Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, right? But trust me when I tell you I can’t tell a joke for the life of me! I was out watering my flowers, listening to the birds singing with the droning lawnmower music playing in the background. Just as I finished watering the pansies I heard the horrible grinding sound of metal on metal and then, silence. What do a mower, a fence and a lawnmower have to do with website maintenance? https://triciaisham.com

I stood there wondering if I should check on my older neighbor, Ms. Nancy who was providing the freshly-mown-lawn scent, and just as I decided I should investigate she came sheepishly around the corner. She had mown over one of those short fences designed to keep bunnies out of her garden. Let’s talk about that fence. This 12-inch-tall, wire fence had an important job to do, to keep the bunnies out of her strawberries. It was doing its job pretty well, thank you very much, but it had a major flaw, per Ms. Nancy. It was green. She didn’t see it sitting there stuck in the ground doing its job nicely. To be honest, she kind of forgot about putting it there. Oh, the poor lawnmower. I helped her turn it over and the wire fence was all tangled around the blades. We assessed the damage and she became determined to fix this herself. She disappeared into the garage for several minutes and came out with about five different types of wire clippers and then set to work. I hung around for moral support, considering whether or not to retreat back into the house and leave her to it or just pop in to get some Pom poms, come back out and cheer her on. I chose moral support. After several minutes of hard work and strategic clipping, we tipped the mower upright and she tried it out. A minute later the lawnmower was once again the backdrop for lovely bird music as I finished watering my flowers.

Your plugins and theme are like the fence

Whether you’ve done the DIY route or rely on a professional (um, like me) to create your website, you know that there are a lot of parts and pieces that go into making it run smoothly and accomplish your goals. Just like a lawnmower, it needs attention sometimes to keep it in tip-top condition and can sometimes get snagged up. Your plugins are like the fence. They do their job so nicely you often forget they are there. You actually may not even realize you have these components to your website if you had someone else create your site, but trust me, they are there! And periodically they will need some attention to keep them updated, secure and playing nicely with your theme.

Occasional Maintenance Required

Your theme and WordPress core files make up the basics of your website and are like my friend Nancy’s lawnmower. Just like a lawnmower that needs occasional maintenance, you need to check your site all over to make sure it continues to run smoothly (and sometimes the plugins can cause problems!) Occasionally the WordPress Core files, theme files, and plugins conflict with each other and someone needs to examine them closely and do some investigative work to discover what’s causing the problem. Other times its obvious what’s causing the issue, and you need to go on a hunt for another solution. This is sort of like with the lawnmower. Ms. Nancy knew what the problem was (running over the fence) and knew how she could fix it (removing the fence tangled in the blades) but wasn’t sure what tool was best to fix it. Lucky for her she had a plethora of tools to work with!

Tools for the job

When you purchase a website package from me, an added benefit is receiving files and tutorials that walk you through how to maintain your website to equip you to better care for your website and make an educated decision about whether you need to offload website maintenance to someone with more skills and more time. If you decide to add on a monthly care package, I handle checking for updates and other tasks as part of my weekly and monthly website maintenance for you and keep your site humming along smoothly. If a plugin does cause a snag, I’ll get everything back up and running in no time (and no one needs to run back into the house for pom poms to cheer me along.)

Action Step

If you’ve gone the DIY route and have created your own website, log into the backend and check for any updates that need to be made. If you have any, make a backup of your site and install the updates. Then put it website maintenance on your calendar for, at the very least, once every month. If you’re planning on having a website created for you, do a little research on what it takes to keep it up and running smoothly. Look into what might happen if you don’t, whether because you are busy doing what you do best, or just don’t have the know-how. Then consider whether contracting with someone for a monthly website maintenance/care package will be a benefit for you, or whether you’ll be in the position to handle this work yourself. Download a Quick Price Sheet for more information.