You built your stellar website. Maybe you created it yourself. Maybe you paid someone.
Perhaps it’s been several months or years since you updated content. Or, maybe you want to create a new website altogether. You know you should have some kind of WordPress website maintenance plan. …but where to start?
Having a stagnant website is like…well…not having a website at all. It happens to the best of us. I’m here to tell you it’s ok! You have no where to go but up!
Applying simple easy-to-do web maintenance techniques can help jump start your online presence – and you can do it!
To prove that point, I’ve rounded up 7 easy actions you can implement right now to elevate your web maintenance and why. Plus, I included some extras to get you started. Much of this content pertains to a WordPress website which is what I trust and use.
7 techniques to rock a WordPress website maintenance plan
1. First things first – Hosting + cPanel = Easy Maintenance
Having a secure and stable backend for your website is crucial to the success in maintaining your soon-to-be stellar website.
If your creating a brand spanking new website, start with a company that provides services catered to your objective. Make inquiries regarding content, ecommerce, security, blogging and ease of use. Maybe your website contains older content or you plan to migrate to another host.
Here is a list of questions you should know before you purchase hosting or migrate a site:
- Know your hosting needs.
- Investigate on host reliability and uptime guarantees.
- Study web host upgrading options and the costs associated.
- Check all hosting features (such as number of addon domains allowed) based on your needs.
- Check prices on both sign up and renewal as well as upgrading.
- Choose a host offering cPanel – an integration of apps and function…it’s your way of talking to the server where your website resides. This is a great interface.
- Read a hosting company’s fine print to find out more about server usage policy.
- Select a company that offers 24/7 customer service, with an English/American speaking representative.
* I revised this list from a great post on selecting a host here.
I recommend Bluehost. Bluehost designs and builds servers to run WordPress (more on this) like a dream. The technology provides performance, reliability, and functionality. Plus Bluehost offers 24/7 support. It’s really the place to be if WordPress suites your needs.
2. Backup your website – Yea, you need this.
Data can go bye-bye if not properly maintained. Yes, it’s happened… There are no guarantees and even with good companies and awesome technology, unfortunately, mistakes happen.
How to backup your WordPress site with cPanel:
Easy peasy…All you need to do is log in to your Cpanel, scroll to the “Files” section (the second one from the top), select backup Wizard, then choose full backup.
Cpanel will give you more options as well as a folder where your back up will be stored. Download that to your local computer.
I advise backing up every week or so.
Having outdated applications for well…anything leaves your info and technology incredibly vulnerable. Updating anytime it’s available should be your religion.
What should I update?
WordPress, plugins, frameworks. Any WordPress or backend related update WILL prompt you. Just follow the instructions.
Remember, any edits you’ve made to the core framework of WordPress will be overridden when updated. Create child themes when changing any code. (More on child themes.)
Why should I care?
A Wordpress website can trip all over itself with little or no updates. Changing technology constantly requires any site to update often. Fix those bugs!
How to update WordPress plugins:
1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
2. Navigate and select “Plugins.”
3. In the Plugins window, select all the plugins requiring updates.
4. Scroll back up to the top, then in the drop down menu, choose, “update.” Click “Apply.”
Side note about plugins: White screen of death. Sound familiar?
If you haven’t, you probably will. The white screen happens when you try to activate the customizer from the Appearance panel in the dashboard.
HINT: if you’re experiencing a white screen of death, don’t panic. It’s most likely a plugin causing the issue. Simply deactivate one-by-one. Start with more recent installs and usually the problem will resolve.
While we’re on the subject…
Let’s go over how to deactivate WordPress plugins:
1. Open your plugins panel from the dashboard.2. Select the plugins you wish to deactivate.3. From the dropdown menu, choose deactivate. Or under the plugin, click the “deactivate” link.4. To reactivate, simply select “activate.”
4. Blog your brains out – with awesome and relevant content
You want traffic? Blogging is money…and can be literally. A website without blogging is like the water color with no color; like the cake with no butter. And it’s the part of web maintenance that often times gets overlooked.
Because up-to-date relevant content makes the Google Gods happy (more below). It’s the reader (potential customer) who ultimately determines rankings and no user wants stale and stagnant content.
Blogging is the simplest way to keep content fresh and inviting while staying current. That gets attention and is the backbone of a great web maintenance plan.
Blogging and WordPress – a great place to start
If you haven’t already gathered, WordPress happens to be my choice of website content management systems…
WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS) and blogging platform. Many business owners with no web experience find WordPress easy to use and very versatile. Themes, widgets and plugins add style and function and building a simple or complex site is easily attainable. Backed by a trusted host, a well maintained WordPress site gets noticed online.
Need a web professional to build a blog for your business? Just give me a shout!
5. Google and Search Engine Optimization with Keywords
Maintaining a solid website includes refreshing content through solid keyword research and analytics.
Get your marketing content current and relevant
Web content is searched and crawled by googlebots. Google’s algorithm constantly changes and updates it’s log of websites to return real and applicable results. Indexed information frequently updated and referenced gets first in line.
With that said, remember content should always be focused towards the user as this is the ultimate deciding factor in how your site will be ranked. Did the user satisfy their search query? Do you know what your user is inquiring about? For more information on SEO (search engine optimization) click here.
Here’s a Helpful tool! Google Business Tools A great way to stay organized, and utilize the power of Google at your fingertips.
How do I know what keywords to include?
A great place to start is with Google or Microsoft (Bing). Setting up an account does not require payment. In the case of Google, just go through the steps to start a campaign and enter keywords. Results are immediate.
How to find keywords with Google:
1. Start a campaign. Click here.
2. Once you are prompted, reference the image below to start entering keywords. Super easy!
Remember to keep in mind that although you want visitors to your site, you want the right kind of visitors to your site.
6. Link Building
Why do links matter?
Link building: Links are potentially the bread and butter of a website. Updating links on a consistent basis is crucial to top ranking websites. It gives search engines yet another criteria regarding clicks and inquiries. If a link is clicked frequently, it probably means the content rocks. Clicked links drive traffic which ranks high with Google. A good web maintenance plan should always includes keeping links fresh and constantly checking for broken ones.
It does hurt your ranking if links are broken!
Backlinks: Backlinks are links from other sources on the web linking to your site. Getting backlinks isn’t easy, but if your persistent, it will payoff.
How do I start creating solid links?
Analyze competitors links. How do they look and where do they link to?
Post links TO potential websites in which you would like to be affiliated with.
Most importantly, Ask! Make requests to link from other sites. Many influencers have designated areas on their website to submit links and other content. Write a letter to the site owner with these simple actions in mind:
- Don’t be boring. Use conversational, yet professional language. Stand out by writing something unexpected.
- Be truthful.
- Give em’ what they want! Download (and read) their marketing materials.
- Feed their ego. A truthful, non ass kissing comment goes a long way.
- Make yourself available.
- Reinforce the benefits of linking to your site.
- Don’t forget to provide a custom link that is trackable.
Below is a sample letter requesting a backlink:
Subject: We’ve got a great resource we think your readers might like…
My name is Leslie and I’m getting in touch with you regarding your Fashion site/blog. I’m currently working with Salon trio to announce their new grand opening in Denver, CO, and thought this might be of interest to you and your readers, as it provides an easy and intuitive way to connect with local women. You can review the article at FAKEURL.com.
If you find the resource to be of value to you and your readers, I’d appreciate it if you could add it to your hair and fashion page or announce it to your readers at your own discretion. Alternatively, you can utilize the customized badge or link code provided below:
>Insert Badge or Anchor Text Optimized HTML Code<
As someone has an interest in Fashion, I’ve signed up to your site’s newsletter and look forward to learning more about your business. I have also linked your hair and fashion page to my site: www.yoururlhere.com.
Please let me know if the above provides you with the information you need to review and consider our new section for linking. I’m available Monday to Friday 9am-5pm EST, and can be contacted via telephone at my direct line (xxx) xxx-1234 and also by my direct email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leslie “Fashionista” Wolfe
* This letter originally appeared on this post The Perfect Link Request by Dev Basu, Search Engine Journal. Thanks Dev!
7. Social Media Mecca
Be social. Engage customers. Engage your website.
Although Social media is not technically part of a web maintenance plan, it should still get honorable mention. Get your website connected with Facebook, Twitter and all applicable media. Value the insights provided with each; solid sharing, likes and links DO pertain to maintaining a healthy website. It all comes back around when sharing good fresh content.
A happy user is a friendly user
Ever see a bad review and it completely shapes your thoughts? It should also be mentioned here that negative attention matters. A solid website maintenance plan should contain measures to handle unhappy customers. Bad reviews should be dealt with quick. Response time is literally critical when dealing with negative viral comments.
Your busy…I get it! if your more interested in running your business and less inclined to take care of the techie stuff, just drop me a line and I can hook you up! For more information about wordpress website maintenance plans click here.
WordPress website maintenance plans on a monthly or hourly basis including (but not limited to):
- Domain name setup
- Email setup
- WordPress installation
- WordPress migration
- Website development
- Website backups and backend updates
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Blog and content writing + optimization
- Creative – including digital design + infographics
- Bug Fixes
- Link building
All of the above equals your rock solid website elevated! Now what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
Did you find this post useful? Anything to add? I would love to hear your feedback! Start the conversation below…come on, you know you want to!