As bloggers and business owners, there’s hardly a time when you find yourself actively looking for things to do. We’re all busy with clients / customers, writing and publishing new content, coming up with new ideas, marketing ourselves, and so, so much more. The truth is, though, that in all of that hustle often times our websites can start to fall to the background.
Kory here! There are lots of things you can do for your website to keep things secure and on track, but even those things can start to become a second thought when you’re in your busiest season. However, there’s good news: today I’m sharing with you 5 things you can (and should) do monthly to keep your blog on track and your site secure!
Backup your entire site
A couple of years ago I had a past client reach out to me with a scary email – she’d forgotten to renew her hosting, and she lost her entire blog when it expired. Luckily her web hosting had been taking backups of her site because she hadn’t been, and this isn’t uncommon. A lot of people assume that their hosting company is keeping regular backups of their site, and so they don’t do it themselves. Your web hosting might be doing this (it’s very important to go and double check on this); however, they might not be backing it up as often as you’d like.
To avoid this whole awful scenario, it’s important to make sure you’re backing up your site yourself and your storing your backups. Our favorite plugin for this is BackupBuddy. It’s a premium plugin, but we’ve used it on our sites and our clients’ sites. We recommend that you’re taking a backup at least once a month, but if you’re publishing new content weekly or making changes to your site more often, then take backups more often that once a month.
Update WordPress, plugins, and themes
One thing that always leaves me cringing is when I log into a client’s site to see that they have several updates just hanging out, and unfortunately, this happens more often than you’d think. A lot of the times WordPress isn’t an issue because most web hosting will automatically update WordPress for you to help avoid security issues. However, the security issues don’t stop at WordPress updates. That’s why it’s so important to also make sure you’re updating your plugins and themes.
I challenge you right now to head on over to your site and see how many updates you have waiting for you. If you have a lot of plugins that are outdated, you’re running the risk of making it easy for hackers to get into your site and wreak havoc. We recommend that you run updates on your site at least once a month, but if you see them throughout the month then go on ahead and update whatever it is. Also, make sure you’re taking a backup of your site before you update WordPress, Genesis, your active theme, or your plugins. This way just in case something goes wrong with the update, you still have the most recent version of your site that you can restore.
Get rid of unnecessary plugins and themes
While you’re updating your plugins and themes another good thing to do to help maintain your site is to get rid of any of them that you aren’t using. A lot of times we’ll go hunting for the perfect theme or plugin only to find something else that works better, but then we leave multiple of the same type of plugin installed. I’ve read the posts that it doesn’t matter how many plugins you have on your site, but trust me… if you have 30+ plugins, you’re definitely running the risk of slowing your site down, which means losing traffic.
We routinely go through and get rid of any plugins that we aren’t using when we’re running updates. This way we don’t have to keep updating themes we aren’t using. As for themes, our rule of thumb is to keep 2-3 themes on your site. We like to keep our active theme, the Genesis framework (since that’s what our active theme is built on) as well as a default WordPress theme in case something goes wrong and we need to activate it for some reason.
Check the content on the front-end of your site
When we’re busy running our blogs and businesses, it’s all too easy to forget to check back in with the content on the front-end of your site. For example, updating your Services or Contact page with when you’re accepting new clients, adding new headshots to your About page, or getting rid of pages on your site if you’re totally changing what you do. However, it’s just as important to check on the content on the front-end of your site as it is to keep up the back-end of your site.
A good rule of thumb is to check your content at least every other month. This will help you make sure that you’re displaying the best and most relevant content about yourself, your blog, and / or your business. It’ll also help you avoid attracting the wrong clients / customers to your business or getting pitches for blog posts that don’t fit in with your audience. If you find yourself too busy to do this all year long, make it a quarterly goal to go through your site and update your content to help keep things on track.
Publish new content
This may seem obvious, but if your goal is to keep driving traffic to your site to help you book clients or generate sales in your shop, then it’s important to regularly publish new content to actually get that traffic to your site. However, if you’re anything like me sometimes life and business can get so busy that you just can’t find the time (or frankly the motivation) to keep cranking out new content every single week.
It doesn’t matter what type of content, but it is important that you’re regularly publishing new content and staying in front of your audience. I hate to say this, but we live in such a fast paced world that if you skip 3-4 months of publishing new content but your competitors are regularly updating, then you’re less likely to keep hitting your goals. Both Krista and I like to try to publish new content once a week, but if you’re too busy for that, aim for 2 times per month. This will keep you on track with your goals without totally overwhelming you.
Are you doing these five things regularly for your blog? If not, it’s time to set a few recurring tasks on your to do list to make sure they’re getting done. Doing these things may seem overwhelming when you already have so much to take care of, but remember: it’s all about keeping your site secure and you on track to reach your goals!