Monitoring and maintaining your website is critical to businesses, large or small.
There was a time when businesses could put up a website and then pretty well forget about the backend stuff. But today, the web is not static – it’s dynamic. Particularly in the field of security, new threats appear daily, vulnerabilities have to be addressed, software is constantly in need of updating.
WordPress is the most popular platform for websites. 34% of all sites are powered by it, according to W3Techs. We love it – it’s a wonderful, flexible and economic way to design, build and publish.
However, it’s that very popularity that makes it a target for hackers, brute-force attacks and malware.
WpWhiteSecurity.com estimate that more than 70% of WordPress installations are vulnerable to hacker attack.
WordPress security firm, Wordfence, reckon hackers attack big and small, WordPress sites with over 90,000 attacks happening per minute. After insecure or stolen passwords, the biggest causes of vulnerabilities are out of date software plugins or themes. It’s estimated over 40% of sites are out of date.
WordPress and software developers are constantly working on updates and to address and minimise threats. It’s vital that these are applied to keep sites secure. This is why vigilant maintenance is essential.
Search engines and SEO
Website maintenance is critical to maintaining good search engine rankings. On the front end, you will of course continue to publish fresh content. However, it’s also important to ensure all your links are working and no ‘404 Page not found’ errors creep in. Page loading speed can also cause loss of ranking.
A well maintained site ensures a good customer experience. The speed your site loads is important as are checks that all your links work properly. Security also matters to to your visitors. Warnings or insecure features are damaging – especially on e-commerce sites.
Problems with your website can also be damaging to your reputation – so maintaining your site properly also protects your brand and your name.
If it’s your site, website maintenance is generally down to you – though this may depend on the contract you have with your web developer or host. The usual arrangement is that your web designer or developer build your site and then hand it over to you. From then on it’s your responsibility. If you don’t maintain it and then something goes wrong – you can’t expect them to pick up the pieces. It’s like buying a car and then not putting in oil, coolant, or having it serviced, and then expecting your dealer to repair it free when you break down.
You have a number of options:
- Maintain the site yourself or instruct someone in your IT dept (if you have one) to do it.It’s not a huge task but will take a few hours every month – and I mean EVERY. You need to check and monitor – if all’s okay, then no problem. There is software that can help. Wordfence can check and monitor your site and notify you when things need attending to. ManageWP will let you handle your updates remotely.
- Let your developer do it. They will usually provide a maintenance contract (Not to be confused with a support contract which is a much bigger thing) if required. These are not usually expensive, based upon a monthly fee to handle monitoring and maintenance. There is the added benefit that they already should know your site intimately.
- Use an outside maintenance provider. Similar to using your web developer, though their service may be more comprehensive – and a bit more expensive.
Don’t neglect the backups
There is no such thing as 100% protection. New threats appear everyday and even the biggest and best-maintained sites may find themselves vulnerable.
So, be prepared for the worst. Having backups is essential. If things go wrong, with your site or your host – if you are victim of a hack, ransomeware, malware or DDOS attack, you want to get back online fast. Having secure, recent backups means you can get back online fast with minimal disruption to your business or reputation.