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WordPress Maintenance – The devil is in the details

By now everybody knows that their WordPress website needs maintenance. Like almost everything associated with tech, websites and their components are constantly changing, being modified and upgraded to fit the latest trends and technological advances. Having regular maintenance on your site is important for all the obvious reasons: core updates, plugin updates, error log verification, W3C validation and monitoring Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. However what most people don’t realize is that when it comes to maintenance, the devil is in the details.

Do you REALLY know your site?

As a business owner/operator the likelihood that you have the time to get to know your site inside and out is extremely low. Off the top of your head do you know how many pages on your site have been indexed by Google? Do you know which version of WordPress is current and if any vulnerabilities have been discovered? Is your WordPress core version even up to date? How about your plugins – have any of them been abandoned or removed by WordPress? Or simply not been updated in months, or even years?

Most likely you have no idea. And that’s ok. Really, it is. You have a business to run and the time it would take for you to become intimately acquainted with all these elements is hard to find. You’re already not sleeping enough as it is.

However…

SOMEONE needs to!

Someone needs to know your site inside and out and here is why – there are lots of minuscule issues/errors/bugs than can come up that are almost invisible to the naked eye – unless someone with intimate knowledge of the site notices them.

Recently, a very popular WordPress SEO plugin had a bug. Nothing major but in a nutshell the bug caused a small change in settings that allowed search engines to index attachments. At first glance this may not seem like a big deal and the plugin developer caught it and released a blog post with a solution and another plugin to fix the bug. However, this type of hiccup can easily go unnoticed and cause a host of issues for your site – If all of a sudden all your attachments are being indexed, search engines will believe that you have many more pages on your site than you really do, sometimes up to 5 times more. Which means next time your site is indexed the search engines might hit you with a thin content penalization which would cause your site to tumble down in the rankings. Your traffic would drop, your conversions would suffer and all of a sudden your business goals and targets are no longer being hit. Your SEO strategy and investments, solid as they may be, could get torpedoed.

The above is just one instance of the kind of small detail issue with potentially big negative outcomes that we run across every week when working on our client’s WordPress sites.  There are countless other such examples, including multitudes of plugins removed from the WordPress repository every week, and the recent vulnerabilities discovered in the WordPress core version 4.9.6The main point here is you need someone to be on it, not just going through the motions and doing the bare minimum on your site but someone who has overall intimate knowledge of YOUR site’s details and could catch issues like these almost immediately.

If you have any questions about your WordPress site and whether your current maintenance procedure is sufficient, feel free to contact us! We are always happy to take a look at what you’re working with and give you some recommendations to ensure you are being well taken care of.

 

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