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How Web Maintenance Will Improve the Results of Your Publishing System

Web maintenance is required for any well-oiled Mequoda System

Over the past few months, we’ve been strongly encouraging our clients to upgrade their Haven Nexus Systems.

Haven Nexus CXMS is a state-of-the-art SaaS tool built, owned and maintained by Mequoda to enable all the functionality that multiplatform publishing businesses need to be successful and profitable. Our operating environment includes a state-of-the-art LAMP data center and is built on an open source core and is compatible with WordPress plugins.

If you’re wondering what a Haven Nexus System looks like, Mequoda.com is one example, but we also recently launched systems for LeadercastForester Network and Metro Parent.

Like any website, web maintenance is required regularly. When you’re running on an open source platform like WordPress, you have the benefit of a team who is constantly improving the codebase for better security, compatability, and keeping its architecture seach engine optimized.

Although the questions and answers below serve as a memo to our clients, any publisher can suffer from the very real implications of ignoring web maintenance. Even if you’re not a Mequoda client, if you’re running WordPress and WordPress plugins, the following list may guide you as a template, especially if you’re trying to convince the rest of your team to upgrade your current versions to the most updated versions.

Why should I upgrade my website?

There are many reasons why it is essential to upgrade your website every 6-12 months. Upgrades of Haven WordPress and all plugins are required for:

  • Security: Keeping your website up to date will enhance security. The previous two WordPress releases (versions 4.2.1 and 4.2.2) were updates to reduce cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. It is essential that we upgrade the website to the latest version of WordPress to reduce security exposure.
  • Performance: Several of the recent WordPress releases included updates to improve performance of queries that run on the website. Upgrading WordPress and the plugins, allows the website to take advantage of these performance enhancements.
  • Bug fixes: WordPress and plugin updates include bug fixes.
  • Compatibility: Many plugins that we currently use on some of our websites to achieve specific functionality are not compatible with the version of WordPress that many of our sites are currently using. This can prevent us from being able to use certain functionality. Also, although security patches were released in WordPress 4.2.1 and 4.2.2, in many cases we have not been able to apply these patches to Client websites because they are not compatible with the version of WordPress currently on these sites.
  • Features: New versions of WordPress and plugins include improvements and new functionality. For example, recent WordPress versions have included major improvements to the user interface of the admin screens, which are used by our content editors.

What’s involved in an upgrade?

Upgrades generally consist of the following:

  • Upgrade of Haven WordPress from the outdated version to the latest version (4.2.2) – There are several security and functional updates in every new WordPress version.
  • Upgrade of  all active WordPress plugins to the latest versions.
  • Upgrade of all active Haven (Mequoda) managers to the latest versions.
  • If applicable, replacement of current SEO plugin with WordPress SEO plugin, which is now our best practice plugin for SEO.
  • Removal of any plugins and/or managers that are no longer needed or supported.

How long will the upgrade take?

  • It usually takes about 4-6 weeks to complete a website upgrade.
  • A detailed estimate will be provided based on each Client’s site. This estimate will include time for setting up the development and staging environments, upgrading WordPress, the plugins and the Haven (Mequoda) Managers to the latest versions, extensive testing, bug fixing, and retesting, and finally testing the upgrade process on the staging site.

If you’re a Mequoda Systems client, we strongly recommend that you contact your Systems Director to discuss your site upgrade. If you are not, but have questions about Mequoda Systems, get in touch with us by scheduling a 30-minute no-obligation call.

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