Back in 2006, when we built the first website for our first paying customer, website maintenance was not really a thing. You built a website for a customer. You put it on their server. And boom, that was it. You were done.
Now that we’re drawing ever closer to 2020, I look back on those times and giggle. It was a simpler time. 🙂 In almost all situations now, you can’t get buy without some kind of website maintenance service to make sure your site is up and running at all times.
There are a lot of companies offering WordPress support packages these days, so it’s important that you understand what you should be asking, and making sure you are getting, with any plan. Here’s my guide to what you should be sure is included in any service plan you purchase:
Backups, backups, backups. Your site needs to be backed up. It needs to be backed up every day, and it needs to be stored offsite. I’ve heard some folks say, “Oh, I don’t need to do that. My web host does it for me.”
Let me share a not-so-fun story. Company has opted not to pay for a backup service, convinced that their web host is doing everything right in terms of backups. And the web host was doing daily backups, and you could see them right there in the admin panel of their hosting account.
Fast forward to the day their web host experienced an outage. A long outage. The customer was in a panic, because their e-commerce site that their clients use to place orders all day long was down. Not only that, their customer portal for their web hosting account was also down. So not only could they not get to their site, but they couldn’t get to their backups!
Had they been storing off-site backups, they could have, in an emergency, created a new hosting account with a different company and quickly loaded a backup of their site onto the new host. While not ideal, it could have saved them several hours of their site being down, and hundreds of dollars lost.
I recommend you always have at least 30 days of backups store somewhere separate from your web host.
If you are using WordPress for your site, there are going to be updates. WordPress releases a minimum of four core updates per year, not to mention various minor updates that address bugs and security issues. If you aren’t keeping up with these updates, you could be risking a security issue with your site.
With our WordPress support and website maintenance service, we scan your website every week and run all available core updates to make sure your website is up-to-date at all times.
Similar to core updates, there are going to be plugin updates as long as you have plugins on your site. And if you have a WordPress site, then there’s no way you don’t have any plugins. This is a part of having a dynamic website in 2019. Plugin updates not only bring you new features and options, but they can fix bugs and address security issues.
Removing Spam Comments
One day, I was given the login for a friend’s website because she was getting so much spam and she wanted me to help her with it. Of course, I wanted to help. I logged in and noticed that she had over 7,000 spam comments! Not only was she getting spam comments, but she wasn’t removing them.
Having a lot of spam comments in your site, even if they aren’t approved, will bog down your database and slow down your site. Part of any good website maintenance service is going to be removing these comments.
Pro-tip: If you have a lot of spam comments that you’ve let get away from you, and you don’t want to go through and manually delete them, you can use an easy SQL query to remove them all from the database.
DELETE FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_approved = '0';
The 0 in that query will delete any comment that is waiting for moderation and is currently unapproved. (Please be sure to backup your database before running any queries!)
Let’s talk about uptime monitoring, one of my favorite kinds of monitoring ever! This is a service that keeps tabs on your website, so that if it goes down, we get a notification.
I love offering this as a service, because I get a ping if a client’s website goes down, and usually I can check in and figure out why it’s out and fix it before they even know it was out.
If you aren’t monitoring your site for uptime, and you aren’t in the habit of visiting your site daily, your site could be down for days before you realize it’s not up.
Back in the good old days of the web, security was something we took for granted. Since the sites we were making were static, there wasn’t much to be hacked. Now, our sites are dynamic, they are using complex code and systems that make them targets. Some people will try to tell you that WordPress isn’t secure and you shouldn’t use it. That’s simply not true. WordPress IS secure… so long as you use strong passwords and keep your software update.
Have you heard about our website maintenance service?
We offer all of the above and more in our support plans. Learn more or sign up today.
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Wonderful info! My company and I are transferring from Weebly to WordPress, so we needed info on wordpress maintenance. Cheers!