10 Tips Why Website Maintenance is Essential

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Small Business, Websites

For many small business owners who have WordPress websites, maintaining your site can be very much an afterthought. Many find they only think about maintenance when they’ve experienced an issue rather than carry out updates and other tasks regularly. Sound familiar? Don’t worry. You’re definitely not alone.

Website maintenance should be a priority, whether you do it yourself or engage a website business to perform it for you. Either way, taking care of your website is one crucial aspect that will keep your website healthy and thriving online.

Have you considered what the repercussions would be if the worst happened?

  • Breach of personal data
  • Loss of data
  • Loss of potential new business
  • Losing your whole website

There seems to be a common denominator there doesn’t there – loss.

10 WordPress Maintenance Tasks

1. WordPress Updates

Updates to your plugins, themes, and WordPress are critical and either give you new functionality or are what help to keep out hackers with new security fixes.

Your plugins add functionality to your website or can extend your website’s functionality.

Your theme is what helps you design your website and get it looking the way you want.

WordPress is a website builder and your website’s content management system.

These components together give you a working website. But it’s essential to keep these all up to date regularly, ideally every week, to protect your website.

It’s always paramount to ensure you have a current backup before running any updates.

2. Backups

Having a clear backup strategy in place is another step in helping you protect the vital asset that is your website. You should have an external backup process in place so you’re not relying on your website hosting company.

How often should I run a backup? Backups should run weekly as a minimum. Or if you have an e-commerce site depending on its size and the number of orders, etc. It may be worth setting this to run more frequently.

You can also set your backups to run a full or database backup. So, you don’t need to run a full backup all the time. How frequently you run them depends on your business – how much you can afford to lose is an excellent way to look at it.

I am also a big believer in having your backups sync off-site. If the worst ever happens and you get locked out. Then, at least you still have copies of your website.

Off-site backup syncs are such a simple process to set up; why wouldn’t you? All of our new website designs or revamps come with instructions on how to do this. That’s how passionate we are about off-site syncs.

And another crucial step is to know how to reinstate your backup should the worst happen.

3. Testing Functionality

This is something most small business owners don’t do, but it’s an essential step as you don’t want to miss out on important enquiries or possibly new business.

  • On a regular basis, you should be testing the functionality of your website.
  • Test that forms are correctly sending emails and being received.
  • If you have an E-Commerce website, make test purchases and ensure it shows up correctly in the back-end, as well as any transactional emails being sent out.

Testing functionality is vital, especially before important parts of the year, such as a sale or promotion.

4. Uptime Monitoring

As a website owner, you’re often not on your website regularly, so if it happens to go down, you might only find out by accident or if a website visitor is nice enough to message you.

This is why we added uptime monitoring to our website maintenance and care plans.

I get a text message when a client’s site goes down for whatever reason, and I’m notified when it comes back up. If it’s down for too long, then I can take the initiative and start investigating why.

So, check if this is included in the website care plan you’re looking at. If you’re getting a lot of outages, then it can be a sign of a poor-quality web host, and it may be time to change your web host.

website maintenance client Hobart Cleaners and Carpet Cleaning of She Rocks Digital Hobart

5. Security Scans

Keeping on top of the health of your website is paramount.

Regular security scans help to mitigate against possible issues. It might be worth noting here that no website is 100% secure from any attacks – that’s not possible. However, what we can do is ensure your website is as difficult as possible to attack, leaving any malicious attackers to target less secure websites instead.

The security plugins we usually use and recommend:

And if something does happen, you’ll be notified asap, too, as time is always of the essence.

6. Speed Optimisation

This one isn’t as crucial as the other items on the list unless you often update and add content to your website. Once a website is performing well, it will usually stay performing well until changes occur that cause issues.

However, it’s worth carrying out a speed test regularly to ensure your website is performing at its best.

A couple of our favourite tools are:

  • Pingdom
  • GT Metrix

If you’re unfamiliar with how to read speed tests, pay particular attention to load time and page size, as the latter can help narrow down bloat/where things are slowing.

7. Comment moderation

We also offer moderation of blog post comments and removal of all spam comments. We always flag with our clients any genuine comments that need a response if we see they haven’t been attended to.

We’re big believers; if a website visitor has taken the time to leave a comment or ask a question, then it’s essential to take the time to respond. It’s a great way to start building a relationship with someone, too. You never know where it might lead.

By us maintaining the comments and removing the spam – it’s one less thing for our clients to worry about.

8. Database optimisation

Keeping your database optimised helps to keep your site running lean and running in tip-top shape. It also keeps your website hosting cost-effective as you’re not using unnecessary resources.

9. Broken links

We also want to be the first to know if any internal or external links become broken. Broken links don’t provide the best user experience, and Google doesn’t like it either, and we want to keep Google happy.

Using a plugin or watching your Google Search Console is a great way to keep on top of this.

10. Priority support

A maintenance plan may give you priority support, too, if something happens, which is a great bonus. Take my client Jo, for example.

What did Jo decide to do one Sunday morning? Make some changes to her website. And what do you think happened? She managed to crash it.

What did she do? Message me with some begging and promises of vodka to fix it (she knows me well, or there may have been a few suggestions given).

What did Jo learn? Not to touch her website again.

What did Ruth do? Fix it, of course, and enjoy the vodka, which arrived later that week.

Other options:

Some website maintenance plans may also include:

  • Access to premium plugins. These may be for the contact form, backups, or security, to name a few plugin options.
  • Minor updates to your website. This comes in handy if you want to make minor changes but aren’t comfortable or confident in doing it yourself.

The importance of website backups

I’m just going to touch on this again, as I can’t stress how important a website backup is.

It’s when you don’t have a backup that the worst will happen.

Or you think I’ll do this quick one update, and it screws it all up, to put it mildly, and your site has gone down.

The Rule of Ruth – if you don’t have time to take a backup. Then you don’t have time to do what you want to do.

What’s next for your website?

When it comes to your website’s maintenance and protecting, this vital business asset your website, you need to make some decisions:

  • Are you going to undertake the maintenance and updates yourself?
  • Do you have time?
  • Do you know what you’re doing?

Or will you engage an experienced website business to look after it for you?

If you’re going to look after it yourself, consider and be honest with yourself – will you, do it? And will you do it regularly?

We all have good intentions, but life gets busy, and a business can get even busier. So, will you really do it?

And if you’ve taken the time and money to have a website designed and set up for you. Why would you not look after it properly, too, are my thoughts? The peace of mind alone, knowing that your website is in the best hands, and it’s one less worry, which lets you concentrate on other areas of your business. As a small business owner, one less thing going on in my brain is invaluable.

And I’m also a big believer that prevention is better than fixing.

Want to tackle your website maintenance yourself?

Download our easy-to-follow step-by-step Website maintenance checklist – coming soon.

If you don’t have time, the brain space or would prefer to spend your time doing what you love. Then check out our website maintenance plans, which can be tailored to you.

Want to know more or have a chat about keeping your website fit and healthy? Send me an email now.

ruth slade from she rocks digital website and seo expert hobart

Ruth Slade is a Hobart based digital marketing specialist in SEO and website design, as well as social media, content creation and graphic design. Ruth loves working with small businesses and rocking their digital world. A lot of small businesses don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to the digital space, which is where Ruth comes in.

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