This article was updated in March 2023.
Have you ever been in a bad relationship? A relationship in which your basic needs were not getting met? A relationship in which you were giving more than getting? We’ve all been there, especially when it comes to relationships with significant others. But when your relationship with your WordPress developer demonstrates some or all of the circumstances mentioned above, it’s time to get out!
For most businesses, your website is the first thing that your prospective clients see of your business. In many cases, it’s also the hub of your marketing and business development process.
If any of the five scenarios below sound familiar, and the quality and performance of your website is suffering because of your web developer, then it’s time to make a change.
Things aren’t moving fast enough
Is your site running slower than it should? Improving site speed leads to an increase in conversion rates and, ultimately, sales revenue. Faster sites tend to convert at a higher percentage because users are able to quickly achieve their goal for visiting and directed to the products they need in a timely manner.
There are a variety of factors that impact performance, which means your developer or development team should be monitoring your site on a monthly basis.
- Your hosting environment
- WordPress sites tend to run slower on shared hosting. Both speed & performance are impacted if a hosting server is not built specifically for WordPress sites.
- If your site is running slow, the hosting environment should be the first item to check.
- How your site was built
- A developer or development team should have built the website with best practices for performance and mobile responsiveness in mind.
- Certain WordPress themes are bloated with features that aren’t needed and these can cause speed issues on the website.
- Basic site optimization
- By implementing basic site optimization rules, you can typically boost a Google Page speed score by 10 points.
- Best practices include image optimization and minifying JS/CSS/HTML and browser caching rules.
Your needs aren’t getting met
Do you see updates pending when you log into the dashboard? Every WordPress site relies on plugins, software, and applications to keep it running.
Skipping updates for those plugins and software on your site is like skipping an oil change on your car. It’s okay to be one month overdue on an oil change, but if you skip all maintenance work on your car for half a year, your car will eventually break down.
The health of your website operates in the same manner. Having outdated software and plugins on your site is the No. 1 cause of infections and security breaches on WordPress sites. Every one of those WordPress plugin updates includes patches to fix security vulnerabilities. An expert PHP developer should be performing the updates on a monthly basis. An experienced developer can fix issues quickly in the theme, plugin, or database if needed.
They are never there when you need them
Does it take more than 2 business days to hear back from your WordPress developer? If you have a close relationship with a freelance developer and provide them with the majority of their work, you should expect to have reliable ongoing support. On the contrary, partnering with a freelance developer may impose challenges, since they are dependent on billable hours and are looking for new clients.
It’s very common to have a developer or designer who is super responsive during a website project. Then, after the site launches, you may no longer receive the same treatment. If you aren’t their “favorite” client at the moment, your project may be pushed to the end of the queue. If you find yourself emailing, texting, and calling your developer or tech support to get a response, then it’s time to get better support.
No shoulder to cry on
Do you have support in emergency situations? Even if you answered “no” to the previous scenario, this one may apply to you. If you have an emergency, relying on one individual for all your website needs is risky. That one person may be on vacation or unavailable during an emergency, such as your website going down.
Here’s when a website development agency comes in. If your go-to person is out of the office, there are other support representatives available to assist you.
Most development teams have a support queue with multiple support representatives able to help in an urgent matter.
Do you have all the critical security protocols on your site? Because of the popularity of WordPress, it is now one of the top platforms targeted by hackers. In March 2018, an estimated 50,000 WordPress websites were infected with cryptocurrency mining malware.
You don’t know what’s missing
At the very minimum, your WordPress site should have the following security measures implemented:
- Daily backup of the entire WordPress database: Having a backup of the entire site and database is important so you can restore a backup if the site is compromised and/or hacked.
- 24/7 security monitoring: Monitoring software can alert and block attacks to your website. Brute force attacks (where bots repeatedly try to guess the password to your website admin) are very common with an average of 26 million attacks every day.
- Monthly WordPress updates performed by a developer: The No. 1 cause of infection for WordPress sites is outdated software and plugins. In 2017, hackers defaced over 1.5 million WordPress web pages using a vulnerability in an outdated version of WordPress.
- SSL certificate (HTTPS): An SSL certificate is the backbone of the secure Internet. Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers now show warnings if a site does not have a valid SSL. A web developer should help you migrate to HTTPS, as migration errors can cause to redirect errors & downtime.
- Secured WordPress hosting with disk write protection: If your website is not on a secure server built for WordPress, it is very vulnerable to hacking. Shared hosting environments like GoDaddy & Bluehost are very risky because one infected website can compromise the other sites on the server.
If any of these scenarios rings a bell, it’s time to part ways with your go-to WordPress developer. Your business is constantly changing & evolving in order to stay competitive and your website MUST reflect those evolutions.
Finding a trusted partner to handle your website changes will allow you to focus on running your business and to have the peace of mind that your site is representing your business in the best possible way.