If a plugin that is important to the look and feel of your WordPress website is abandoned, it is best to start looking for an alternative.
Recently in the news, several popular abandoned plugins were purchased and used to disseminate malware. It is not recommended to keep using a plugin that has been marked abandoned at WordPress.og. So what should you do?
One, search for alternatives using the plugin name. In many cases others just like you have had a similar problem and have created, found, or written about good alternative plugins. Do some research and see if you can find a good replacement option.
Two, be sure is has been abandoned by visiting WordPress.org. Look to see if there are comments that point you to alternatives.
Four, leave the abandoned plugin installed and take your chances that nothing will happen and your site will not be hacked. Just be aware that as WordPress updates, the plugin may stop working entirely.
I like WordPress for blogs, but not for websites. Here’s one example of why I am not recommending WordPress for business websites.
Client A did a new website two years ago and moved to WordPress from PHP. They thought that they would be updating their content and so wanted an application that allowed staff to go in and make updates at will.
What happened in reality is that they never added their own content, they paid me to do updates. They had to buy a WordFence premium license to protect their WordPress website from hacking and then pay a webmaster to monitor files and plugins for updates as well as do monthly maintenance.
Now, one of the plugins that is integral to the look and feel of their theme, has been abandoned at WordPress.com. Deactivating the plugin makes the inside pages look bad. There does not seem to be an easy fix replacement for the plugin. It maybe that the best solution is to replace the WordPress theme in the next year due to the loss of this important plugin.
Client B has a PHP-based responsive website that is not WordPress. They have used their website since 2015. It still rates over 90/100 on the Google Page Speed tool in mobile and desktop. This client simply wants a new look and so is looking for a similar PHP responsive site design.
I personally feel that WordPress has a place, but is not my preferred application for website design. Too many clients want to keep their new website three to five years or longer. If you have a WordPress website and a plugin is abandoned what would you do if one is not readily available as an alternative? You’d have to simply start over and buy new.
Search engine optimization is not for every website. Although search engine optimization can really improve the organic search results for some websites, there are a couple of considerations when search engine optimization should not be considered and maybe a full site redesign may be a better investment of money and time.
When not to do search engine optimization:
If your site is created in a template and the site layout becomes broken when new content is added.
Your site looks funny in browsers other than Chrome and Firefox.
You have a site designed using Flash or tables for your layout.
Your website looks dated or non-professional.
As search engine optimization is not inexpensive, in some cases the money that would have been spent on search engine optimization would be better spent on a new search engine friendly design with built-in optimization features.
Plan ahead, bringing a new website online does mean that you will drop organic placement. It happens! Sometimes with redirects, after 4 to 6 weeks a website will pop back up in organic placement, but sometimes, the site stays down and does not regain the placement that the original site had.
It is a reality and one that you should honestly prepare for when you launch a new website. It may be smart to build your new website at a new domain, so you do not lose your organic placement of your old site. If that is not an approach you would like to take, know that you will drop and plan a pay per click budget to drive traffic to your new website and get started quickly with blogging and content creation to try to build inbound links and help your site regain position.
Many businesses will own multiple domains and it may make sense to use one of your domains and leave your legacy website alone. Especially if you have thousands of blog posts and thousands of inbound links.
If your site is relatively small and has under 150 inbound links, your placement is not so strong that you cannot overwrite the URLs on your site and damage your organic placement.
Be careful and thoughtful about the changes you want to make beforehand so you are prepared in case your site does fall significantly in the organic results.
Don’t damage your existing SEO when you launch a new website. Once you have changed page URLs, all inbound links pointing to your website (that helped you garner your old website’s placement) will be broken and the SEO juice gone.
I recommend taking time to do an .htaccess file redirect in the root of your server; list your old URLs and then redirect to the new page that is the best match. If you have a very large blog, consider leaving the old blog up and then starting a new blog site on the server, having multiple incidents of WordPress so you do not lose thousands on inbound links if you have been a very active blogger.
This is of particular importance when you are moving from a PHP or HTML site to WordPress as the format of your website links will be different.
For many well-placed websites, setting up a new domain and leaving the old site untouched may be the best solution. In fact, if the old site is well placed organically you can point your pages to your new website (not with a domain forward, but rather with links in the footer and content). This may pass some of your SEO capital to your new site to help it get established.
When you want a new site and build one, but do not come up with a plan to address your historical inbound links, you break what you had and literally have to start all over again building SEO placement. Don’t damage your existing SEO out of ignorance.
Overwriting your existing website with new URLs without a well-thought out process can really damage your online placement and may be very hard to recover from, so move thoughtfully and carefully.
Many business owners of websites older than five years are thinking of updating their websites this year. A frequent question we get at McCord Web Services is “Is WordPress right for me?” For some businesses WordPress may be a good fit, but it is important to understand that you do have options to a WordPress website.
In this series on WordPress or PHP, we will be looking at the pros and cons as well as benefits and challenges.
If you are considering a WordPress website please review my checklist below before you make a final selection and get your site into production. I encourage you to have a frank talk with your potential website designer and nail down some of these issues before you go to contract or fund the project with a deposit.
If you are going to use a pre-designed theme, all theme designers will have a “live preview”. Ask for that link and input the URL in Google’s page speed tester. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ Better yet, let your web designer know that you will not want to use any WordPress themes that do not score in the “green” zone on the Google Page Speed Tester.
Assure that your site designer knows that you will want to use AMP plugins to render your WordPress website to be AMP friendly. If the designer has used that theme before, ask to see the AMP page of a site. The page you see in your browser and smartphone should not have navigation links and elements with the content pushed to the bottom. It should have a narrow banner and content. If you see a lot of navigation links, it means that the theme’s navigation is not compatible with the AMP plugins. If your site designer cannot provide a page for you to use, consider buying the theme in question, having them do the installation, install the AMP plugin for your evaluation before you go further. Do not do site build-out until you verify that this is not an issue with your theme. It is by far better to write off the cost of the theme (typically under $100) and choose a new theme to get the AMP compatibility you really need.
Review with your web designer the type of theme they will be using. It is easy for another webmaster to come in and put in blog content. Will blog post pages have builder fields and have to be customized at installation or will the blog content entry fields be typical as in WordPress Twenty Seventeen or Twenty Eighteen. Does the blog require a featured image and what are the size dimensions of the featured image? For many sites using featured images an image of 1920 by 1080 is required. This requires the blog post installer to buy a special larger image and then resize it to fit. This is an added expense that you should know about before you purchase your theme or go into production as you will incur additional costs.
Let the website designer know you are serious about security. All testing logins and user names and passwords at set up should be complicated and never use admin or default settings. After launch WordFence Premium can be added for additional security and firewall protection, but don’t allow your site to be hacked while in the design phase through lax security.
In our next blog post on Wednesday, we will discuss why there has to be such a focus on page speed for your new website.