself or don’t have an in-house developer skilled in WordPress maintenance, you need to call for help.
Monitoring your website for bugs and errors is part of every standard WordPress maintenance plan and provides you with the security that nothing will go wrong while you are not watching. And if an issue occurs, it will be handled in a timely manner.
Regardless of whether you know it or not, it’s almost certain that your website requires maintenance.
WordPress is the kind of platform that needs to be constantly updated, monitored, and taken care of. In fact, every technology needs that if you want it to serve you well and provide the desired results.
If you are facing one or more of the issues highlighted in the article, and need professional help, settle for no less than the best – give us a call!