A brand new website is an investment. We all know how important it is to look after our investments.
Imagine a website as if it was a brand new car. All cars, regardless of their make, model and age need attention. They need to be looked after and cared for. Otherwise, eventually it’s going to break down.
Whilst many of our clients prefer us to maintain their websites with one of our care plans, some people would rather maintain their website themselves. This article will help you to maintain your website yourself to ensure your site is properly maintained.
There are a number of tasks that should be performed on a regular basis in order to keep your site safe.
Website & database backups
I strongly recommend backing up your site on a daily basis, at an absolute minimum your site should be backed up weekly. For those of you who’s websites have more traffic or are eCommerce based, you should be doing this even more frequently.
If something happens on your site, whether you’ve been hacked or you’ve or you perform an update which breaks something, a backup is your safety net. You’ll be able to restore your site back and have things working in no time.
Your hosting company may provide backups, however I strongly recommend backing up your site yourself as well!
Updates are so important. There are 3 areas you will need to update regularly. Themes, Plugins and the WordPress core.
I recommend updating every week, at an absolute minimum once a month.
It’s often a cumbersome task, however, if you ignore these regular updates eventually you’ll run into a problem which will likely be expensive and time consuming to fix.
There is a button that allows you to update all your plugins at once, however, I’d suggest manually updating each thing separately. After each update you should check the site and make sure everything is running smoothly. This way, if a conflict arises and something breaks, you’ll be able to quickly pinpoint which update has caused the issue.
If you do run into an issue, you can simply restore one of your backups! This is why backups are so important!
Website security monitoring
Just like most technology, websites are prone to security issues.
Website security issues can come in all different shapes and sizes. I’ve had the pleasure of helping a number of clients restore their sites due to hacks, in one particularly bad case, their site had been hacked and explicit content was all over their homepage. Not good!
You may also face security issues that implant adverts into your site, infections that can even pass on to your customers.
So how do we take care of the security of our site?
First things first, you need to be using quality hosting. Cheap hosting companies regularly oversell their shared hosting packages which make them more vulnerable to attacks.
Secondly, you should be using a security program. WebARX are a fantastic option if you’re willing to invest in the security of your site. If you have no budget, I’d consider installing the Wordfence plugin which will help track malware, suspicious log in attempts and more.
You can also check if your site has malware using Securi’s malware scanner.
Website Speed Checks
Monitoring your website’s speed is also important. When we finish a website we always ensure the site has a good loading time, however, as updates are performed, speed may change. A great free tool to test your website’s speed is GTMetrix.
Checking for broken links
Broken links are terrible for your google search rankings and your customers experience. Make sure to regularly check your site for broken links. You can do so using a free link checker.
It’s a shame to see so many website investments neglected due to more maintenance. Most of these tasks are difficult, however they can be time-consuming. Expect to spend around 3-5 hours a month maintaining your website.
I suggest adding a task into your calendar each week to ensure you don’t forget any of the tasks.
Rather someone else take care of it for you? At dcmDigital we have perfected our maintenance systems and invested in software to ensure we can provide an affordable service to maintain your websites for you with our care plans.
At the end of the day, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to keep your site up to date regularly than to wait for it to break.