“Why Should I Care About Website Maintenance?”
First, let’s look at the numbers:
- 60 Million websites are created with WordPress.
- 39% of the top 10 million websites use WordPress.
- 500 + WordPress sites every single day are created.
Website maintenance addresses every single part of your website. and each part is just as important as the next. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to break it down into three sections.
- HOW TO PROPERLY MAINTAIN YOUR SITE, PLUS A LITTLE EXTRA
- 49% of hacked WordPress sites are caused by vulnerabilities on your hosting platform.
- 52% of WordPress vulnerabilities come from plugins.
- 44% of hacking was caused by outdated WordPress sites.
In 2011, 18 million users were compromised due to a hack!
I. MAINTENANCE: HOSTING:
Let’s cover those:
- Shared Hosting (GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.) This is where your website shares a server with a bunch of other websites.
- Service overload is the #1 reason your site is slow, your getting site suspensions or 500 errors. Your website is sitting there with 200+ other websites. These packages run anywhere from $3-$5, but like with anything else you get what you pay for.
- Pay for extra features like necessary SSL certificates.
- DIY VPS
- More for developers & bootstrap startups. Can cause lots of problems if a mistake is made.
- Great if you’re smart, savvy, and need to save money.
- Managed WordPress Hosting (Flywheel, WP Engine)
- Hosts handle all of the backend-related tasks plus offer support when you need it.
- Saves you time and hassle.
- $25 – $150 monthly for these plans (but they cover things like SSL’s that most shared hosting charges extra for.
II. MAINTENANCE: PHP ISSUES
PHP – PHP is an open-source server-side scripting & programming language that’s primarily used for web development.
- The build of the core WordPress is written in PHP along with your themes & plugins.
- Should be 7.0 or higher.
- Faster speeds improved security.
BEWARE OF HOSTS OFFERING HHVM AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO PHP. HHVM IS NO LONGER A SUITABLE SOLUTION.
III. MAINTENANCE: THEMES
It’s very important to choose the right theme from the very beginning.
Every element in a theme has some impact on your overall speed!
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A THEME:
- Start with a fast, lightweight theme that is built with only the features that you need. OR
- A more feature-rich theme but you can disable features that aren’t in use:
- Google fonts.
- Font Awesome
- Parallax Scripts
BEWARE OF PAGE BUILDERS AS THEY CAN INCREASE LOAD TIMES. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO TURN OFF.
IV. MAINTENANCE: PLUGINS
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- Too many can slow down your site.
- Quality is as important as quantity.
- SEO By Yoast
- Contact Form 7.
V. OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Here is a list of settings and other tweaks you should or can make to your websites.
- Change your WordPress login. By this, I’m not talking about changing your username and password. In this instance, I’m talking about changing the /wp-admin/ to something else. Think about it almost every website uses this same login extension. By changing this you make it nearly impossible to sign in to your website because only you would know the new extension. You can use anything you want. This can be accomplished with a plugin.
- Disable, remove or tweak your plugins. A simple setting can mean the difference between a slow website and fast website.
- Disable Pingbacks from other sites, (Disable all both from you and from other sites).
- Limit the number of posts in your feed. No more than 10 is best.
- Caching is the most important and easiest way to speed up your website. BENEFITS: Your server uses fewer resources. Can easily reduce your page speed by over 33%!
- Important to also consider when thinking about the images on your site is the format type of file. Compression can reduce your image size by as much as 5 times!
- PNG – Higher quality images – larger file size
- JPEG – Good quality and size.
- Compression types for JPEG | LOSSY COMPRESSION MEANS: Eliminating some of the data (may come out pixelated). LOSSLESS COMPRESSION: Doesn’t decrease quality by removing unnecessary metadata. ** Choose one that compresses and optimizes images externally.
- GIFS – Kill your website performance.
- Delete the number of revisions in both drafts and updated versions. To limit the number of revisions you can use a plugin like Optimize Database & Delete Revisions plugin or you can add this code to your .php function files. define (‘WP_POST_REVISIONS, 10’); YOU CAN CHANGE THE NUMBER TO ANY AMOUNT YOU WANT. You can also disable revisions altogether.
- Clean up your WP_OPTIONS TABLE & Autoloaded data.
- Here you will find things like; Site URL, Home URL, admin email, default categories, posts per page, time format, etc.
- Settings for plugins, themes, widgets (remove old deactivated).
- Temporarily cached data.
- 4 – Field columns:
- option_autoload These you can change, but be careful.
MY MAINTENANCE ROUTINE:
- Create a clean backup of your site before making any changes whether it’s updating a theme or changing a plugin. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The sites I manage are backed up every single day.
- Check sites for updates starting with WordPress, moving on to themes, and then plugins. Twice every month.
- Optimize databases (I use the Optimize Database While Deleting Revisions or the WP-Optimize plugins to accomplish this. Most of the above settings above can be done here). Twice every month.
- Scan for malware using Wordfence or another Security plugin of your choice. TIP: Make sure your hosting isn’t doing this already! Twice every month.
- Check your site speed with GT Metrix. (free) I do this once a month.
- Do a font-end visual check. Sometimes updates can make small changes to your site. It’s good to take a good look at this time. Check that email opt-in to make sure it’s working, social media buttons, or other important parts of your site. Twice monthly or after any changes.
IF YOU THINKING
“THERE’S NO WAY I HAVE TIME FOR ALL OF THIS”
I GET IT. LIFE IS CRAZY, BUSY THESE DAYS.
MONEY IS TIGHT
YOUR PLATE IS JUST TOO FULL
THEN I HAVE THE ANSWER FOR YOU!
Not sure what kind of help you need?
I offer a FREE 30 MINUTE DISCOVERY CALL!
I’ve worked with Rena on all kinds of techy type projects and I can say with full confidence that she is responsible, timely, affordable, knowledgeable willing to take initiative, able to learn on the fly, and has a knack for all those server maintenances and WordPress issues that flouncy designers don’t want to deal with. I would recommend her highly!
GO CALL HER RIGHT NOW! SHE IS AWESOME!
She answers emails in a very TIMELY manner. She is quick and gets the job done even if she’s never done it before.
I find her a joy. There is always an email shot back to me to say job completed. Stop dragging your feet and sign up for her services. Money well spent!