It’s very exciting to launch a new website but once it’s live, that’s not the end of the story.
The Internet is not static. As soon as your website goes live, it enters into a dynamic space and it needs to be kept up to date in order to keep running smoothly. Plus, there’s a very real possibility that your website might get hacked.
Having someone else manage your website takes these tasks off your plate, but it is possible to do it on your own. These are the basic tasks we recommend to make sure you protect your investment and keep your website secure and working properly.
Core website & plugin updates
WordPress is one of the most widely used website software platforms in the world, but that also means it’s susceptible to attacks.
WordPress fixes those security gaps quickly but in order to benefit from those fixes, the core website software needs to be checked for updates regularly.
It’s equally important to update any plugins as they are a common place where hackers will look for and exploit security flaws.
We check daily for core website and plugin updates.
Most of the time when you update, everything will continue to work properly, but it is possible that an update will break or website. Also, despite your best efforts, your website may still get hacked.
In those cases, you’ll be glad you have a previous version of your website that you can restore. It’s best to keep the backups of your website off-site in case of disasters like fire where the copy might be destroyed; creating online backups is one way to do that.
We back up both the database, which is all of the collected information that makes up the website; as well as the server, which is the software that runs the website. We do weekly database backups with 90-week retention and weekly server back-ups with four-week retention.
An SSL certificate encrypts the information being shared between the website’s server and your computer.
Ensuring your site has an SSL certificate and it’s up to date not only protects visitors to your site, but it’s also good for search engine optimization because Google now prefers websites with an SSL.
Security and performance scans
Regularly scanning your website for security issues and performance standards allows you to measure the health of your website. If the scan you perform comes out clean, great! There’s nothing else you need to do.
But regular scans do sometimes find problems that need to be addressed, and it’s best to get those fixed as quickly as possible. We scan our websites daily.
Websites are like a storefront that your visitors expect to be open 24/7. If it’s down, they’ll leave disappointed. Websites do go down, though, and getting an alert for when your website goes down can help you get it back up more quickly.
Monitoring the website’s uptime can also point to problems with the server — if the site is going down a lot you may want to consider choosing a different hosting provider.
Database cleaning & optimization
Websites are usually designed to be changed: You update photographs, write new blog posts, remove old blog posts, add new pages, remove old pages, add new information, delete outdated information.
These types of changes and leave behind information in the database that doesn’t need to be there anymore. Removing that old data can help your website run faster.
We do database cleaning and optimization weekly.
Automated software for website management
There is software that automates some of these tasks so that you don’t have to run each of the checks manually. You’ll still need to understand the reports and alerts the software generates, or have a web developer on tap to help you troubleshoot any problems that arise, but using automated software can make website management easier.
When we’re using automated software for website maintenance, we always make sure to manually log in to the website on a regular basis, and click through the site to visually check the site is working well.
While you may be able to do most of the website management on your own with the help of automated software and some self-learning gumption, you may still run into technical problems you can’t solve yourself; that’s when you should call a professional.
Our website care plans include everything listed here, plus dedicated hosting based in Toronto, 30 minutes of design and content updates (that does not roll over), and a monthly report outlining the management tasks and results.