In my business I get to work with so many entrepreneurs varying from those just starting out to the more seasoned pros. The majority of my work tends to revolve around WordPress websites whether it’s building a landing page, overhauling their design or adding new functionality.
Every website varies in complexity behind the scenes but one thing I notice on 9 out of 10 websites I begin work on is the lack of maintenance in place for the website. I log in and there are dozens of updates needed. Sometimes the website has so many fancy features installed on it, it takes FOREVER to load.
With the amount of work it takes to actually get together your website in the first place, it’s natural to feel like you can finally leave it be and put your feet up, but you’d be making a BIG mistake if you don’t put a plan in place to keep your WordPress website safe, secure and performing well. After all, for an entrepreneur your website is a VITAL part of your business success!
Did you know:
- 73% of WordPress websites are vulnerable to attack;
- 52% of reported vulnerabilities were from plugins;
- 90,978 website attacks occur every minute;
- 40% of your website visitors will bounce if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
That’s just a few reasons why taking care of your WordPress website is something you should make time for on a regular basis. Putting together a strategy to maintain your WordPress website doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming.
Here’s what you need to consider when putting your WordPress Maintenance strategy together:
This one is a biggie! You must have something in place to make sure regular back ups of your WordPress website are made so that if the worst happens and you lose everything – you can get everything back up and online in a few clicks of your mouse.
Some hosts do advertise that they take back ups of websites BUT I have heard of instances where when it has come down to the wire and the back ups were needed – they were nowhere to be found. Also some hosts have file size limits for backups which aren’t all that generous. I recommend sourcing your own solution (something like BackUp Buddy) to give you peace of mind.
As I make changes to my website at very random times rather than a set day each week I have my website backed up daily so that at the most I would only ever lose 24 hours worth of changes. If you run a website with multiple daily blogs or something like an e-commerce website you may want to backup as often as every hour. Only you can decide what is the right back up interval for your website.
On the Pretty Geeky WordPress Maintenance plans all websites are backed up daily with the frequency moving up to hourly for those sites that need more frequent back ups.
Theme, Core & Plugin Updates
Another biggie! You may have heard the horror stories of WordPress websites being hacked and people having a total nightmare on their hands trying to clean it up (not to mention a nasty dent in their wallet to pay for a company to clean the hacked website up!). A hacked website not only puts your visitors at risk but it also hurts your Google rankings so it’s vital you do all you can to prevent this.
One of the most common ways WordPress websites get hacked is via out of date plugins, themes and core files (core files are your WordPress versions). Schedule a time each week to go onto your website and update anything that needs updating to a new version.
The most ideal time is on a weekend, and if possible, during the early hours of the morning (as your website tends to have less traffic at this time – this is what we do on the maintenance plans for our clients). You can use tools to schedule updates (like ManageWP) or you can just make a reminder in a tool like Wunderlist or project management tool like Asana or Teamwork to head in at the weekend to do your updates manually.
Performance Checks & Improvements
In addition to helping keep your website secure, updating themes, plugins and core files helps to keep your website performing well. However, this is just one aspect.
The bigger your WordPress website gets, the slower it potentially gets. Using a tool like Google Page Speed Insights you can receive a rating for how your website performs and tips for how to improve your rating.
Remember – a slow website can result in lost visitors and thus lost business. It’s important to regularly check that your website performs well and take any steps you can to improve it.
You might be sat there thinking:”I’m small time, my website doesn’t have that many visitors – I seriously doubt I’ll ever get hacked”.
But you’d be wrong. Hackers aren’t looking to just take down the “big boys” who have millions of visitors every month. They look for ANY opportunity they can get – quite often there is no rhyme or reason to what they do or who they choose.
There are some easy steps you can take like making sure your WordPress login name isn’t “admin” (that’s the first thing they’ll try!) and having a strong password but there’s much more you can do to reduce your risk.
With a plugin like iThemes Security your website will be protected using:
- Brute Force Protection
- File Change Detection
- Lock Out Bad Users
- Strong Password Enforcement
- 404 Detection
- Malware Scanning
We constantly monitor our clients’ websites for any potential security threats and if anything is identified we’re on it immediately!
Optimising Your Database
Every time you create a new blog post or page and you amend it, it saves another version or draft that is stored on your website. Over time these can build up and take up space so clearing these out regularly is an important task to keep your website running well.
It might seem like a lot to deal with overall but to help keep on top of this you can schedule some time each week and create a checklist of all the maintenance tasks you need to do. Take some time to look into the various tools I’ve mentioned in this blog post as they will help you carry out your maintenance much faster.
If you’re baffled at the thought of trying to handle all this or you would rather take this task off your plate altogether you can outsource your WordPress Maintenance! Here at Pretty Geeky we have a range of extremely comprehensive WordPress Maintenance plans (a few of which even come with unlimited website edits with super fast turnaround!).