Having your own website can be a daunting task. However, as a designer, I am here to help ensure that your website is running smoothly. While my basic plan does not include web support, it does include some help learning how to run your website. Running a website might seem scary at first, but luckily WordPress is one of the most widely documented website builders, and after your website is set up, running it is a breeze. Here are the top things you need to be aware of for running your own website and keeping things running smoothly.
1. Keep your Plugins and Themes updated, always.
Plugins and Themes keep your website running. Plugins are a great benefit because they help with tasks such as ecommerce, web forms, and sharing on social media. Themes are the bones of your website and provide a fresh and interesting design. However, if you don’t update themes and plugins, hackers can exploit weakness and install malware on your website. The best way to curb this is to make sure your updates are installed regularly. A security plugin, like Wordfence (which I’ll mention below), will send you alerts when your plugins/themes or WordPress (the software behind your site) are out of date.
2. Don’t add too many plugins.
While plugins are a great way to add new functionality to your website, they come at a price. That price is speed. Google and other search engines use speed as a factor for page ranking, and customers and users tend to close websites that are too slow. A good rule of thumb is to never have more than 20 plugins. While this depends on the site and can be curbed by some measures to increase page speed, you should be careful not to add too many plugins. You should also delete unused plugins and remove any plugins that are no longer updated by the developer. If you require several plugins, try to find all in one solutions such as Jetpack which will share your posts, give you site stats, and take care of other numerous tasks without the extra plugins slowing you down.
3. Download backups of your website (in case of emergencies).
Things go wrong on the internet. Computers are not infallible, and inevitably, something is going to break. When it does, be sure that you’re protected and have your websites downloaded and saved. Some web providers provide backups automatically, and some will even restore them for you. However, it’s always a good idea that if all else fails, you have your own copies. I personally make sure I have a download of my website every few months – but, if you make several changes often, you might want to do this more often. Be sure to download not just the files in File Manager, but also your PHP database. You can’t have one without the other!
4. Install Wordfence security & pay attention to emails.
We’ve already mentioned security. Malware and other viruses do pop up on the internet and the best defense is a good offense. Old school analogies aside, Wordfence providers web scans that will notify you of Malware, and let you know if any of your plugins are out of data. They also provide resources to ban IP addresses that you have identified as being abusive. If you purchased your website from me, it’s likely that the free version of Wordfence is already installed. There are paid versions if you’re interested, but I’ve had no trouble protecting websites on the free version.
5. Pay for web maintenance.
All things considered, if you don’t want to worry about your website, you can pay for web maintenance. This means that the developer/designer will carry the burden of maintaining your website. This means that security issues, as they pop up, or any other technical errors will not be your problem. In the case of the website completely messing up, the designer will contact your host, or if they are hosting for you, will repair the website and re-upload a new version. The designer will also ensure that plugins are up to date, and your website is free from Malware. You can view maintenance and hosting here. My local business premium website plan also includes hosting and web maintenance as part of the package.
Do you already have a WordPress website? If so, I hope these tips will help you keep your site functioning well!