The digital component of your brand is just plain crucial in today’s marketplace. It has to look good, feel good, and function with speedy and easy navigation. Of course, a website is anything but static. Fresh content is always being added to your mix, new interactions happen constantly, and sadly you’re under relentless attack.
At Bigfish, websites and digital campaigns are a large slice of the projects we help create. We choose to build websites in the familiar and user-friendly platform called WordPress. I’m one of the Bigfish tribe members responsible for programming technology to make effective marketing possible. With that in mind, I work with clients on present day web concerns, but also on an ongoing basis. How do I help maintain smooth website operation for clients? Here are six things I recommend keeping an eye on:
Backing Up the Files and Storage
One of the most important tasks is to back up your database. This should be performed at least once a month. This won’t keep your website clean and fresh but it does give you better recoverability in case something goes wrong. The good news: There are many free WordPress plugins available to help automate this process.
Updating the Core
A lot of users are afraid to back up the WordPress core because they fear that an update will crash their site, leading to a messy clean up. However, as long as the site is backed up prior to updating the core, everything should be fine. What makes updating the core important is the fact that WordPress frequently releases new versions with more advanced features/enhancements, bug fixes, and security updates/patches.
I can’t overstate this: Make sure you regularly update all plugins. Plugins need to be maintained not only to stay current with the frequent feature and upgrade releases I mention above, but also to remain compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
Another tip on plugins: Get rid of the ones you don’t use. Unnecessary plugins can affect your site performance and security—and not in a good way!
Enhancing Site Security
For instance, don’t slack by using ‘admin’ as a default username. Instead, use unique usernames and keep the passwords strong. Encourage other users on your site to do the same. Limit login attempts by jumping in when login attempts are failing. Need a good password generator? Here’s what I use and I rest easy at night.
Oh, and monitor your site for attacks. Login often. How often? Check it out.
Use SEO plugins to help boost your clicks and rankings. A great tip: Bigfish uses the Yoast Plugin.
Manage Site Content
WordPress is a ‘Content Management System’ and using it is an amazingly straightforward process. One of the easy parts of the process is keeping the system updated for top line functionality, and we feel confident passing Bigfish-developed websites to clients for self-service.
But the purpose of your website—to consistently engage your audience—requires publishing regularly, sharing informative and compelling content, offering special deals, and managing subscribers and comments. Bigfish clients tend to keep their relationship with us open-ended for lots of reasons, but especially for fresh creative and outreach projects. Notably, new creative content often entails a coding aspect or two—so the dev team is very much involved.
In other words, Bigfish can maintain everything that makes your brand successful.
A Final Note
Even though we construct websites that clients can manage themselves, we understand that some partners don’t have the bandwidth or interest in doing so. That’s why Bigfish offers customized and affordable web maintenance plans that manage everything I’ve mentioned (and more!) for you, as well as recommending future best practice adjustments that can optimize your website performance.
Bye for now, and maybe we’ll be talking to you soon.