A website is like an organism – it grows, it changes, and it evolves over time, a lot like your company. As technology expands and improves throughout the internet, so must your website to accommodate those improvements and stay compatible. Falling behind the technology curve can mean exponential losses in readership or site traffic. With the current rate of tech evolution, falling behind even 1 year could mean the difference between 5,000 views per month and 5 views per month.
One good example of this is responsive layouts. In 2014, Google began penalizing page ranks for any website that was not fully responsive on all devices. For many websites that continued to keep their non-responsive layouts, traffic fell almost to zero.
At this point in time and in the near future, there are really only two major guidelines for ongoing maintenance to ensure that your site is staying up to date with technology and remains accessible to all readers. Completing these updates a minimum of twice per year is the recommended best practice:
- Always complete a full site and database backup before updating the WordPress core software and any Ecommerce software plugins. The core software update releases generally contain security updates and are always recommended. Making a backup first guarantees that if something breaks during the update, you can restore the backup and won’t experience any down time.
- Keep your plugins and themes updated at all times to avoid a security breech. Over 90% of ALL instances of WordPress hacking is due to out-of-date plugins or old themes. If you are not using a theme or plugin, it should be deleted entirely.