Strategic Website tips

7 Tips to Maintain Your Website

8 tips to maintain your website

It’s important to maintain your website in the same way that it’s important to maintain your home.

It takes a little bit of elbow grease to keep things in peak condition.  Without a good general maintenance schedule, it’s going to fall apart. If you set up a schedule to maintain your website then you shouldn’t have any problems.

Here are my 7 tips to maintain your website and keep it in tip top shape:

1. Backups

It’s so important to backup your website on a regular basis.  If you’re making edits to it pretty often, I recommend daily backups.  If you don’t make many changes to your website, you could do weekly backups.  A good rule of thumb is to backup your website before you make any changes to it.

Backups are important to have in case your site gets hacked or something breaks. Backups give you peace of mind that you can reinstate a version that you know worked.

Some hosting companies will offer backups.  My host, Siteground, does daily backups of my website. They keep 30 days of backups that I’m able to access in my site tools area and use to restore my website.

I also use a plugin called Updraftplus for off-site backups of my website. It’s a great plugin that performs complete manual or scheduled backups of all your WordPress files, databases, plugins and themes.

You can schedule backups to occur at a variety of different timings.  I have mine set to back up my website every 24 hours.  Updraftplus will save backups externally, so to your Dropbox or Google Drive account.  There is also an option to have your back up emailed to you.

You can also let Updraftplus know how many copies of your back up it should keep before deleting them. And, if you ever need to restore a backup you can do so right from your dashboard.

I configure Updraftplus on all the websites I design and have those backups saved directly to my clients’ Google Drive.

2. Updates

Updates are another essential aspect of maintaining your WordPress website. By updates, I don’t mean content updates. I mean regularly updating your theme, plugins as well as WordPress itself.

Updates are incredibly important for several reasons:

  • Most updates include security fixes.
  • Updates give you access to the latest features
  • Some updates are to ensure compatibility with the latest release of WordPress

You have the choice to make your updates manually or to set up automated updates. While automated updates may sound like a simpler way to go, I do not recommend doing that. I recommend doing them manually as updates can sometimes cause conflicts and break your site.  That’s why it’s a good idea to run updates on a staging site before doing them on your live site. And, it’s a good idea to make sure you visually look at your site after each update to ensure nothing has gone wrong.

It’s best practice to update your theme and plugins first and then WordPress.

3. Security Check

To avoid hacks and other security breaches, it’s essential to keep your WordPress site secure.  While any good hosting company will offer server security, meaning they scan for malware and viruses, the security of your website is ultimately your responsibility so it’s a good idea to take steps to make your site secure yourself.

Maintaining a regular update schedule will help with site security as well as using strong passwords. I check my site, and the sites I manage for my clients, for updates on a weekly basis.

Also make sure you delete users who no longer need access to your WordPress account anymore.

Another recommendation is installing a security plugin.  My preference is a plugin called Wordfence. Wordfence is great because it offers firewall protection and a malware security scanner.

4. Moderate Comments

If you have a blog on your website then you’ll want to consider if and how you’re going to use comments.  You don’t have to enable comments on your blog and on some sites it may not be necessary.  

Allowing comments on your blog can help you engage with your readers. Some comments will be spam and you’ll want to mark them as such so they don’t appear on your blog post.  Other comments will be worthwhile and you’ll want to take the time to moderate them.  What I mean by that is approving them and commenting back.  Just like social media, engagement is important.

If you decide to allow comments, in order to control them, you’ll want to carefully look at the discussion settings in your WordPress dashboard. And, you’ll probably want to install a plugin to help with spam comments like Akismet.

5. Test Forms

Chances are you have at least one form on your website – a contact form.  And, you may also have a sign-up form for a newsletter or a lead magnet as well.  These forms are incredibly important as they are your pipeline of future clients so it’s crucial that your forms are working. 

That’s why it’s a great idea to test the forms on a regular basis.  You can just go to your website and fill in the form and make sure you receive the submission.  It’s a pretty simple thing to do but is totally worth it. 

Sometimes something can happen with your email service provider and maybe they’re flagging your form submissions as spam and you’re not getting them.  This is important for you to know so you can fix it.

6. Create Content

If you want people to keep visiting your site and you want search engines to keep finding it, then you need to create content.  Google loves fresh content.

A helpful way to stay on top of creating content is to create a content calendar.  First you should think realistically about how often you feel you’ll actually be able to create content.  Don’t overwhelm yourself and say you’ll post new content twice a week if that’s unrealistic for you. 

You can start out by posting monthly if you want.  I’ve found that for me a realistic schedule is one new post every other week. A good idea is to save your post as a draft and come back and edit it. 

Also, you can use WordPress’ built-in scheduler to schedule your content in advance.

Remember you can repurpose your content. I use my blog posts as content for social media and for my newsletter.

7. Scan Site Visually

It’s a good idea to take a look at your website regularly to make sure everything looks as it should.  I recommend visiting each page and scrolling through to make sure it looks right.  It’s a good idea to do this on different devices – desktop, tablet, cell phone.  That way you can fix anything that doesn’t look right.

You’ll also want to look through your site after doing any updates to make sure there are no plugin conflicts that could have possible messed something up.

I view websites as living creatures that need to be taken care of and monitored regularly. To me, they are not something to be built and left. By reviewing your Google Analytics, you can see which pages are getting the most views and which pages visitors are leaving your site from. This is useful information that can help you to improve pages on your website.  Also, SEO, or search engine optimization, is something that takes a lot of time and refining and you should consistently be working on that as new keywords start to be used.  Websites are a wonderful tool for your business if designed correctly.  They can be working for you 24/7/365. 

If you found this information on how to maintain your website helpful, I hope you’ll share it with others who may benefit from it using the links below.

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