Are you in business and thinking about maintaining your own website? You’re not alone. The NSBA (National Small Business Association) published a 2013 Technology Survey indicating that:
• 27% of small businesses maintain their own websites (up 18% from just three years ago)
• 40% handle technical support themselves (up 15%)
• 70% say technology is critical to the success of their company (up 5%)
What’s involved in maintaining your own site?
Maintaining your website is a 5-step process:
1. Keeping your site backed-up.
If you have a WordPress website, you’re in luck because plugins like BackupBuddy make backing up a site easy: you set your backup schedule and forget it.
2. Add new, original content a regular basis
Blogs are a convenient way to keep your content fresh and desirable by search engines like Google. That’s because search engine robots crawl the web 24-7 ‘in search of’ new, original content.
WordPress’s strength is its blogging platform. If you can think of things to tell your perfect customer, on a regular basis, you will soon increase your web exposure and even your search engine ranking so that more people find you = win-win.
3. Update your plugins
One big advantage to building a website with WordPress.org is the availability of “plugins,” like BackupBuddy mentioned in point #1. Plugins are small programs that add special features and functions to your WordPress site. There are hundreds of different plugins you can download to use with your WordPress website. Many are free, but not all: regardless, they need to be updated when a newer version comes out.
You’ll know when to update your plugins because you’ll received a notice in the Dashboard of your WordPress site. It only takes a few minutes, and is typically performed with one click. Updates remove bugs, and improve the plugins’ performance. Plugins that are not updated can cause problems with your site, and may increase your chances of being hacked, so update whenever you’re prompted to update.
4. Update your website theme
If there’s a newer version of your theme available, you’ll see an “Update Themes” button appear on your dashboard. Click that button to download the latest version.
5. Update your website software
If you have a WordPress website it’s easy to keep your website software updated. Just like with plugins and themes, you’ll receive a message in your site’s dashboard when a newer version of WordPress.org is released. Simply click the “Update Now” button and wait a few minutes for the changes to take effect.
WordPress Update Tip: What To Update First?
Sometimes weeks will go by without the need to backup anything, and then it seems as if every time you log onto your site, there’s an endless list of plugins, your theme, and even WordPress itself, that needs attention. When that day comes backup your site in this order:
1. If your most recent backup did not include a database backup, perform a full backup which will include all your site files (pages, posts, media) and your database
2. Update your plugins: plugins work with the latest version of WordPress, so update your plugins before updating WordPress itself
3. Update your theme
4. Update WordPress
What If Maintaining A Website Is Not For You?
Ask the person who built your website if they will run regular backups for you. If you have a WordPress website, ask them to also check your site weekly to be sure your plugins and software are updated.
If possible, write at least 2,000 words per month and post it on your blog: 2,000 words is about 4 full pages of text. If you don’t have time to blog weekly, consider re-purposing a company newsletter and adding that to your blog post. As someone who never considered writing a blog, I find it helps me focus on my business, my perfect customer, and keep things on track. Hope it does the same for you.
Best wishes for continued success in your business.