With over 40% of the internet’s web platform marketshare, we have a responsibility as WordPress developers to increase the overall WordPress site health of these websites.
Years ago, when we were just your standard web agency with no specific niche, we serviced all kinds of customers. In time, we realized a few important things:
- We were getting more and more requests for WordPress work
- WordPress was flexible enough to fit most demands and budgets
- It was already powering 20% of the web and growing quickly
So we decided to double down on this trend and become specifically a WordPress shop.
Soon After the WordPress Site Health Issues Begun
After becoming the go-to WordPress team, we obviously began managing many different WordPress sites. There was a big variety, from small to large, large e-commerces, small mom and pops, well known retailers, restaurants and many more. However a consistent theme started to emerge.
We realized from our professional background that it actually took a decent amount of work to get WordPress to perform well in terms of page load times. We also began to have some of our sites hacked or compromised in some way.
We quickly remedied the problem on our end by holding ourselves to a higher standard when it came to creating and maintaining new sites. However, we were often exposed to customers handing us the keys to their old WordPress sites, or auditing sites that wanted to work with us. The trend was clear:
WordPress was a cesspool of poorly maintained, vulnerable, slow websites.
Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t WordPress’s fault necessarily. It was simply symptomatic of the low barrier to entry that it took to create a WordPress site, without the webmaster realizing there was much more to creating and maintaining a website than having something appear on a domain.
The trend grew larger and larger over the years and we employed more and more tactics to make sure the websites to which we held the keys remained secure and of high quality. We started guaranteeing pagespeed scores and hadn’t had a compromised site in years. However, this wasn’t the case for the sites outside of our immediate purview.
This started to really concern me when I coupled that with the knowledge that WordPress was now powering 40% of the web. On top of that, as a craftsman of quality websites myself, I couldn’t in good conscience work in an industry with such a plethora of poor websites.
Grading WordPress Site Health
I decided to do something about it. It started as an internal tool to monitor our own websites for any changes in site health, like out-of-date plugins, expiring domains or decreasing pagespeed. Oftentimes, simply publishing the wrong type of content by the customer could affect these things so we needed proper monitoring.
Then I realized, why not notify everyone, not just our customers? Many of these poorly performing website owners didn’t even realize their site was out-of-date or slow. Why not notify them? So I created WP Watch, a WordPress site health monitor.
We recently launched it and have scanned and notified over 5000 WordPress site owners of their WordPress site health status.
Our next step is to not only scan and notify, but do relevant statistical analysis on certain segments. Since we are a Canadian WordPress company, the first segment will be an entire scan of our estimated 750,000 WordPress sites in Canada (.ca domains). Stay tuned for some interesting findings.