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Should You Hire a Website Developer to Update Your WordPress Website?

When you’re not a website developer, you only have two options: learn how to update and manage your own website or hire a developer.

It’s not impossible to learn how to manage your website, especially when you use a CMS like WordPress. However, there are a handful of reasons it’s better to hire a developer.

1. Some edits require advanced knowledge

Advanced knowledge is the number one reason to hire a developer to update your WordPress website. Some updates require more than editing text or uploading an image. For example, if you decide to add some JavaScript to your website, you can use a header/footer injection plugin. However, your newly added JavaScript might create a conflict with an existing plugin or even your theme.

A developer will know that JavaScript conflicts are common and they’ll have a system for identifying the conflict. For example, they’ll disable each plugin one at a time in order to identify the source of the conflict.

If the conflict isn’t caused by a plugin, they’ll temporarily activate a basic theme like Twenty Twenty and see if your theme is the problem.

Once a developer identifies the conflict, they’ll start working out a solution. If the conflict isn’t resolved by disabling your theme and/or plugins, they’ll look into the JavaScript.

Finally, if they can’t get the JavaScript to work without causing problems, they’ll find another script to accomplish the same goal.

2. If you make a mistake, you might ‘break’ your website

Making mistakes when editing your website is inevitable, even when using a content management system like WordPress.

Some mistakes can cause your entire website to break. Granted, most mistakes won’t really break a website – they’ll just cause an error that makes the site appear to be broken.

For example, if you edit your CSS file directly and omit a semicolon, your site will look like it’s broken. All you have to do is add that semicolon and your site will return to normal. The same goes for editing PHP – if you insert extra spaces accidentally, your site might look blank or return a parsing error.

The problem with making minor mistakes is that without development experience, you probably won’t know what mistake you made. Not knowing exactly how your site broke will make it difficult, if not impossible to fix the problem.

Common mistakes that break WordPress websites

According to Jetpack – one of WordPress’ most popular plugins – there are six common ways people break their WordPress websites:

  • Installing too many plugins. This goes back to plugins potentially conflicting with other plugins, your server settings, or your theme. The more plugins you install, the more you increase the chance of a conflict.

Common error messages include “Error Establishing Database Connection,” “Connection Timed Out,” and “Internal Server Error.”

  • Installing plugins or themes from random sources. Anyone can create themes and plugins, but not all of them will be properly made or secure. If you install a compromised theme or plugin, you could give hackers access to your entire site through malicious code (we help fix WordPress malware hacks).

Make sure you buy themes and plugins from trusted developers with a great reputation.

  • Editing code directly in the source files. If you’re not familiar with HTML, CSS, and PHP, editing code directly from your source files is the fastest way to break your website.

One of the biggest culprits is editing the functions.php file based on a YouTube tutorial promising to show you how to add a certain feature to your site. If you don’t understand this file, you shouldn’t edit the code.

  • Unpatched vulnerabilities caused their site to get hacked. Sometimes WordPress websites break because they’ve been hacked. The mistake that leads to a hacked website is usually not updating core files and plugins.
  • Out of date server software. Do you know what version of PHP your server is running? Did you know you can change your server’s PHP version?

Some themes or plugins require running a specific version of PHP. Most servers update to the latest version automatically, but not always. If you’re running an older version of PHP, and your theme requires the latest version, your site won’t function.

  • Lax user access permissions. When multiple users can log in and edit your site at the same time, you’re asking for trouble. WordPress isn’t like Google Docs where you can have multiple people editing the same file at once without any problems.

Small mistakes can cause lost revenue

While you’re trying to fix your mistake, your website could be down for hours, days, or possibly even weeks. Every minute your site is down is lost revenue.

On the other hand, when you have a website developer making your updates, they’ll be less likely to make those small mistakes. And, if they do, they’ll know precisely how to diagnose and fix the problem quickly.

A developer can complete updates faster

WordPress makes it relatively easy to update your website through a visual editor. If you don’t use the native visual editor, you probably have a visual editor plugin like WP Bakery. Many themes come packaged with some kind of visual editor.

Although visual editors are drag-and-drop, they’re not always easy to learn. Some visual editors have a steep learning curve with plenty of complexities you have to memorize just to edit a block of simple content.

When you hire a WordPress developer to keep your site updated, if they aren’t familiar with your visual editor they can usually bypass the editor and work directly with your HTML. For developers, editing content in HTML is usually faster than using a visual editor.

4. Your website will be more secure

How often do you update your core WordPress files and your plugins? If you’re not security-minded, you might skip these important updates. However, skipping updates can lead to your site getting hacked or even deleted.

Your website is more secure when you hire a developer on retainer to manage your site. They’ll log in regularly to check for updates and install them right away.

While some updates contain small fixes like typo corrections, layout adjustments, and feature improvements, some updates are actually patches. The difference between a feature update and a patch is night and day. Feature updates create a better user experience, but patches fix bugs and major vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit.

If you don’t have time to stay on top of updates, you’re better off hiring a website developer on retainer to manage your content updates and your core file/plugin updates.

Your time is money

What would you rather spend your time doing – watching a bunch of WordPress tutorials on YouTube? Or strategizing your next product launch with your marketing team?

Your time is valuable and is worth more when engaging in tasks that will grow your business. Only you can come up with your next product or service. Take your time back and hire a WordPress developer to manage your website.

You’ll get awesome customizations

When you’re in charge of updating your own WordPress website, you won’t really know what you can do to improve the way your site functions. You might have ideas here and there, but you won’t know how to implement those ideas. You can browse the internet for ideas, but you probably won’t find exactly what you’re looking for.

On the other hand, when you have a developer to update and manage your site, you can tell them your ideas and they’ll come up with a solution. If they don’t already know about an existing plugin, they can create a custom plugin that meets your needs exactly.

Hiring a professional developer is affordable

Most people would agree that hiring a professional website developer makes life easy. Did you know that hiring a developer to manage your WordPress website is easy and affordable?

Hiring a website designer is a worthwhile expense, but it won’t break the bank. You can hire a developer on retainer to perform regular maintenance and updates, or you can pay someone by the hour when you need them. It’s up to you and your budget.

Need a WordPress developer to update your site? We’ve got you covered

Would you like a WordPress developer to manage your website updates so you can have more time to yourself? No matter how comfortable you get with WordPress, nothing beats having someone else do all the work.

If you’re ready to delegate your website maintenance and updates, contact us today. At website.design, we love taking on projects for clients who just need a little help here and there.

Our team of professional developers will take on any responsibilities you’d rather delegate to the pros. Whether you need updates, maintenance, or even a site redesign, contact us today for a free quote.

Ryan Nead

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