WordPress maintenance checklist

WordPress maintenance checklist

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by WordPress maintenance, but this checklist will help if you’ve decided against signing up for ingoing website care.

(Don’t forget to grab the website maintenance checklist PDF, no opt-in required)

WordPress maintenance checklist

Things to set up straight away

It’s possible that your designer will have set up some, or all, of these things for you. So, save yourself some time and ask them first.

Backups

Having a reliable backup for your site will save your bacon at some point. It just will, trust me. I recommend Backup Buddy backed up to Dropbox, Google Drive or AWS.

Cache

What you need to know about your website’s cache is that it help your site load faster and a faster site is good for SEO as well as your human traffic.

There are a lot of caching plugins out there, but the one I’m currently using is Swift Performance which has both free and paid versions.

Google Search Console and Analytics

Set up Google Search Console and Analytics. These tools will help you gauge what’s working on your site and what needs tweaking.

Uptime monitoring

You want to know if you’re site is going offline a lot of for a long time. Signing up for Uptime Robot will help you stay on top of things.

Malware monitoring

If your site becomes infected with Malware you may find it taken offline by your web host or, even worse, being blacklisted by Google and other search engines. Sucuri is a popular option for keeping your site clean and cleaning up with the worst happens anyway.

Things to do frequently

When I say “frequently” I generally mean on a weekly basis. These things are important for the health and security of your website.

Update all the things

WordPress core, plugins and themes are all things that need to be kept up-to-date. The reason keeping your site updated it important is because old software is potentially insecure. This means that hackers have an easier time of getting into your site and leaving behind something nasty.

Delete spam comments

If you run a membership site you may also need to remove spam users who’ve signed up with you.

Create quality content

Not sure how to grow your customer base? Start by creating insanely useful content that not only solves their problem, but shows them that you are the best person to solve it for them.

If you’re not planning to blog for your business I’d really recommend that you re-think that plan.

Things to do regularly

Monthly or even quarterly is a good frequency for these things.

Check your site speed

Jump on to Pingdom and plug your website URL into the box and see how long it takes for your site to load. In the “test from” drop down, select the location that’s closest to your customer base.

Delete anything you’re not using

This includes plugins, themes and images. These things are taking up space on your site and giving you no benefit, in the case of plugins and themes, they’re costing you time and effort because they’re another thing you need to keep up-to-date.

SIDENOTE It’s a good idea to leave ONE theme that you’re not using, I choose WordPress current default theme. Then, if you need to quickly swap (which sometimes happens) you’ve already got something waiting in the wings.

Things to do occasionally

Keep your content up-to-date

Are your services and packages still relevant? Do you need to make changes to your about page?

Refresh your images

A change is as good as a holiday and other cliches. The truth is, people get sick of looking at the same thing. Where possible update with personal stock photos. This gives you the benefit of being 100% unique. There are some lovely photographers out there who can help with you with this.

Optimise images

Optimising your images will make the files size smaller so they load quicker. There are a few decent plugins out there, I’m currently using the image optimisation tool with the Swift Performance caching plugin.

Examine your analytics

Your analytics will help you understand what is working on your site and what isn’t. If something isn’t working it’s probably time to try something new.

In conclusion

Keeping your site well maintained is important to the overall health and security of your business. Without a solid care plan you’re at risk of being hacked and blacklisted.

If you know you’re not going to be able to stay on top if it I really recommend that you hire a professional to take care of it so it can keep helping you build your client list and bank balance.

Website maintenance checklist PDF will keep you on the right track.

WordPress Gutenberg is coming!

WordPress Gutenberg is changing the way we use the post editor

Can I just admit I’ve been a bit nervous about the impending release of WordPress Gutenberg? All I knew about it was that it was going to change how we used the post editor and, after 14 years that took me right outside my comfort zone.

I’m really comfortable in my comfort zone!

WordPress Gutenberg is freshening up how we create posts and pages, giving us more functionality and an easier way to create visually appealing content. Yay!

This is by no means an in-depth tutorial. Over the next 6 and a half minutes I’ll give you a quick look at Gutenberg and how it works to demystify it a bit.

Although there was a small glitch with reordering the content blocks, my first impression of Gutenberg is positive (I’m not really sure what I was so worried about before – the unknown I guess).

Gutenberg uses content blocks to create more visual appeal.
Gutenberg displays content as blocks

At first glance you may think that it isn’t particularly different.

Just like the Classic editor, Gutenberg allows you to add a title to your blog post and then get down to the business of writing your content.

But look a bit longer, how do you add images?

Like page builders like Elementor or Divi, Gutenberg inserts different pieces of content as blocks. Each block can be styled independently (seriously, don’t go to town with this).

The point of these blocks it to allow you to use a lot of different types of content that you’ve traditionally had to use shortcode or html to use.

Beyond the standard blocks like images, headings and text there are also embed blocks for tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and more.

This is a huge improvement and will make things much easier, especially for people new to WordPress.

I’d like to hope that showing people how to break their content up into different blocks will put an end to daunting walls of text.

Ain’t no one got time to read that.

In conclusion

Gutenberg is not the scary, overwhelming thing I’d built it up to be and there’s no reason for you to be worried either.

Even if there are a few bugs along the way, this new way of doing things is going to be an improvement over the Classic editor.

If you have any questions or comments, drop them below.

Ask Dave why you should pay for professional website care

Why professional website care is important to your business website

One of the biggest mistakes I see small business owners make with their website is not keeping them up-to-date.

I had recent first-hand experience of what happens when a small business owner doesn’t keep their site updated with a past client that we’ll call Dave.

Why professional website care is important to your business website

Dave’s a great guy. In his early 40s, he’s just started out in his own business and knew enough to get a professional website developed as a platform to build his business upon.

Unfortunately, Dave thought he could save himself a bit of money by doing his WordPress maintenance himself. The trouble was, he didn’t actually do it. He had the best of intentions, but the reality was he got busy.

His coaching business really took off so he hired an offshore VA from Fiverr to write content for his site as well as perform basic maintenance for him. To put it bluntly, she didn’t know what she was doing so, when the site got stuck in maintenance mode she headed for the hills.

So now it’s Sunday afternoon, Dave’s site’s gone (from his perspective) and he can’t get in touch with his VA for love nor money, his next port of call is me.

Of course! I can fix maintenance mode, it’s super quick and not a problem. Thing is, Dave site isn’t an easy fix because at some point in the past 6 months he’s been hacked and didn’t know. Worse than that, he didn’t take me seriously when I explained the need for backups.

See where I’m going with this?

Websites aren’t wash and wear

These are dry clean only garments. You wouldn’t stick a $5000 haute couture gown in your washing machine and hope for the best. No, you’d find a dry cleaner you trusted and pay to have to properly cleaned and pressed.

(I don’t know why I’m using fashion as an example, I don’t even own an iron)

I’m not saying you can’t maintain your own website, what I am saying is that most people don’t and that’s when disaster can strike – just asked Dave.

Maintenance is more than just updates

Yes, updates are a huge part of what a care plan will do for you, a lot more goes into it than just clicking the “update” link on the plugins page.

Before we do anything to your site we make sure a full backup has been completed. This way, should anything go wrong, we can easily revert your site and have it up and running again within minutes.

Major plugins are also tested separately to ensure they won’t cause any conflicts with your theme or other plugins (this is a super common problem which can require work to fix).

We also check your websites performance, it’s load speed and downtime and much more. These things are all dependant on the software running correctly and being up-to-date.

Will you save money if you DIY?

Like I said before, you most certainly can do your own updates, but in my experience, most people don’t and that’s a risk.

Just like Dave, you could find your self with a bill for several thousand dollars to recover your site. A lot of the content Dave and his VA created is gone, along with the time and money spent to create it.

No one is too small potatoes to be a target for hackers so if your software isn’t up-to-date and you don’t have a clean backup you could find yourself starting again.

The choice is yours

You most certainly can maintain your own site, but if you’d like the peace of mind of knowing an experienced professional has your back apply for a website care plan today.

3 Things your website should be doing (but probably isn’t)

Is your website doing all these things?

A website is more than just art. It has a job to do.

It needs to take your readers on a journey from not knowing you to being ready to take that step and become a paying client. This process will be different from business to business because what your clients need from you is different to what mine need from me.

Regardless of your industry, there are three things you need your website to be doing to earn its keep and make you more money.

Is your website helping you grow your business?

Entice new leads

With an eye-catching, professional looking design and language that appeals specifically to your audience, your website should attract potential customers, draw them in and make them want more.

Give new connections what they need right off the bat. Do they need to see examples of your work? Will they be swayed by testimonials or other social proof? Don’t make them work for it, give it to them straight up.

Engaging readers

Is your content giving your readers what they want and need? Is it interesting, or even exciting?

Well created content isn’t just about keeping eyes on your site. It shows potential clients that you’re a professional in your field and why they should work with you.

Start a blog AND keep it updated! Don’t forget to use the same language they use to talk about the problem you solve for them and don’t be afraid to give them the actual answers. Don’t want to blog yourself? Hire an awesome copywriter like Jay.

Making sales

Getting people to work with you is about more than just slapping a “buy now” button on your website.

It’s about giving them what they need to overcome any objections they have to working with you specifically or hiring someone in general. Take some time and ask yourself—when you’re on a discovery call what do people always ask? Then consider how can you give it to them quickly, without being pushy (people like to buy but they don’t like to be sold to).

Work out what your client’s objections are and address them in advance (clue: cost is rarely the problem). Trudi Pavlovski has a great training to help you overcome the “no.”

Is your website serving your business by doing all three of these things? No? Get in touch today!

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