How to manage a WordPress website

So you’ve got this WordPress website from the developer. It looks good, works perfectly and is everything you want. So you’re all set and don’t have to worry about the website anymore, right?

Wrong.

If you have an agreement with a developer for them to maintain and manage the website, then okay, you’re good to go. But if not, then you or someone in your business needs to be actively managing the website — content, core, plugin, themes, all of it.

A stale, un-updated website is a dangerous thing. At best, some information might be out of date. At worst, your website can be hacked and defaced.

Of course, managing the website and making all sorts of updates can take time and seem like a daunting task. So, here’s how you can manage your WordPress website.

Update, update, update

I cannot stress or say this enough. You always need to make sure your website is updated. If not, you’re putting your website at risk.

WordPress core, plugins and themes are updated for a lot of different reasons, but the biggest one is security. After all, if you’re website isn’t safe for people to use, it’s a waste.

Now, I get it if you are still avoiding updating to WordPress 5, there are steps you can take to still get the security updates. You can get 4.9.X releases underneath the “WordPress 4.9” heading on the releases page. These releases will still keep you on WordPress 4.9 but have backported security and other fixes as well.. Honestly though, I recommend updating to the latest version and just using the Classic Editor plugin.

And I also understand the time constraints it takes to make sure a website is constantly updated. Honestly, it feels like I’m updating this site every night. If you just don’t have the time, it might be time to pay someone, either on your staff or outside of the business, to make sure your website is updated and running.

Because having a working, revenue-generating website is well worth the time and money it takes to keep it up.

Take backups often

Another great thing to do is to take backups of your website and take them often. These back ups can come in very handy in case something goes wrong with your website or if it gets hacked.

I know WPEngine offers daily backups as well as on-demand backups in case you need one right now. And I know that a lot of the other top WordPress hosting companies also offer backups (though I’m not sure if that’s included in the cost or not).

It’s also a pretty good idea to take a backup of your website before doing any sort of updates to core, plugins or themes. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve updated something only for it to have broken something on the site. Fortunately, I’ve had a backup from right before the update that I can put back while I figure out the issue.

So if you haven’t already, make sure you have some sort of system in place for backing up your website.

Let’s Keep Your Story Online

Creating a new website can be a challenge. But keep it up and running efficiently can be a challenge. You have to make sure things are updated and running smoothly because if your site is down, no one can find or read your story. But I can help make sure that’s never a problem for your business.

Let’s Come Up With A Plan to Maintain Your Site

Wander through your website

Also, it’s always a good idea to wander through your website every now and then. Like once a week or so, navigate through all of the page templates, most of the pages, especially the important ones, and if you have any special sections check on those too.

This way you’ll be able to check on how things are going and see if anything has been broken or defaced . And then you can fix it, hopefully with no one noticing.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has messaged me saying something looked weird on my site. I then go to look at it, and sure enough something that looked good during development is now broken.

So just make sure you’re looking at your website every now and then to see if it’s working correctly.

Stay up-to-date with WordPress news

Finally, you need to make sure you’re staying on top of WordPress news. You don’t need to become a massive WordPress junkie with a ton of notifications. You just need enough to be relatively aware of what’s going on so that you can make sure website is protected and safe.

For example, with the Pipdig and Plugin Vulnerabilities drama going on recently, if you even kept up moderately with the news, you would have been able to take action quickly to keep your site up and running.

WP Tavern is a great place to start to stay up with WordPress news. And I’ve compiled a great list on Twitter of WordPress people to follow to keep up with the news as well.

But the most important part in all of this is that you actively manage your website. It’s too vital to leave unattended for long periods of time. WordPress and its themes and plugins change too quickly to do that.. And the security threats are too important to ignore.

So make sure you or someone else is managing the website.

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