Often small business owners are focused on simply having a website up and running, but don’t realize their website needs to be maintained just like a car or a home. There are various pieces that go into making a complete website. With WordPress websites, there are core files to WordPress itself, plugins and themes, all of which require updates to function properly. Far too many website owners don’t worry about how to update their WordPress site until something breaks. Just like a car, if you perform regular website maintenance you can save yourself time and money. But just how often do you really need to update your website?
Stay on top of it
Updates for things like plugins and themes should usually be done whenever you notice them. At the top of your WordPress dashboard, you will see an image of two arrows creating a circle. If there is a number with it, that is how many updates you need to complete. By clicking on that symbol, you will be taken to the update page. Plugin updates will tell you with a percentage how compatible they are with your website’s core WordPress files. If the number is 100%, then that means the developers feel it is 100% safe for you to update it and there shouldn’t be any adverse effects to your site.
The reality is, anytime you have updates that need to be done, your website could be vulnerable from a security standpoint. Updates are often bug fixes that could compromise your site or cause a security risk. This is why it’s always good to go ahead and do the update when you see it. After you update your website, check the functionality of your site to ensure nothing has changed. Check all forms, links, and pages for anything out of the norm. It is much better to catch it yourself than have a client or customer discover the problem.
Back up and only then update your website
Part of regular website maintenance is backing up your site. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, “backing up” a website is like making an exact copy of your site in case something goes wrong. Done through a plugin you install on your WordPress website, you should always back it up before doing any major updates. Especially if you are behind a few updates on WordPress, your theme or plugins. The developers are usually good with keeping things compatible from one version to the next, but when you get behind it can cause issues. The backup can be what saves your website should anything go wrong during the update.
So how often should you backup your website? That really depends on how you use your site. If your website stays pretty much the same at all times, you only need to backup once every few months. If you change your content in any way, you will want to create a backup of your new and improved website. However, if you run a blog or e-commerce store with new posts or products, comments, etc. it’s a good practice to update much more frequently.
Check for spam
Any comment sections you may have will need to be checked regularly for spam. All too often, spam comments will make their way into any blog. This will make your website look less professional and distract readers. Thankfully there are plenty of plugins to help moderate any comments left on your website or blog. It’s also a good idea to check both the comments marked as spam and those that have been allowed. While these plugins are good, it’s not unheard of for them to make a mistake.
If all this sounds like far too much work to do on your own, others are willing to update your website for you. Maintenance plans are often very affordable and allow you to worry less about the safety of your site. We at Mazcloud offer website maintenance at a reasonable cost. We can not only update your website, but we can also help with uploading new products to your Shopify store. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.