* With FREE Website-Maintenance Checklist*
The internet is a constant arms race between security and protection, and malware and hacks. Every so often there’s a new type of hack floating around, exploiting a certain hole in our security, and we all race to fill that hole with a patch to keep ourselves safe. Luckily, there are a few maintenance tasks you can do that cut down the risk of your site being hacked in the first place; here’s how to Maintain Your Website in Just 30 Minutes a Month!
Today’s post comes to you from Heather at Designmancy. She’s a go-to-guru for site security, and describes herself as a “closet food-lover”! If you’ve got your own blog, then you’re charged with the task of being your own web technician and developer, but perhaps you don’t know where to start with the more technical aspects, the updates and hack-proofing. Having to deal with this kind of thing can be very frightening for those not “in the know,” and often, it gets neglected simply because we don’t know where to start.
Heather has written two posts for us on how to look after your site; this is the second in the series and tells you what you should be doing monthly to maintain the security of your site. Her first post, Protecting Your Site From Hackers (When Hack-Proofing Doesn’t Exist), tells you all about what systems you should put in place up front to protect your site.
At the bottom of this post there’s a FREE Website-Maintenance Checklist for beginners that you can download -no strings attached; or, you can visit Designmancy and download the advanced version with additional bonus features.
Last time we took the steps needed to secure your website from hacks of opportunity; this time we’re going to put a plan in place to keep our site secure over the long term. If you haven’t read the first article yet, hop on over and do that just now!
You can’t just secure your website once and have it be secure forever and ever – you’ll leave yourself vulnerable to any new holes and exploits if you aren’t constantly patching those holes. This is where WordPress comes in. WordPress releases updates regularly fixing those holes; your theme and plugin authors do the same. When you log into your dashboard you’re shown those updates are waiting for you with a little symbol. You can update as you notice this symbol, or another good rule of thumb is to update at least once a month.
The 30-Minute-Maintenance Routine
I’m going to show you the most efficient way to handle your maintenance and updates now, and if you want a record of this that you can keep, then download your FREE Website-Maintenance Checklist when you subscribe to my mailing list at the bottom of this post:
Step One – Back Up Your Website
Depending on who hosts your site you may be able to do this directly through them, and some hosts will back up your website automatically for you every day (which is really handy).
Otherwise, what you can do is use a plugin inside WordPress to back up your site – I like Updraft Plus for this (don’t worry, it’s got a fantastic free version – “Plus” is just its name). This step is your insurance policy in case things go very, very wrong during updates – it’s not common, but it happens, and you’ll be glad you have this in place.
Step Two – Do Your WordPress Updates
Start with your WordPress installation itself, then do your plugins, and then your themes. It can be worth doing only a few of these at once if you have a lot waiting but overall this step should only take a few minutes and you don’t have to sit and stare at your computer while it’s working. Have a cuppa!
Step Three – Clear Out Your Spam
Only takes a sec; go to your Comments >> Spam >> Empty Spam. If you’re really keen, you can check for real comments that got mislabelled first, but it’s not necessary.
Step Four – Examine Your Website
Have a wander around your site and see if anything has changed with the updates. Do your contact forms still work? Does your subscribe form still work? Are any of the styles or pages different? Anything else broken/not working the way it used to?
Make a note of all these and either plan on fixing them yourself or make your developer a list. Screenshots of any issues are ALWAYS helpful to include, and for an extra gold star you could include which updates you did.
Most of the time there won’t be any changes, but this step is important just to be sure.
Step Five – Back Up Again
Now that you’ve done your updates and things are functioning the way they should be, make another update. This is the one you store since it has your clean, current site. As a rule of thumb, keep about 3-months worth of these updates if you’re making sure everything works each time you do them.
Presto – You’re Done!
This whole thing will take about half an hour depending on the amount of updating you need to do, and it’ll keep you safe from most security holes and site errors.
GET THE WEBSITE-MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST HERE
And start protecting your site right now.
Need some help? Things either not updating or looking strange afterwards? Fixing broken websites and making them really easy to use is what I do over at Designmancy, and you’re welcome any time.
Do you have any problems when updating?