This Halloween, thwart WordPress goblins and keep your website looking young with some tech-TLC.
Just like cars (and everything else), websites age, and if you don’t tend to them, they will begin to show it. The good news is that many WordPress website problems are easily averted with some common-sense, regularly-administered technical maintenance.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The web environment (browsers, security standards, hosting technology) are constantly changing but your website may not have kept up. So, it’s not surprising that problems will begin to occur over time.
If your site has been sitting online unchanged for a few years, lookout for the following:
1. Unexplained error messages when loading certain pages or when logging in. Any other funky behavior such as blank admin screens, database errors and slowness are warnings of trouble.
2. Malware security warnings – Every site I’ve ever debugged for malware (lots) had one thing in common: an outdated WordPress installation…every single one. In addition to good password practices, keeping WordPress up to date is the best way to prevent malware compromise.
3. Plugin conflicts – WordPress plugins that seemed to be the perfect solution 3 years ago suddenly don’t work or produce errors. Many overlook this, but plugins must be kept up to date too…and properly licensed. If this doesn’t happen, conflicts and errors are likely. Worse, old plugins are a huge cause of security problems. The infamous “Panama Papers” breach was rumored to be caused by an exploit of an old version of the popular Revolution Slider plugin.
4. Your site looks terrible on a phone. Mobile responsiveness isn’t a “nice to have” anymore – it’s a must. Statistics vary, but up to 50% of your visitors can be coming from phones and tablets. Also, Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher. Put another (harsher) way, Google penalizes non-responsive sites. Not sure about yours? Click here and test it with Google and see how it stacks up.
5. Appearance just doesn’t look up to date. This is more of a design and personal preference question, but if your site is 700 pixels horizontal and has only Arial as a font, it’s going to look stale. Some changes to freshen the look of a site can be easy (like updating a font), but some may simply need a rebuild. In every case, a rebuilt site will not only look better, but will be much easier to update, too.
So, what’s a good website lifespan? I once had a conversation with a client about their site, trying to diagnose some problems they were having. I asked, “how long has this version of the site been online?”
The answer: “We just had this redone 5 years ago!”.
With cars, 5 years is fine. With websites, 5 years is ancient. With a premium framework and regular technical maintenance, you can get a lot more life out of a website before it’s time for a total rebuild.
Does maintaining your WordPress website give you the creeps?
Don’t get spooked by website maintenance! My updated Help Desk WordPress maintenance service packages include regular WordPress and plugin updates, backups, uptime monitoring and more. Essentials and Advanced level plans also include built-in support time, security scans, reporting and other goodies! Learn more about WordPress maintenance and webmaster service plans.