Keeping your WordPress site running should be a pretty standard affair, mainly due to how well the platform is developed. However, there are a few things worth checking in on now and again and we’ve put a list together of our top five.
1. Keep WordPress up to date
Keeping WordPress up to date is may seem like an obvious one to kick things off, but you’d be amazed at how many don’t. Some just ignore the updates, whilst others aren’t even aware of them or what they do.
So lets have a quick look at why this is quite important.
Firstly, and most importantly, security. WordPress is an open platform, anyone can download it, strip it down, and reverse engineer its processes to find potential ways to hack it. The developers behind WordPress are of course aware of this, and their regular updating of the application keeps as many problems at bay as possible.
Secondly, WordPress is always adding more features and getting better by the day. Gone are the days where this was just a blogging platform. So many tasks can be achieved with the content management system that the list of things it can’t do is growing ever shorter.
Lastly, but closely related to the second point, is the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your site. SEO is a big game now and the WordPress developers are well aware of this. They keep up with the latest standards, which is always going to help. If Google is looking at your site and your competitors, and the content is of the same quantity and quality, who is it going to rank higher, the one who’s bang up to date and on top of their game, or the one who’s not update for 12 months? Apply this logic all the way through your site and always aim to be the best!
*WORD OF WISDOM* – As with any software updates to the core system, everything else has to play catch up. It may well be that some of the plugins you use to power the functionality of your site have not yet been updated to work with the latest version of WordPress.
This could mean that updating WordPress could potentially break some of the functionality of your site. If in doubt, check with the author(s) of the plugin(s) before updating, and as with any major changes to your site make sure you have a back up before you do anything!
2. Change your Password
As you can probably tell, we’re all about security, backups and contingency plans!
This one is a fairly straight forward one, time to change your password (unless you’ve done it recently of course). If you’re on a newer version of WordPress (which you should be if you’ve followed point 1!) it will helpfully create a strong password for you.
3. Check for Backups / Perform Backup
There are 2 types of WordPress site owners when it comes to backups, those who have no idea on their backup situation, and those that have regular backups performed.
If you’re in the first category, you need to change this ASAP! If your website is hacked, or for whatever reason some or all of the data is lost, you don’t want to be bearing the stress and cost of trying to get back months or even years of work.
Your first and most simple port of call is your web hosting provider. Many good providers include backups free as part of their hosting plans. Either way, contact yours and find out if backups are being performed. If they are not, find out if they offer such a service and how much it costs. Depending on their answer you can do one of 2 things:
If the cost is low enough to be ‘worth it’ to make sure you’re not left up a creek without a paddle in the event of data loss/hacking, it’s probably best to go for it.
However, if they don’t offer the service, or you deem it too expensive for your needs, you can look at manual solutions, such as back up plugins. We regularly use one called Duplicator for backing up and moving sites, check it out to see if it will help you.
Finally, if you fall in to the categories knowing your site is being backed up you have one simple task, make sure your backup is still working, that you have a recent one and that it looks all ok.
4. Write a New Post
If you’re regularly adding new content to your site, you can skip this one.
However, if you haven’t added a new post to your blog/news feed for a while, now is the time to do so. Show your clients and prospective clients that you’re still around and on the ball. When you write something new it also gives you an excuse to shout about it on social media, giving you additional exposure when done correctly.
Also, if SEO is important to you, so should fresh content be. Google loves new content to devour, it wants to make sure its own results are up to date and relevant, and you can reap the rewards of that if you stay on top of things.
5. Get social
Share, share and share again! If you’re writing great content, get it out there as much as you can on social media (without spamming of course!). If you’re already doing a great job on Facebook and Twitter start thinking outside the box:
- Can you make your content visual and make it interesting on Pinterest and Instagram?
- What groups can you join on Facebook to promote your offering?
- Is your offering relevant to business and if so are you working on your LinkedIn profile?
- Have you signed up to social bookmarking sites such as Reddit and StumbleUpon?
- Are there any industry specific sites you can share your content on (e.g. Behance for designers)
Engage with othesr as much as you can. There are plenty of reciprocal groups looking to help other small business owners; find them, participate, and you’ll get results.
As with all things in life, the key to keeping things running smoothly is to keep on top of everything and make sure you have contingency plans in place. ‘Hope for the best, plan for the worst’ is a great saying which we apply to many things.
Now, go and achieve great things with your site!
If you need help with any of the above, come and say hi.