WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). And like all content management systems – and all active software – it’s constantly being upgraded. This means that any websites built on the platform need to be kept up-to-date, which can be easier said than done.
For larger websites especially, and businesses that lack an in-house team of digital experts, keeping WordPress up to date can be a significant challenge. That’s why more and more are turning to website maintenance packages, like our WordPress Care Plans, which handles many of the tasks.
A WordPress Care Plan is a maintenance plan that ensures everything that needs to be done to keep a WordPress website performing well is being done by us. It means that busy businesses don’t need to allocate their valuable resources to keep everything ticking over. They can put their in-house skills and talents to better use, knowing their WordPress site is being taken care of.
While these care plans typically don’t involve aspects such as adding new content or developing new features – anything that directly changes or enhances a website – what they will include are any activities needed for keeping a website performing consistently well, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For example, a comprehensive WordPress maintenance plan may include activities such as:
You may wonder if you really need a WordPress Care Plan. After all, your site is already performing well. And, as they say, why fix what isn’t broken?
But just because your site is working well now doesn’t mean it will tomorrow. The longer you leave your site babysitting itself, the more likely you are to experience issues that will impact the user experience. And leave your visitors searching for competitor websites.
WordPress Care Plans proactively help your site to achieve its goals. They can help with:
WordPress is a truly fantastic CMS. So fantastic, in fact, that it’s used by almost half of all websites. Even very large, very prolific, very high-traffic sites like The Times. This makes the platform an attractive target for hackers. For this reason, it’s crucial that everything – from the WordPress core to any themes and plugins – is kept up to date, patching any vulnerabilities that could act as an access point for cybercriminals. Of course, no site can ever be 100% secure, but updating all the elements that make up your site is one of the best ways to reduce this risk.
WordPress and plugin developers are continually looking to improve performance. This is especially true when it comes to updates to PHP (the underlying programming language behind WordPress). A jump from PHP 7.4 to PHP 8 might not sound like much, but tests show that websites upgraded in PHP typically perform up to 18% faster. With speed being such a vital component in visitor satisfaction, search engine optimisation and now Google’s Core Web Vitals, it stands to reason that most businesses will want to do everything they can to minimise page load times.
WordPress websites that are kept up to date are less likely to experience unplanned downtime, broken functionality and other issues that can have a major impact on the user experience and visitor satisfaction. Compatibility is one such issue and can be a nightmare for site owners. Websites can be performing well until the WordPress core software evolves, after which some plugins may be incompatible with the new version. Without ongoing maintenance, these plugins can remain inactive, resulting in websites that don’t achieve what they’re supposed to.
Can an up-to-date WordPress site really affect ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? Absolutely! Although SEO is very heavily associated with keywords, there’s much more that goes into calculating a SERPs position. It includes performance, speed, time spent on site and more. By keeping your site up to date, ensuring it’s running smoothly and creating great experiences, you could be helping to maximise visibility of your site in the SERPs. An up-to-date website alone isn’t enough to get your site to the top spot on Google, but it’s certainly something that can help.
Even something as simple as a minor vulnerability in a popular plugin can have devastating effects on a business if it fails to update that plugin to the latest version. When small issues turn into big problems, businesses face having to spend more time, more money and more talent on retroactively responding to and fixing the problems. That’s time, money, and talent that could have been saved by taking a more proactive approach and updating the plugin as soon as the latest version was published. Staying up to date with everything is a powerful way to prevent catastrophic events.
You may think that WordPress couldn’t get any better. But it can – and it is. Developers are constantly working on improvements, regularly releasing new features to help businesses build the very best websites possible. Keeping WordPress up to date ensures you always have access to the latest version and the most advanced functionality. For example, WordPress 5.0 brought us the block editor. WordPress 5.3 introduced major UI improvements. Version 5.4 came with a block editor update, while WordPress 5.5 launched lazy loading. Make sure you’re not missing out on anything!
You can, of course, keep your WordPress site up to date yourself. But why would you want to? It can be a big job. Particularly if you have a larger site, or you’re not all that confident in your technical ability. Why not let managed WP experts handle it for you? If you’re interested in a WordPress Care Plan, or want to know more about managing your WordPress website, get in touch with us!