As a web designer, it never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t seem to care about their website.
For many, their website is their primary marketing tool. It provides brand awareness and drives possibly thousands of potential clients every month, yet many business owners don’t maintain their websites.
Every month I would have at least three of my own clients that I have created websites for in the last 8 years contact me in desperation because their website has ‘broken’. The actual truth is it did not just break, they neglected it.
Whether it be that they don’t understand the importance, or too time poor to schedule in a few minutes each week, but the reality is 75% of website owners don’t maintain their websites, and the negative impact is that the site could get hacked, clients details stolen, or the site simply breaks from poor maintenance.
Your website is basically an operating system, and like any functioning system it needs maintenance to keep it in working order. Most people don’t wait until their car breaks to get it serviced, they get it services to stop it from breaking down!
Most people don’t wait until they have a mouthful of cavities to go to the dentist, they clean their teeth (hopefully) every day to prevent going to the dentist for anything major, but they also go regularly for a checkup.
Yet, it seems the majority of website owners don’t care about their business very much, or they would also be maintaining their website. I spend countless hours having to patch up websites after the damage has been done due to WordPress sites that missed crucial plugin updates, WordPress updates and theme updates, all which take hours to fix usually, and that most clients don’t want to pay for. Because it’s not only the financial cost to fix them, but it is the downtime of the website.
And yet in most cases it could have been easily avoided with a simple 5 step routine update, which anyone can do. You don’t need to be a web guru to maintain your website.
If you care about your business and your website, here is what you need to do each week, and it takes about 3 minutes…less than it takes to clean your teeth or drink your coffee on one given day a week.
- Login into your website and do a back up. Smartfish always add a backup plugin to allow you to backup your entire site before doing any major upgrades or changes. This backup takes around 4 minutes to run in the background.
- Once the backup is complete, you need to update WordPress if required. You’ll find a notice at the top of your screen or in your update notifications in WordPress. Once it is updated check your site is still functioning. If it is, move onto step two. If it’s not, go to your backup plugin and restore the site to the previous backup.
- Update each of the plugins, one at a time, to ensure they successfully backup, and then test the site again. If everything is working fine, run another backup of the site.
- Update the theme. Maintaining your WordPress theme is very important, as updates to WordPress can create incompatibilities if they are not all kept up to date. Providing you do this on a regular basis and don’t leave it months between each theme backup, you can safely update your WordPress theme yourself by going into the Themes section of your WordPress site and simply clicking on the Update available for the main theme. If there is a Child theme option, DO NOT update this as it could revert your entire site back to the theme basics and lose all customisation. If this does happen though, use your plugin restore function and go back to the last saved version again.
- Test your site, and if everything is working fine back it up again.
Alternatively, if you are not confident maintaining your website yourself, for a fraction of the cost of your daily Latte, Smartfish can maintain your updates for you, ensuring you get many, many years of life out of your website, which is way more important that an overpriced Latte.