WordPress maintenance is an often overlooked requirement after a web site goes live. After a new WordPress website goes live, there are a number of key maintenance tasks that need to be attended to on a regular basis. If you, the web site owner, haven't got a plan in place to handle this, you may find yourself dealing with some unnecessary web site down time.
To understand why maintenance is necessary, a brief outline of the nuts and bolts of WordPress is necessary.
WordPress Maintenance - What is a WordPress Plugin & why should I maintain it?
Think of WordPress as an eco-system of software. You have the main WordPress package which is a very solid package for creating and maintaining web pages. On top of that you also have plugins. Plugins are small to large software packages created to handle specific tasks on your WordPress web site. That task may be as simple as integrating some social buttons, or as complex as an entire shopping cart system like Woocommerce. Plugins can be free or paid items and they are essential for extending WordPress's capabilities into many very useful areas.
Plugin updates - New features & security
Plugins are not static. They are developed and improved over time to include new features. As the features are added, the plugin may need to be tweaked to enable it to work with the latest browser technologies, or latest capabilities of WordPress. The plugin may also need to be updated to ensure that it contains no security vulnerabilities.
WordPress updates - New features & security
As mentioned above, WordPress itself is also a product being constantly improved and updated with new features and functionality. Security updates happen automatically these days. However, other updates that include new functionality need to be manually updated.
Your responsibility as the web site owner
You as the website owner may be able to complete the tasks outlined above if you have full admin access to your website's admin area. (You may only have editor access which only enables you to edit web page content.) However, generally speaking, most web site owners do not want to handle the task of regular WordPress maintenance. With that in mind, it's important that an experienced web design professional be contracted to handle the updates on your behalf.