WordPress Website Maintenance What it is and why it matters
WordPress, like most software, is always changing. These changes can be minor, behind-the-scenes performance upgrades or more noticeable visual updates or functionality enhancements. Keeping WordPress and its supporting software up-to-date with monthly maintenance is an important part of keeping a website secure and functional.
There are three main parts to WordPress that all work together, helping to create websites that can serve either broad or very specific purposes. They are WordPress core, themes and plugins.
This is the foundation that everything is built upon. WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS). It uses a database to store information needed for a site to be dynamic and versatile.
WordPress is open-source software, meaning that anybody can use it, free-of-charge. There is a large community of developers who are always contributing to improving it and making it more secure.
Themes are what determine the look and feel of a website as well as its functionality. They range from very basic to all-inclusive.
Themes are available from multiple developers and are categorized as free or premium.
As you may have guessed, free themes are available free of charge. The quality of free themes varies drastically, depending on the developer.
Premium themes range in price from a few dollars up to a few hundred dollars. But on average, a quality theme will cost around $60.
So why pay for a theme if they can be had for free? Because you get what you pay for! Free themes are great if you’re just getting started with WordPress and are learning the basics. However, they typically offer little to no support if issues arise and are updated infrequently, if ever.
Premium themes usually offer more features than free ones and they come with one year of support and updates. Of course, this can vary from developer to developer, but those are the general terms.
It’s important to keep your theme updated from a security standpoint. And there are also times that a theme update will offer new functionalities that can make your site even better!
While WordPress core and themes provide the basics for a website, the real customizations are usually handled by plugins. Plugins are additional code that add specific functions to a site and there are thousands of them available.
As with WordPress themes, plugins can range from free to hundreds of dollars.
So what kind of functionality might a plugin offer? Here are a couple of examples:
E-commerce – Each year more and more people are shopping online. Let’s say you own a company that sells t-shirts. You’ve had a website up for a while now and it does a great job of informing visitors where your store is located and its operating hours. But they still need to show up in person to buy shirts.
But what if you could sell your shirts on your website? You’d instantly have more sales opportunities. Good news! If your site is built with WordPress there are a number of e-commerce plugins available. The most popular is WooCommerce. It’s free and has hundreds of extensions (both free and premium) that allow you to customize every aspect of an online shop.
Customer Testimonials – If you sell products or offer services then testimonials from your customers are almost a necessity. They allow potential customers to see what others have said about buying from or working with you.
As with e-commerce plugins, there are a lot of testimonial plugins to choose from and selecting the right one depends on the situation.
There are a lot of separate things that go in to building a site with WordPress. This makes it highly customizable and adaptable to almost any situation. In order to keep the site both functional and secure it’s important to keep the software updated with monthly maintenance.