Updating WordPress & Plugins: BEWAREApril 7th, 2014

beware-wpOne of the reasons clients love having a WordPress site is the ability to do a lot of things themselves.  Great, right?  Why then do I preach that you need professional management with WordPress?

Because there are some treacherous roads you need to cross.  Namely, plug-ins and WordPress updates. When you log into your WordPress dashboard you’re typically greeted with what plugins need to be updated and if there is a core WordPress update. Because they’re basically automatic updates you go ahead and do them. 9 out of 10 times this works fine.  The 10th time however you blow away your website entirely or screw up functionality or display.

Here are 3 cases that illustrate my point:

Case number one:
I had a simple WordPress point release. I had done this update to 20 other sites. But on this one site I clicked update and all of a sudden the screen went white. Nothing, zero, zilch, ugatz.  Site was gone. Fortunately, I back up my sites on a regular basis, and in this case had just taken a full backup. Getting it back was not as easy as you might think even with backup plugin. Restore failed. I was forced to FTP the backup files to the site. Luckily this took care of it and the client site was only down for a matter of minutes.  But, imagine Joe client who doesn’t have the skill set nor the ability to get their site back, their business literally could be crippled for days.

Case number two:
I had a notification that an e-commerce client had an update to their UPS plug-in. Seemed like a very simple update, according to the documentation. I made the update, to the site did some testing. It seemed to be okay. But, I was wrong. When you added something to your cart, you got a PHP fatal error. Again, luckily I had just taken a backup and could restore the plug-in to the prior version.  If not, a business which relies almost 100% on their website would have been down. While I am not a genius, I do know how to backup properly and I do know how to restore. And if push came to shove I had the whole site backed up on my server daily. So I could’ve gotten the client back up and running relatively quickly.

Case number three:
I have a client which uses a web calendar. The plug-in update came and again seem pretty minor. Well, this update actually disabled the backend.  You could not get to the dashboard! And now luckily, again I knew what to do and once I disabled the plugin I could go back and grab the backup and again restore the old version. If not, the client would have been out of luck.

Bottom line:
Managing a WordPress site is not as easy as they make it sound. There is a lot of things you need to know in order to keep it running smooth 24/7/365. So make sure you have someone on your side helping you manage your website. That doesn’t mean you can’t do certain tasks yourself and save money. But you need someone in your corner to help you, especially in those times when you have problems. Not to say that that experts don’t have problems as well, we do. But part of being an expert is knowing how to solve those problems which at times can seem insurmountable. If you need help with your website management, please contact us at RooSites. We are happy to help.

5 Rules for Better Website SupportOctober 26th, 2013

While we have been lauded for great website support, I really think it comes down to 5 simple rules I follow. (…and so should your website management company)

  1. Answer all support requests the same day. Respond back to your clients quickly. Waiting days and weeks is unacceptable. Even if a request will take days to complete, let clients know you are on the job.
  2. Use a ticketing system. Support tickets that are opened automatically when a customer emails a certain address are best. Then clients can track progress.
  3. Test and backup. No matter how simple a change is, make sure you check your work. And if a change is major, take a full backup first. you will save you and your clients agita down the road.
  4. Ask questions: If you don’t 100% understand what your client is asking for, ask questions. Your work will be more accurate and you will avoid re-work.
  5. Let a client know you are done. (or close the ticket with a note) You would think this would be a no-brainer, but I have heard of companies that will make a change and not even let the client know.

While it is true that we close 99% of requests the same day, this isn’t possible for every company. But every rule I mentioned and follow is doable for every company.   If your website management company doesn’t follow these simple rules, contact RooSites today.

 

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