Best Practices for Website Maintenance + Security

Proper website maintenance can be achieved with a few simple routines.

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Your website is an investment and, like anything else of value, will require proper maintenance in order to continue to run efficiently. Trust us, we’ve seen what can happen when website maintenance is an afterthought and the results aren’t pretty. Getting hacked, loosing search engine ranking, or experiencing a full-on website crash are just a few examples. So how do you prevent those things from happening to your website?

1. Make updates a priority.

An up-to-date website is the best way to stay protected against vulnerabilities. Don’t worry, you’re not going to break anything…and if you do, that’s what backups are for (see below)! Updating core, themes and plugins as they are released will help to get rid of outdated files which are a commonly used by hackers to enter your site. The longer you wait to perform these updates, the higher the security risk. You’ll also want to make sure to remove any unused plugins or themes as these too run the risk of being used to inject malware onto your website.

2. Backups are your best friend.

Making regular backups is the easiest way to safeguard against a major website crisis. Depending on your unique site needs, this can be done monthly, weekly or even daily. If you have a backup in place, you’re well prepared for the worst (should that happen) and you’re also protected in the event that an update does cause an issue. You’ll have a way to quickly restore your website with a few clicks – just boot a backup!

3. Security scans are a must.

Routine security scans can prevent you from being blindsided by malware and are key to website maintenance. They help to check for known vulnerabilities, errors and blacklists and should be performed monthly or weekly, depending on your individual site’s needs.

4. Optimize and downsize.

Taking the time to optimize your media library will keep your website lean and mean. Get in the habit of removing any old, unused or duplicate images or videos in your database. You should already be in the habit of optimizing your photos before they are uploaded to your site but if you come across any unoptimized files, be sure to update those as well. If you notice that your website is suddenly running slower than normal, this is one of the first things we suggest you look at.

5. Test and monitor performance.

Testing your website’s performance and uptime can provide key indicators that help mitigate larger problems down the line. If you start to notice that your website loads slowly or goes down frequently, imagine what your customers may have noticed. Brand reputation is key, and we know that starts with your website. Nobody likes a slow-loading site, not to mention a slow site can also be an early indicator that you’ve been hacked.

6. Don’t forget analytics.

Now that your website is secure, up-to-date and optimized, don’t forget to check out your analytics. Both Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide you with a wealth of valuable information about your website’s traffic and activity.

Sound time consuming? Well, it can be; but there are people, like us, whose entire careers are to build and maintain websites. In most cases, proper website maintenance can be achieved through a few basic routines which we perform as a part of our hosting packages. If you aren’t thrilled about the idea of website maintenance and you’d rather be doing literally ANYTHING else, let us know, we’d love to help!