Should I have a website maintenance plan in 2022?
Yes, you do need a website maintenance plan. Whether you’re maintaining your website as the owner, or you hire a professional maintenance team, you should maintain your website. This is because on your website, there are pieces of software, information, and core functionality that need to be monitored on a consistent and regular basis.
What are plugins and why do I need them?
A plugin is a piece of software that adds functionality or “plugs into” the website to add an additional feature or benefit. They extend functionality of your WordPress website that is not there by default. Plugins are built by developers and can be purchased or downloaded from their websites. The development teams will provide updated versions of the plugin as they fix bugs or create new features. If you own a WordPress website, you may use plugins for things like:
- Booking appointments
- Integrating Social Media
- Utilizing forms or storing form entries
- Specialized Formatting
What are the potential downsides of using plugins?
The major downside to utilizing plugins in your website is the maintenance and upkeep they require. It is important to keep the plugins on your website up-to-date to avoid any security issues arising. Outdated plugins are frequently targeted in cyberattacks which can easily compromise important data client and personal data.
While updating plugins, maintaining plugin functionality is key. When you update a plugin, it may experience compatibility issues with other plugins on your website. It is important to backup your website prior to updating (which we will discuss later) any plugins and briefly note the functionality and visual display where the plugin is having an impact. Then after updating, test the functionality and confirm that the visual display on the website was not impacted.
What is web hosting?
A web host is the server or location in which your website’s files are stored or housed on. There are many different hosts for website owners in 2022. They tend to range in price from a few dollars a month, up to a few hundred dollars a month.
How do I know which web hosting service is best for my WordPress website?
Depending on your website, your hosting needs will vary. On a lower priced hosting plan, your website will be on a shared server, with other sites that you’re unaware of. The negative to this is that you do not have control of what goes on with other websites on your server. This is a phenomenon called the Bad Neighbor. At Bandicoot, websites hosted on our server are thoroughly vetted and researched prior to moving them onto our servers, thus preventing the Bad Neighbor effect. The most cost effective servers are also not the fastest. Slower site speeds can damage your ability to rank well in search engines or even cause your site visitors to leave or “bounce” from your page. If you have an ecommerce website or a website with a substantial amount of daily or monthly traffic, spending a few extra dollars a month can go a long way to assist in saving your customer order information.
Here is a quick overview of three great hosting options, depending on your business’s needs:
- Cost Effective
- Bad Neighbor Potential
- Good for if your site is just starting
- Cost Effective
- Bad Neighbor Potential
- Good for if your site is just starting
- Higher Price
- More Security Features
- More Frequent Backups
- Fast Server Speeds
- Great for established businesses or E-Commerce sites
What is uptime monitoring?
A simplified way to describe uptime monitoring is a test, or a running monitor that tracks data on how “available” your website is online and accessible to visitors. If your website is available, then it will be working as intended. It can become unavailable through a critical error, server issues, or file corruption. If you have uptime monitoring on your website and it goes down, you will receive a notification from your monitoring service. This is important because if your website is down, visitors cannot access your website, and further, cannot contact you through your website or complete your call to action. Monitoring your website for uptime is an important step that helps reduce loss of business due to your website being down. Some great uptime monitoring services include Uptime Robot and Pingdom. If you need help with monitoring your website’s uptime and downtime, to contact us use the chat or “Get Started” button.
What is malware and why should I care about it?
Malware Scanning, although not a glamorous topic, is becoming more important than ever with WordPress websites, being targeted by anything from spam, to malicious files and content. Malware scanning is a preventative care measure that monitors your website to make sure there is no dangerous and unintended content for your visitors. Malware scanning can recognize data, files or information that is not intended to be on your website and alert you to the needed adjustment. If you do not scan for malware your personal company data, customers data, and general visitors data can be at severe risk. Scanning for malware on a regular basis should be a regular maintenance step to reduce your liability as not only a website owner, but a business owner.
Personal data at risk without malware scanning:
- Confidential Company Data and Information
- Employee Data
- Employee and Office Equipment
- Customer Data, including personal information
- Website Visitor Data
What can I use to Scan for Malware on my website?
There are tons of Malware Scanning plugins and softwares available for a small monthly fee. Not only will spending a small amount monthly reduce your liability, but it can also prevent uncomfortable conversations with clients, business partners and friends about compromised data or personal information. Some great options for malware scanning include Sucuri, iThemes Security, and WP Security.
Backing up your site is the process of saving or “backing up” the contents of your website including images, text, plugins, custom code and more to act as a save point. This will NOT slow down your website and can be a lifesaver if your website experiences a critical error or formatting and functionality issues after making changes.
Why do I need to backup my website?
Backing up your website can save you hours of headache if you experience an issue with your website after you add a new plugin or element, allowing you to restore your website from the backup, rather than having to remake it as it was before.
If the website or business you own is centered around E-Commerce, backing up your website is more important than ever. If you do not frequently backup your website and you have to restore it from a previous backup, the order information stored by your website can easily be lost, making it impossible to track down customer orders. Having a system of regularly scheduled backups being taken can prevent extensive loss of order history and information.
How do I backup my website?
Some web hosts offer automatic backups, some don’t. Check with the host you are utilizing to see if they provide automatic backups based on the plan your website is using. It is important to note the frequency that updates will occur. E-Commerce sites should backup more frequently due to new information being stored with every order placed or account created.
Another option for backing up your website is to add a plugin. Updraft is a great example of a free plugin that allows you to manually backup your website. This is perfect for those who don’t have direct access to manually create a backup via their server host. If you are making any distinct changes to your website, it is always best to backup prior to starting. If, or when (because we all do) make a mistake, having a recent backup can save you hours of frustration, allowing you to easily restore your website to the previous backup. If you’re interested in downloading updraft, visit their website to download.
Each plugin or server host will most likely provide a unique way to revert to previous backups. It should be straightforward and if you need help, the plugin or server you’re using should have a help guide
When do I restore my website?
Typically, we try to limit how often we are restoring a website from a backup. There is a lot going on with the files when a restore occurs and only doing a restore when absolutely necessary is best practice. If you make a change to your website, say you add another plugin, and it turns out to not be compatible with your current site configurations, having a backup allows you to “revert” or go back to that save point/back up.
Ways restoring your website can benefit you:
- When you alter a section of your website and cannot easily change it back
- When you add a new plugin that is not compatible and when removed leaves a negative effect
- When you receive a critical error
- When functionality on your website breaks down or stops working
In 2022, website maintenance is more important than ever before. Updating plugins, backing up, monitoring your website uptime and downtime, scanning for malware, and proper web hosting are quintessential in keeping your website accessible and reliable for your clients and customers. Using any of the recommendations provided can dramatically improve user experience, helping you further generate business through your website, increasing its utility and assisting to offset or erase monthly maintenance expenses. If you’re interested in Bandicoot taking a look at your website or maintaining it on a monthly basis, use the chat or “Get Started” button.