Gone are the days when you didn’t have to update your website and it continued to function into all eternity. With all the updates to the web browsers, Google algorithms, theme updates, and WordPress updates, it can be a daunting task to maintain your WordPress website. In case you want to take a crack at it, I’m going to give you the top 3 ways to manage your own WordPress website maintenance.
It does take time and diligence to maintain a WordPress business website, which is why most people have a professional manage it for them. However, you can do the 3 suggestions I make in this article to manage your own website maintenance.
Before I begin, I’ll preface by saying you need to know a little bit about how to use WordPress, and what needs to be updated. The good thing is, I’ll tell you what you need to focus on updating the most and why. The first and most important thing you need to do is to backup your website.
1. Website Backup
If you don’t do anything to maintain your website except this first item, then you’re a step further than most companies. The most important thing you can do is backup your website in case something does wrong. If you didn’t notice by now, something always goes wrong with technology, so let’s have a website backup as insurance.
I know there are many apps and plugins to backup your website in some mysterious cloud somewhere, but ALWAYS have a backup stored somewhere other than your WordPress instance. That means you should download an actual zip file and store it on your cloud storage or your desktop storage. I recommend the ManageWP plugin. I use it very heavily for my website maintenance program and it’s the easiest for a non-technical person to manage.
2. Update Your WordPress Core, Themes and Plugins
This second set of items typically go hand in hand. You’ll find that WordPress puts out updates quite often. I feel like I notice a dot release every month or so. Typically when WordPress Core updates, then all the themes and plugins update to work properly with any changes WordPress makes. It’s essentially a domino effect if you will.
This is something you want to be careful with as plugins can break your website. It’s happened to me before with a Google Analytics plugin that was buggy. I couldn’t figure out why my website looked like it was made in the early 90s. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what had changed so I spent hours checking code, making corrections, backing up to earlier versions of the site. Then I remembered I installed that damn plugin and VOILA! It was fixed.
I know you don’t have hours to waste trying to figure out the needle in the haystack when your website does down, but it’s the nature of the website maintenance game and somebody’s gotta do it. So take my advice and start by updating your plugins, then your theme, and then your WordPress Core.
Try updating the plugins one-by-one if you are not a technical person so you will have a better idea of which one is breaking your website in the event that does happen. To see what needs to be updated, click Dashboard and go to the Updates page. This page will alert you when a plugin needs to be updated for the WordPress Core, Plugins, Themes, and language Translations.
3. Website Security
I know you may be thinking that nobody could possibly want to hack your specific website, but hackers are not picky. They hack any and everything that doesn’t have proper security, and as you can see with these banks and big box store data breaches, they hack sites with even the highest levels of security.
If your business is set up like mine with Fully Managed WordPress Hosting then your site has built-in security. Don’t worry though, there are a million security plugins for you to choose from. I found this great article from InfoSec Institute which lists the 8 Best WordPress Security Plugins. The top 3 are listed below.
- WordFence– this security plugin in the best in my opinion. It protects your website from malware and bruteforce attacks. One of the best things about this plugin is that it also scans your comments for malicious code. You’d be surprised how many bots are trying to hack or SPAM your website.
- BulletProof Security– this security plugin is another popular one. This plugin is great for providing firewall security, database security, and login security. One thing I really like about it is that it blocks failed login attempts and blocks security scanners, fake traffic, IP blocking and code scanners.
- Sucuri Security– this security plugin is well known in the industry. It offers the main security features like security activity auditing, file integrity monitoring, malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, and website firewall.
Can’t Do The WordPress Website Maintenance On Your Own?
That’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s noble that you’re willing to admit that WordPress Website Maintenance is best done by a professional. So many clients mess up their websites and a developer has to come in and fix it most of the time. It turns into a project that costs far more than just investing in a monthly maintenance program. I offer two(2) WordPress website maintenance services. Click the button below to learn more.