Would you drive your car 100,000 miles without changing the oil, adjusting your alignment or checking under the hood? Of course not! Even the best cars need slight adjustments and a little love from time to time. Without tune-ups your car will run poorly, or worse yet break down when you need it most.
The same is true for your website. No matter what you paid for it, when it was designed or what platform it is built on, without regular adjustments its performance will deteriorate over time. We build all our websites using Wordpress, so some of the elements on this list are specific to this platform, but most of them are true regardless of the operating software.
Back up Your Website
Your website is a bit like a living organism. If you are using it well you are constantly making small changes, like adding a blog post or image, creating a new page or an employee profile. If something happens; you accidentally erase a key file, your site is hacked, one of your plug-ins is no longer compatible with your site or your server crashes, having a back up copy of your site is like an insurance policy. It will allow you to get back to business quickly.
How often should you back up your site? The answer is directly connected to how often you add new content and how much you can afford to lose or rebuild. At a minimum we encourage clients to plan a back up every month to protect their new information. Back ups should also always be run before making any security or software updates. If you are blogging regularly, you may want to consider investing in a back-up tool like Back up Buddy to run more regular backups.
Update Website Security
Hackers are getting smarter and smarter coming up with new ways to break into your website, post malicious code, run behind the scenes programs or even hijack your url. You have to stay one step ahead as well. Several times a year, WordPress updates their operating system and you should too. The most current version of WordPress as of this writing is Version 4.5.2. Log in and see if your version is current. If not, update it immediately.
Next look at your plug-ins. These accessory programs provide great functionality for your website, but also create points of vulnerability in your website. After you update your operating system, run the updates on each plug in. Do this one at a time. Why? Because if a plug in is no longer compatible with your theme, the update may break your site. When you update multiple plugins at the same time it is much more difficult to identify the culprit. If you run only one at a time and the site crashes you can simply uninstall the plugin from your C-panel, and the site will be restored. Then you can address the issues with the specific plugin.
Revise Your SEO
You built your website in the hopes of attracting visitors from Google and other search engines. You probably spent a lot time focusing on your page titles and meta descriptions, creating content to attract the attention of the search engines. But things change. The guidelines from Google change with each update. What was considered best in class SEO practice two years ago is outdated today.
Beyond the rules of the search engine is the consideration that even if your content is correctly formatted, it may no longer be an accurate description of your business. We work with a law firm that successfully ranked well for Class Action Law. Unfortunately, the attorney who handled most of the class action cases left the firm. We needed to adjust all their page titles to reflect the much wider range of services they offered.
Time for Your Website Tune-Up
So if it has been a while since you had your web site oil changed you know what you need to do. And if you would rather not do this on your own, give us a call and we will be happy to look under the hood.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm specializing on websites built using the Wordpres platform