You need to re-design your website – it’s about 5 or 6 years old now and it doesn’t really meet your needs anymore. So you are out there speaking to a Web Designer or a Web design firm and the subject of maintenance comes up. You ask yourself “do I really need that?, my old website has been running for 5 or 6 years without any maintenance and it ran just fine – why would I need it now?”.
This is a very good question and one that I get often. I can almost use a bicycle vs car scenario to make my point. You had a bicycle and now you are getting a car. When you had your bicycle you didn’t have to (or very rarely) maintain it and it ran just fine. If you decided to upgrade to a car do you think you could get away with the same level of maintenance?
Your static website was likely written in such a way 5 or 6 years ago that someone with technical skills wrote/designed it and if there was a change needed you went back to that person or business to get it updated – because they had the technical skills to do so. Most small websites operated this way for a long time.
Now people don’t want to call someone every time they want to add something to their website. They want the ability to do it themselves. With something called a Content Management System (CMS) this was now possible. People now had the ability to login and add some content at their leisure. A CMS is what makes that possible. A CMS uses a database to accomplish these tasks.
There are many different CMS’s out there in the marketplace – but I am just going to speak about WordPress. WordPress is a free open source CMS that gives people the flexibility to do various things – some complex things you may still need a Web designer/Developer but by and large there are lots of things a non-technical person can do. WordPress uses a database and code to operate your website and it also uses various other programs called ‘plugins’ as well.
A WordPress website is essentially software programs that run in the background and just like other software – there are periodic software updates/released. Similar to how your operating system and smart phone regularly release updates to keep it running smooth.
- Theme updates
- WordPress core program updates
- Security updates
- Plugin updates
So, similar to our car maintenance scenario our websites need regular maintenance as well.
Can I do them myself?
Its hard to give a certain yes or no on this one. Can everyone do the maintenance on their cars? Maybe some technical minded folks can do everything by themselves, others at the other end of the spectrum and perhaps have little to no knowledge may opt to have someone else trained to do these. Sometimes an update of one thing ‘breaks’ another thing and thats when an experienced pro can save you hours upon hours of troubleshooting.
What happens if I don’t install these updates/maintain my website?
Its difficult to predict what exactly would happen to a WordPress website if left untouched for a period of time. Things such as one day your website would start not looking right or be offline completely or possibly get hacked and who knows what some hacker would do with your website. I have had a client in the past that had their website hacked and their IP address and domain name ended up on blacklists. One of the major consequences was that the organization could not send out emails to people as the recipients servers had blacklisted theirs and would block ANY emails from their domain. It took them months to fully recover.
So, when you are asking yourself “Does my website really need to be maintained?”, I hope the above gives you food for thought to help you make your decision.
Looking for someone to do website maintenance on your WordPress website? We have maintenance plans available.