There are many reasons why small businesses prefer WordPress over other website platforms, the most common ones being that it’s flexible, scalable, affordable, mobile-friendly, and intuitive to use. In fact, that’s why more than 43% of all websites are powered by WordPress!
However, what many small business owners fail to take into consideration is that building a beautifully designed and user-friendly website is only the first step. What makes it a success is maintenance.
In this article, we highlight why small businesses need WordPress maintenance and provide an actionable checklist.
Read on to find out how to skyrocket your website performance as well as your revenue!
What Is Website Maintenance?
Website maintenance is the process of keeping your WordPress website secure and in good operating condition. This includes implementing technical updates, fixing bugs, and eliminating errors, but also checking out your SEO, speed optimization, and usability to see if they need any improvements.
Depending on the company, maintenance can be performed in-house by IT staff, or outsourced to a freelancer or professional WordPress agency.
Do All Websites Need Maintenance?
If you are asking yourself whether all websites need maintenance, the answer is simple:
Yes. Yes, they do.
Regardless of whether your website is a basic one-page solution, a simple business card, an eCommerce site, or a digital publication with hundreds of pages, you definitely need maintenance.
Without it, among other things, you risk exposing your own and the information of your clients to security risks, providing an unsatisfying user experience, and limiting your visibility in search engines.
Furthermore, regular diagnostics and maintenance enable prevention. This means that you are not only able to fix issues, but keep some of them from happening altogether.
In a nutshell, if you want to have a WordPress website that’s an efficient business asset, you need maintenance.
Why Small Businesses Need WordPress Maintenance?
As mentioned, small businesses often underestimate maintenance, because they either think that they can deal with problems themselves or wrongly assume that they don’t need it altogether.
After all, your website is up and running – what else do you need, right?
Unfortunately, this is not how it works. Technology needs maintenance and some tinkering from time to time in order to continue to function properly. Also, the trends that define a good website are constantly changing, and so are the standards and requirements of both users and search engines.
Furthermore, as a small business in the digital jungle, you need to constantly prove yourself to show your clients that you are at least as good as popular brands.
If your website doesn’t provide a top-notch experience and looks out of date and old-fashioned, people will be put off and may not find you credible enough to trust you with their money.
Maintenance ensures that your website is able to hit digital benchmarks continually and be able to have a fighting chance in the highly-competitive online marketplace.
Retaining Your Digital Presence
Your website is the pinnacle of your digital presence and the most important touchpoint with the customer. In a way, all your digital channels and all the virtual roads on the customer journey lead to your website. And it should deliver on the client’s expectations and even exceed them.
However, the customer is not the only one your website needs to impress.
People use search engines to search and research, practically, every topic they care about, new products and brands included. To have a chance in the relevant SERPs and boost your organic traffic, your pages need to be in the top positions.
If your SEO is not optimized regularly and doesn’t meet the search engine’s page experience standards, it may be difficult to build a digital presence in the first place.
Furthermore, you may not even be able to rank for your own branded keywords! As a result, people will find it difficult to reach your website unless they key in your full domain, and we all know this is a rarity.
All in all, organic search is one of the most prominent and valuable online channels, and if you lose authority there, your whole digital strategy will suffer. To prevent that, you need regular professional website maintenance.
Consolidating Your Online Reputation
For small businesses that are trying to make it online, reputation is everything because it dictates whether customers choose their brand or another.
In the competitive digital marketplace, where there are hundreds of companies that offer similar products and services, you need to stand out as a reliable and trustworthy choice. And you can’t do it without a modern, cutting-edge website.
Of course, your image is not confined within a single channel, it’s defined by your overall digital reputation. However, the design, functionality, and performance of your website can be what makes it or breaks it. Otherwise, you are building up hype, setting expectations, and wasting resources, but disappoint the customers when they land on your property.
Providing Top-Notch Customer Experience
People judge your brand based on how your website looks and feels.
If they want to read up on your products, but your homepage takes forever to load, they will probably give up and review a competitor.
If they like what they’ve heard about your brand but your website looks out of date, unsightly, or unkempt, they may reconsider.
If they want to find a certain page, but can’t figure out the navigation, they most likely won’t waste their time.
If they are considering making a purchase but your checkout process fails, they will become frustrated and leave.
And the list goes on.
Maintaining your WordPress website ensures that the customer will feel welcome and have a frictionless experience where every interaction will be a pleasant one.
Unsatisfactory UX may not only drive your clients away, but hurt your website’s search engine performance. As a result, you will lose organic traffic and be unable to reach potential new customers.
Boosting Conversions and Growth
By making sure that your website is secure, works well, and checks all the user experience boxes, you can boost both lead generation and conversions. Users will stay longer on your pages, engage with your content more efficiently, and will have more opportunities to become clients.
If you hire a professional WordPress agency for your website’s maintenance, the experts can advise you on how to optimize the conversion path and increase its performance.
Furthermore, when customers interact more often with your website and spend time on your pages, this sends signals to search engines and positively affects your ranking and visibility in the SERPs. Once you establish yourself as a trustworthy and reliable brand and build your credibility there, you can attract even more traffic and leads.
Peace of Mind
With a professional WordPress agency at your side, you can be assured that your website is running smoothly and provides a top-notch user experience.
While there always will be issues, when you have a dedicated team at your disposal, you’ll know that these will be addressed in a timely manner. As a result, there will be minimal inconveniences for your audience, and your business will not suffer losses because of something that could have been prevented.
What Does Website Maintenance Involve?
One of the most efficient maintenance arrangements is the WordPress retainers format, which we, at DevriX, have pioneered and highly recommend. It allows companies to subscribe to development and maintenance on a monthly basis, and choose a plan that meets their exact requirements.
The agency diagnoses your website, helps you specify your needs, and calculates how many hours of work per month are required to facilitate the success of your website.
This format is especially fitting for small businesses because it ensures high quality at an affordable price. In short, you get what you need, and pay for exactly what you get.
Depending on your WordPress maintenance plan, your agency may implement the following points:
- Performance. Diagnose the overall performance of your website.
- Rendering on different devices. Test your website on different devices to see how it looks and whether there are any rendering and/or user experience issues.
- Speed and loading issues. Use different tools to check whether your pages meet the proper requirements and benchmarks.
- Checks for malware and viruses. Regularly check for malware and viruses, estimate the potential damage, clean up issues, and restore your information (if possible).
- Backups. Make scheduled and event-based backups of your information to ensure any future problems are reversible.
- Updates. Update your WordPress and plugins to the latest versions to ensure that your data is secure.
- Systems. Update WordPress to the latest version and monitor for any performance and incompatibility issues.
- Plugins. Make sure plugins are updated, operate properly afterward, and are compatible with the new WordPress core version. Fix issues, if any.
- Themes. Update themes and make sure that they operate properly afterward and are compatible with the new WordPress core version. Fix issues, if any.
- User experience issues. Identify and fix user experience issues caused by various problems, such as malfunctions, 404 error codes, bugs, navigation, etc.
- Core web vitals. Diagnose and improve the website’s core web vitals, monitoring page performance.
- Structured data. Check and update the structured data and meta information of all pages.
- Fixing bugs. Regularly monitor for errors, bugs, and malfunctions, and fix them.
- Support. Assure that technical support is being done according to the customer’s plan, assist with reported issues.
- Plugin optimization. Optimize plugins to integrate better with the theme and the website’s functionalities.
- Images. Reduce image size and implement lazy loading, to improve the pages’ loading speed.
- Browser caching. Implement browser caching to reduce the time needed for pages to render.
- CDN. Suggest a CDN network for faster delivery of the website’s content, depending on the most popular traffic sources.
- Hosting optimization. Provide advice on choosing the best hosting for the business’s needs.
- Improvement suggestions. Suggest other improvements that may make the website perform better.
- Traffic growth and scaling. Provide advice on how to grow the website’s traffic, how to manage traffic surges, and how to utilize the website to scale the business.
- Professional advice. Other professional advice that may apply to the specific business, based on the experience of the WordPress agency in building and maintaining other similar websites.
Small businesses need WordPress maintenance just as much as any other company that’s trying to make it online. In fact, they may need it even more depending on their circumstances.
When you are building a digital presence as a small business owner, you are up against an endless competition of established and aspiring brands, eager to win over the customer. Each one is doing their best to provide top-quality products and services and the most satisfying user experience to stand out. If you fail to outmatch them or at least stand on par with them, all your other efforts will be in vain.
Your website is the centerpiece of your digital presence and the face of your online business. As such, it needs to be in top operating condition at all times and in line with the latest web design, SEO, and UX trends. And quite often, the only way to ensure this is by investing in quality website maintenance by a top-rated WordPress agency.