Website Maintenance is something we rarely ever think about, we tend to forget that websites are not just static images, but in fact they have many moving parts. Parts that can become outdated, bogged down, and vulnerable to security breaches. So just like a car needs regular oil changes, new tires, and a good washing every once in a while; your site also needs regular maintenance to run smoothly.
Backups are just like insurance for your website, if something goes wrong, you’ll always have a good copy ready to go. We like to set up automatic backups, so you don’t have to think about keeping your site safe. Those backups frequently go to either a Dropbox or a google drive account, where we know they will be safe and easily accessible if you ever need them. Those backups contain all your image files, content, and code, so you don’t have to worry about losing a single byte of information if something ever went wrong. So corrupted files, hacks, and accidents are nothing to worry about when you have a plan B.
Regularly testing your security is important to preventing security failure in the future. Adding interactivity to your website can sometimes open it up to vulnerability, but you’d never even know it without regular security tests. We like to check our websites about once a month to ensure everything is secure. You wouldn’t want to find out that your locks were broken AFTER a break in so why let it happen to one of your most important business assets. But what do you do if you find any security issues? That brings us to our next point.
Staying up to date
Keeping everything up to date is the key to keeping your website running as securely and efficiently as possible. Updating software helps to patch up any security vulnerabilities and iron out any weird bugs plaguing your site. So that means keeping your WordPress version up to date, that is the foundation of your website that can make or break your security. Plugins are also important to keep up to date, especially ones that offer user interactivity like contact forms and comment boxes. These can be utilized to inject code into your site to wreak havoc or steal information. Keeping those plugins up to date removes the potential threat of hackers and spammers retrieving and using your information or website. It’s also a good idea to keep your themes up to date if possible, this is mostly to fix any weird visual bugs that could occur, keeping your website looking fresh and error free.
Upgrades and fixes
Rarely will your business ever stay exactly the same, and even if it does, the world is constantly changing around it. That means at some point in time your website will need to change and grow and evolve as well. Occasionally the needs of your website will change, your business will grow, and your website won’t be able to handle the new traffic. In which case a hosting upgrade will be necessary. Sometimes your business changes in other ways. Maybe you will have decided to start taking online orders or appointments. Perhaps you feel it would be better to interact with clients through a blog on your website, or maybe post a calendar of events your business will be participating in. Or perhaps the old functionalities simply don’t work great for you anymore. It may be time for an upgrade to keep everything running smoothly and optimally. Whether that means upgrading to new better features, or adding entirely new parts to your website, it’s important to evolve your site along with your business.
Take out the trash
If you are interacting with or changing your website in any way, it will create “digital trash” of sorts. WordPress is great in that it keeps a copy of all your revisions to your site, but if you aren’t utilizing them, then they can quickly add up and bog down your site. Clearing out these caches of excess data can help your site run smoother and faster. Spam comments can also clutter your site and make it look unutilized, nobody wants to interact with a website that has only spam comments, that’s the internet equivalent of cricket noises. Unutilized or overly large media can also take up valuable space. Why bother storing those pictures from 10 years ago that nobody can even access anymore. Also nobody likes to view pages with enormous photos that take forever to load. It might be time to let go of all that digital clutter, and perhaps learn to resize images to make loading times faster. Drafts floating in limbo can also take up valuable space, If you aren’t going to post it, there’s no reason to leave it hanging around. They should be cleared out regularly, who knows it might even improve your website content organization.
Test functions and links
Finally testing your website is as important as taking your car for its yearly inspection, sometimes you are unaware that something was even wrong. So it’s crucial that you test anything that users might interact with. That means clicking on all of your links to find broken ones or links that go to places that have changed or disappeared. Testing out all contact forms to make sure you are receiving the messages properly at the correct place. Leaving comments on posts if your site has that function. Signing up for any newsletters you might have to make sure your website is processing the emails properly. And testing whatever other functionalities your site might have.
It’s also a good idea to test your mobile compatibility. Today more than ever people are using their smartphones to access websites, instead of using desktop computers. So it’s important to make sure your site looks good on whatever platform your users decide to view it on. For ease of use, you might want to consider editing the code to streamline and condense the information that your users can see on the mobile platform as well. Frequently people checking your site on their phones aren’t there to peruse the site slowly, but to find something like a phone number, or hours of operation, or maybe a list of services. In today’s world the faster you can get them that information, the better it is for your business.
Of course, not everyone has the time or knowledge to perform all these maintenance tasks regularly. Keeping a business running is a full-time job and then some, we understand that your website can get ignored and fall into disrepair sometimes. Luckily for you, our website mechanics have you covered. We now offer a maintenance subscription plan for your website, that also offers one hour of visual changes a month, web traffic reports, regular maintenance, and more for one flat fee. Call us to find out what we can do to keep your site running smoothly today.