WP Stagecoach has been acquired by the WP Masters! Please visit this page for more information.

The Importance of WordPress Site Maintenance

The New York Times article entitled “Let’s Get Excited About Maintenance!” is well worth a read.  The authors, Andrew Russell and Lee Vinsel, point out that our culture tends to value innovation and the creation of new things, but we do not pay as much attention to the more important task of maintaining what we have.

Americans have an impoverished and immature conception of technology, one that fetishizes innovation as a kind of art and demeans upkeep as mere drudgery…In the computer industry, software maintenance — that is, fixing bugs and distributing upgrades — can account for more than 60 percent of total costs. According to one study, roughly 70 percent of engineers work on maintaining and overseeing existing things rather than designing new ones.


As a WordPress developer who has built hundreds of websites for clients, I see this attitude all the time. People have come to expect that it might cost several thousand dollars to build a website, but then are surprised to learn that they will have to continue to spend time and money to take care of their site.  I have seen clients pay over $10,000 for a website, and then balk at having to pay $35/month for good web hosting. They are even more startled to learn that they will need to continue to work with a developer to do maintenance tasks on the website, or learn to do maintenance themselves.

Regular maintenance is the most important thing you can do for your website

Why does your website need maintenance?  You’ve just spent a bunch of time and money getting it set up exactly right, so why do you need to keep working on it?

There are several reasons that your site will always need maintenance:

  • Updates: Developers constantly update WordPress, themes, and plugins.  You might think “I don’t need any new features!” but new features are only one of many reasons why developers release new versions.  They often fix security problems: out-dated plugins are the biggest reason WordPress sites get hacked.  Updating WordPress, themes, and plugins regularly is absolutely essential to keeping your site safe.
  • New content: You put a lot of time and effort into getting all of your content just right on your website, so why would you want to change it?  Well, search engines favor websites with new content, so the more you can update your blog or news page, or add new pages to your site, the better your SEO rankings will be.  Plus, you want to make sure your information is up to date.  If your store hours change, or you’ve joined the latest trending social network, you want to make sure your visitors know.
  • Fresh look: No matter how good your designer is, your website is going to start to look dated after a few years, if not even faster.  You might not need to do a complete overhaul, but you’ll want to make a few design updates at least every few years.
  • Moving web hosts: Switching to a different web host is a huge pain, but there are several reasons why you will probably end up moving to a new host every once in a while.  The service at your current host might decline, or you might find a new host that provides better features.

Website maintenance might not be as exciting and revolutionary as building a new site, but it is absolutely essential.  You will need to perform maintenance tasks on your WordPress site on a monthly, if not weekly, basis.  It sounds boring and tedious, but it doesn’t take much time, and will save you a lot of time and headache in the long run.  Your site can continue to thrive for years if you take good care of it.