You carefully planned your website and you’re pleased with the new traffic it’s bringing to your business.
You keep your blog updated and market your site, but you’re forgetting one key step – website maintenance. Maintaining a site is more than just updating content or installing WordPress updates.
Website maintenance is crucial to keeping your site online, providing optimal performance and keeping visitors safer. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone else, make sure these key tasks are covered.
Updating your core software, such as WordPress, along with plugins and themes is one of the most important tasks, but it’s still often overlooked. Updates don’t just deliver new features. They also provide performance and security updates. All you have to do is look at WordPress’s list of version releases to see how vital each one is. For instance, an update in late 2015 took care of a dangerous cross-scripting vulnerability.
Many site owners avoid doing updates because of potential compatibility issues. This is why it’s a good idea to hire a company to do it. If something doesn’t go right, they’ll know how to fix the problem quickly while still keeping you updated.
Updates are important, but what happens if something goes wrong? If you’re backing your site up regularly, you can at least roll back to a recent update, avoiding as much downtime as possible. Ideally, your database should be backed up daily and your files at least weekly. Backups are the quickest and easiest way to recover after a hacked site, bad theme installation or any other major site issue.
Don’t assume your site’s fully optimised just because the pages load. Website maintenance involves checking how quickly pages load and determining which elements might be causing poor performance. As Walmart.com discovered, even a single second improvement resulted in a 2% conversion increase. With 57% of visitors leaving sites that take three seconds or longer to load, it’s vital to look at performance and consistently work to optimise your site.
Elements, such as large images and messy coding, often increase loading times. Sometimes it takes a professional to dig deep to uncover what issues your site might have.
Slow loading pages are one thing, but no one will wait around if your site goes down completely. Uptime monitoring involves seeing how long your site stays up along with total periods of downtime. A site going down is a red flag that something’s wrong, with the exception of planned downtime during low traffic periods. It could mean the site’s been hacked or has a virus. It could indicate a problem with your host or server.
You want your site available at all times. Keeping track of uptime helps you keep your site online as much as possible while catching potential problems early.
According to WhiteHat Security, 86% of their tested websites had at least one security flaw with 56% having more than one. Hackers don’t care how big or small your site is, they just want access. For instance, getting full access to your site could allow them to send out legitimate looking emails to your email list, infecting each user who opens the message. Unsafe sites are often blocked by Google, leaving visitors seeing the warning message from above.
Security scanning searches for security flaws and viruses on your site and server. While you might not be able to prevent everything, the sooner you do find a problem, the quicker you can resolve it, keeping your site and visitors safe.
Site Tweaks And Updates
Website maintenance is more than security, backups and uptime monitoring. It’s also about making regular tweaks and site updates. For instance, you might want to change your site’s layout or add a new contact form. It’s usually a good idea to make a list of improvements or changes you want to make and take care of a few each month.
Obviously, if you run into bugs or glitches on your site, this goes under the tweaks and updates category. Many site owners rely on a professional company to handle these issues. Some regular maintenance plans include bug fixes and support calls.
Owning a website means having to deal with website maintenance. The two go hand-in-hand. It is a time consuming process, but crucial to your site’s health and performance. You have two main options – do it all yourself or hire someone else. Most site owners opt for the latter to save time and money. Besides, having a professional do it means you know it’s being done right.
Know you need site maintenance, but don’t have time to do it yourself? Don’t worry. Let WP Get Support handle all your site maintenance needs.
Image: Brian Kelly