You wouldn’t spend good money on a new car only to neglect its basic care and maintenance. So why neglect your website, which for many businesses, is the first face your customers will see? Website maintenance tasks aren’t difficult to do, it’s just that it is easy to brush off until the next day, and the next, and the next.
Don’t make this mistake because a small task can very quickly turn into weekends spent behind a computer screen. This article is broken up into two parts. First, I’ll talk about why it is important to perform these simple website maintenance tasks. Next I’ll tell you how to do them.
So, why it is important to keep your website up to date?
Website Maintenance Tasks – Security & Increased Capabilities
WordPress is an endlessly evolving tool that is constantly being improved and updated to keep up with new web capabilities and plugins. If you do not update WordPress, your website will not be able to take advantage of these increased capabilities. These updates also feature fixes to bugs found in the previous version and improved security to keep your website safe.
When you update WordPress, your theme and plugins, you are ensuring that you have the best security available at the time rather than leaving yourself vulnerable to hackers. For example, just this past December, over 100,000 WordPress sites were hacked through the Slider Revolution plugin. Read about it here.
Website Maintenance Tasks – Check for Dead Links
Check that the links on your website are active. Dead links make your website look amateurish and take away from your credibility, so check them often to make sure that they are taking your readers where you want them to go. I know that if I was considering a purchase from a site with a bunch of dead links, I would seriously reconsider based on this apparent lack of quality control.
Website Maintenance Tasks – Make Your Site Easier To Find
Your SEO rankings are affected by the addition of fresh, new content to your pages. When the content of your website corresponds with the popular search queries of the public, your ranking will improve. This Michigan Tech articles agrees.
I remember finally finishing my first website. I felt liberated because I thought I could check it off my list and put it to the side. Wrong.
It wasn’t long that I noticed my site wasn’t showing up until page two from a very specific google search.
Avoid a stagnant site by making regular changes and keeping your material fresh.
Website Maintenance Tasks – Backups Avoid Catastrophes
Back up your website. Your site has taken countless hours to plan, create and modify, but it could all be gone in the wink of an eye or the crash of a server. I’m still scarred by unsaved college essays lost that I lost to a computer that decided to shut itself down. This is like that, multiplied by a thousand.
Don’t count on the backups of your host and don’t think that it can’t happen to you. If it can happen to Amazon.com, it can happen to you.
Great. So now you know some of the most important reasons for providing your site with regularly scheduled maintenance. No, really. It’s a good idea to actually make a schedule for this maintenance so you don’t forget or continue leaving it for tomorrow.
Now you might be wondering how to do it. Fortunately, it is often as simple as the click of a button.
Website Maintenance Tasks – How to Update WordPress
On most servers, current WordPress versions can be updated right from your dashboard with the click of a button. Remember, you should always backup your website before performing any updates.
Click on the update circular arrows at the top of your page to view all WordPress, theme and plugin updates. Click the Update Now button and your website should be updated automatically. If you experience any difficulty with the one-click option, you can also update your WordPress website manually.
How to Find Dead Links
When it comes to checking for dead links, don’t worry. There’s a plugin for that. You can click on plugins at wordpress.org to find the plugin directory. From here you can search for Broken Link Checker, install and activate it to automatically search your site for broken links and determine your best option to fix them.
Websites like brokenlinkcheck.com can also help you find broken links by simply imputing your website domain.
Create Meaningful Content
Yes, creating new content for your website is a good idea. No, creating poor quality content for the sole purpose of SEO rankings is not a good idea. So how do you continually keep your content fresh when you’ve run out of ideas? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Top 10 lists are always there in a pinch. Television sitcoms have been doing these funniest moments episodes for years and they seem to work. The same can be done with your website or blog.
- Ask the audience. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or the people who read your site for suggestions. You can even create a survey to make it more interactive.
- Give an honest and fair review of the latest movie, book, household item, or something that is related to your area of expertise or your website.
- You don’t always need to be the center of attention. Solicit guest writers to submit content on a particular theme.
- You can find some more ideas for creating content creatively here
Options for Backing Up Your WordPress Site
Should you backup your website? Absolutely.
How often should you make backups? That depends.
Websites that are constantly creating new content on their site may need to make daily backups while others who add content much more sporadically might be able to get away with weekly or even monthly.
No matter where your website falls, make sure you get in the habit of backing up. There are a number of plugins that can be configured to perform updates automatically, so you don’t even need to think about it. There are plenty of back-up plugins to choose from so always go with the one with the best rating, comments and make sure there is a community behind it constantly answering questions.
Keep in mind that not all backup plugins are free, but when it comes to saving your site, you might want to consider the quality of the product and whether it will actually do what you want. Three of the most well rated plugins include: VaultPress, BackupBuddy, and BackWPup.
You do not need to use plugins to backup your site, of course. You can easily use cPanel to back-up your site but do be careful not to go over your amount of space like we did once.
You have invested a lot of time and possibly even money into your website. This is the face of your business and is often the deciding factor in whether or not a person contacts you for your service, makes a purchase from your website or follows your blog.
Check out these sites for additional tips on website maintenance:
- how to maintain a website
- 8 Essential Website Maintenance Tasks
- WordPress Security: 10 Crucial Website Maintenance Tasks
Summing it all up
Keep your site running healthy like a well-oiled machine for years to come by following these simple tips and forming good maintenance habits. After all, it is hard enough to bring customer traffic to your website for a first time. Make sure that once you get them there, you keep them there because you will rarely have second chance.