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So what do you do if you don’t have a website?
You make one, or you hire a professional to create your website. And your site comes out beautifully. It is exactly what you wanted and you are ready to take on the world wide web!
But wait, is it really finished? Can you just leave it alone, “set it and forget it”, and it will continue performing with the security and speed that was originally intended?
Unfortunately, this is not how websites work.
Your WordPress website will routinely need plugin, theme, and core updates often, security checks, broken link checks, back-ups, and edits along the way. I perform these on mine and my clients’ websites weekly.
To keep your website performing the way it should you MUST maintain it.
You may think, “Meh, if something happens to my website, I will just cross that bridge when I come to it.” But if your site goes down, or gets hacked, or even if it just seems outdated and clunky, this can affect your bottom line.
Here are some examples of what may cause increased costs or loss of revenue if you don’t maintain your website:
- Your site may be too slow and people can’t stand the wait. Or the slow site speed affects your Google Ranking and when people search for your niche, you are further and further away from page one and people can’t find you. You lose those new clients before they can even find out about you!
- Something stops working on your website, your email opt-in stops accepting input, or your contact form keeps getting spammed. You want it fixed right away. Believe me, the rates for emergency jobs for website developers and designers are quite expensive, you end up paying high rates to get your website back to the way it should be.
- Your website is aging and looks clunky and you want to make some minor changes, but now your plugins and theme are all out of date and every edit you make seems to ruin some other aspect of your website. Where did that image go? Why is your default font changing on pages it shouldn’t?
- You haven’t checked on the security of your website and now you are hacked. There is malware affecting your website and google has shut down your website, telling people it is unsafe. You not only lose possible new clients, but also have to pay to have the website files cleaned and resubmitted to Google as safe again.
It is much smarter and more cost effective to prevent a problem with your WordPress website, than to fix one after it has already occurred.
There are really only 2 things you must do to maintain the security and functionality of your website:
- BACKUPS: Make sure that your website is performing regularly scheduled backups that are stored both on your website and in a remote storage site. I use Updraft Plus as the backup plugin on all my websites and the websites that I create and maintain. It is free and incredibly easy to use. I store the backups in my Dropbox account. It is important to save 2 or three of the most recent backups, you really don’t need to save more than that.
- UPDATE PLUGINS, THEMES, WORDPRESS: The elements that make up your website will need updating on occasion, I check all my sites every week and there is ALWAYS at least one thing that needs an update. This is incredibly easy to do, here is a step-by-step article that will help you.
- Note: When updating make sure to always take a full backup before and update in this order: plugins, themes, then WordPress.
- Second Note: In the article I shared, it gives instructions on how to set up your website to auto update your plugins, themes and WordPress. I would warn against this. It is always better to update yourself so that if any issues arise, you know exactly what was updated and when.
If this feels overwhelming to you, or you just don’t have the time to add one more thing to your schedule, there are many options for website maintenance plans from website developers and designers. I myself offer three tiers of maintenance plans and also have clients with customized plans to suit their maintenance needs and budgets. For many people it is better for them knowing that their site is safe and updated and they don’t have to give it a second thought.
Whether you choose to maintain your site yourself or hire someone to do the work, the most important thing is to make sure someone is maintaining your website and keeps your online business up and running smoothly.
If you have any questions or need help with any of the aspects of maintaining your website, feel free to leave a comment and I will assist you as much as I can.
Cheers to your healthy and safe website!