For many business owners who have WordPress websites, the maintenance of their site is very much an afterthought. They only think about maintenance when they experience an issue rather than regularly carry out tasks, making them reactive rather than proactive.
Maintenance is a MUST for a successful website
I repeat. Maintenance is critical, and this is especially true if you’re processing personal information or transactional data. Reacting to data loss can be a costly strategy.
This proactive approach is 100% the reason why we offer our Website Care Plans. Your business has invested in your website, and that’s why it is imperative to ensure it’s protected.
Website Care Plans are, however, more than an insurance plan. Regular maintenance helps to minimise the risk of something dreadful happening while ensuring your site is running at its best.
If a care plan isn’t currently in the budget or achievable for your business, it’s essential to know what is required to ensure your site is always in its best form.
So, we’ve put together six key reasons why businesses should carry out maintenance tasks regularly and some tips on how to do it if a Care Plan is not for you.
1. WordPress Updates
Unavoidably, there are regular updates made to WordPress core files, plugins and themes. These add new functionality or are essential security fixes. You need to update these features regularly to protect the website, or before you know it, your website will be out of date. Before you run an update process, you must check that you have run a recent backup.
Having a clear backup strategy in place helps to protect the critical assets that are on your website.
Most of the time, your website host will manage all backups. Check this is how your host operates. Regardless, we always recommend having an additional backup option to fall back on.
Ideally, you should have an external backup process in place. A plugin that we use to automate off-site backup is UpdraftPlus. It has some great features, allowing you to automatically and regularly backup your website and sends it to a cloud-based service such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
We recommend backing up your website at least every week to ensure you’re not caught in a mess. In addition to this, you should be testing the restoration of a backup every month.
3. Testing Functionality
Every week, you should be testing the functionality of your website.
You need to test that all forms are correctly sending emails and being received. If you have an E-Commerce website, you should make a test purchase and ensure that it shows up correctly in the back-end and any transactional emails are sent out.
Testing functionality is vital, especially before important events in the calendar, such as a sale or promotion.
4. Uptime Monitoring
Uptime Monitoring is simply keeping an eye on that your website is online. Most of the time, offline websites are a sign of a poor quality web host. If you find that you’re getting downtimes regularly, look to change the web host. One of the tools we use is Uptime Robot. Ideally, Uptime should be used to monitor at least every 15 minutes, but preferably every 5 minutes. If there’s an issue, the service you use will notify you.
5. Security Scans
Regular security scans help mitigate possible issues. It might be worth noting here that no website is 100% secure from any attacks – that’s not possible; this makes ensuring your website is at least challenging to hack even more critical.
6. Speed Optimisation
With the number of businesses these days vying for the top positions in search engines, many factors can assist your company in ranking well.
One of these factors is ensuring your website is optimised to load as quickly as possible. Websitesetup.org states that your website should be loading in no more than two to three seconds. If it’s taking longer than this, there’s possibly something not quite right with your site’s setup.
One of the most common oversights in this area is the use of large images. To counter this, we recommend installing an image optimisation plugin such as Imagify.
If you’re still unsure what might be causing your website to load slowly, there are a bunch of great testing tools out there. The one we regularly use is GTMetrix.
TIP: Ensure you select your location when running a speed test, so the results are most accurate.
Now, of course, you may be looking at this maintenance list thinking, ‘I just don’t have time for this’ … and on that note, you’ll forgive us for slipping in a short pitch for our Care Plan services are still available to you, and you have options, it’s not, after all, one size fits all.
Feel free to have a look at what we offer or make an appointment to discuss your options.