Running a website is one of the most crucial aspects of growing your brand. Besides increasing visibility, it also serves as your contact point with prospective clients and a platform to facilitate engagement. For this reason, you’d want your website to remain informative, updated, and most of all, accessible.
However, creating a website and managing it are two different things altogether. On top of business priorities, it can be quite challenging to monitor how your site is doing on a regular basis. This is especially true if you don’t have a separate team to handle it for you, more so if it’s your first time running a business simultaneously.
The good news is that running a website doesn’t have to be rocket science as long as you know which things to keep in check. That said, here are 12 managing WordPress tips you must keep in mind when handling your website.
1. Keep plugins and themes updated
Most people tend to look past the significance of updating their website themes and plugins regularly. However, updating your plugins is essential in that they can literally break or make your site.
Plugins function similarly to the apps you install on your devices like laptops or phones, which is why updating them whenever prompted is necessary. They are crucial in ensuring your site functions seamlessly so that users avoid certain inconveniences like dead ends, slow loadings, or frustrating bugs. Updated themes and plugins also offer additional features that can help optimize your site.
But beyond that, one of the most important reasons to do so is that they help ensure your website’s security. As a website owner, you should always be vigilant about the vulnerabilities of the Internet and the possibility of ill-intent hackers exploiting your site’s weak spots for their own gain.
In fact, WPBeginner’s research discovered that around 83% of hacked WordPress sites tend to have plugins that aren’t up to date. From this information alone, updating your themes and plugins help strengthen your website’s security, significantly reducing the probability of being hacked.
2. Keep PHP, web server, and database up to date
Your WordPress hosting typically takes care of most of your day-to-day website maintenance, but it can be challenging if it falls behind. If your website hosting isn’t updating your web server, PHP, or database on a daily basis, it can result in potential losses and delays along the way.
Related reading: WordPress Compatibility with PHP 8
Keep in mind that data is one of your business’s most valuable assets, so you have an inherent responsibility to update your database regularly. Unfortunately, some businesses seem to neglect this.
It’s worth noting that customer data often disintegrates rapidly if you do a poor job in maintaining and updating it – this means that it can easily be as worthless in three years. Considering that we’re in the digital era, not paying attention to your web server or even PHP could push your brand behind other competitors. Outdated records and data can affect your overall performance as a business and can even compromise your operations in the long run.
3. Take backups!
Establishing backups is also crucial for website management. These backups help create certain restore points which you can readily use in case of any internal error or compromise in security. When this happens, you can instantly access site backups to bring back the changes and take the site back to its original form when you have initially saved it.
There are many plugins you can use for backups, though we mostly recommend the Duplicator plugin. It’s a popular cloning plugin for WordPress and lets you move your site between hosts and domains while avoiding downtime. The Pro version costs around $59 annually, but the free version is already excellent on its own as it can take backups of most sites. The only difference is that you can’t access extra features like its multisite network support or scheduled backups, but overall, it’s still a helpful plugin.
4. Make sure to test your email forms
Clients rely on email forms to air out their concerns regarding your business or if they have any questions they want to ask. Of course, no one wants to suddenly discover that their contact form on the website has not been working for a few months now. But besides this, email forms are a great medium for feedback and communication, even reinforcing engagement. Getting information from your clients who have interacted with your site can offer valuable insight into things you need to work on, such as points for improvement, what you need to prioritize or update, and more. If you want to maintain consistent contact and know how clients perceive your brand as a whole, you have to start by giving them a functional and consistent medium of communication to do so.
5. Keep the information updated
Since your website is the point of contact for your customers, it’s obvious that this is the first place they go when they have queries, concerns, or any inquiries. Leaving crucial information outdated on your site can cause undue annoyance and can frustrate potential customers who are initially planning on patronizing your services. It’s an inherent responsibility to cater to your client’s needs and provide them with clear and accurate information at all times.
Updating information on your site also helps give the information that your business is reliable, especially since there is an evident effort being put into keeping customers updated on a daily basis.
6. Don’t forget to change the year in the footer if you are hardcoding
When hardcoding, be cautious about the year stated in your website’s footer. It’s essential to keep all kinds of information up to date, especially time since it allows customers to know which content is more recent than the others. Timely information is as crucial as core content, as it’s the first thing your clients will look at when deciding whether it’s worth doing business with your brand.
7. Take advantage of SEO techniques
One of the main purposes behind creating a website is not only to engage with clients but also to put your business out there. However, you can’t do this without proper marketing or the right SEO techniques to guide you. After having a content creation plan, it’s a must to apply SEO practices by integrating keywords in your article titles, labeling content, or using an external and internal link for increased visibility. Remember that while there may be plenty of content you can dish out on a website, it will only be for naught if no one can find your site to begin with.
8. Only choose compatible themes for your site
With so many website themes to choose from, picking one can even get overwhelming. You’ll need to put as much thought into choosing the appropriate theme for your site as creating it, as it’s mainly dependent on how you want to present your business. If you’re selling software products, for example, you’d want to stick to a theme that offers space for graphics and concise technical blurbs. If it’s art-based, you’d want to stick to a more minimalistic appeal to focus on visual presentation.
However, the best advice for this is not to go for feature-rich or over-the-top themes – these will only slow down your site’s performance and may even result in bugs.
9. Publish content consistently
If you’ve got the technical parts of your site sorted, then you can focus on filling your site with much-needed content. One way to reach maximum user engagement is by being consistent with updating and putting out content through informative blogs or more.
Fresh content goes hand in hand with SEO, which typically translates into more website traffic and user engagement. It’s good if you can take on copywriting for your site all on your own, though you may also want to consider hiring content creators for your site to ensure that fresh content is served on a daily basis for your audience.
10. Make sure that your site sticks to your brand’s messaging
Personal biases tend to get in the way when handling certain projects. Most often, this is the number one reason where you might get sidetracked from your site’s true purpose.
In this case, consulting the help of a third party to offer an unbiased view of your website’s messaging can be helpful at best. You can do this with a new employee or an expert and let them provide you with objective criticism so that you know which points to improve on or determine whether you’re still in your proper lane. This helps ensure that you’re still putting forward your business’s core goals and are on the same page with your target audience.
11. Make quarterly site reviews
Alongside updating your plugins regularly, it would also be helpful to review your website at least quarterly for proper management. You need to have a specific system or plan that helps you assess your site’s overall functionality, content, and layout. Doing these reviews at least each quarter can help as you look at your numbers and determine which aspects to improve or focus on for the proceeding days.
Establishing a time for website reviews will help establish a routine and prevent you from neglecting your site – a common occurrence that happens with most business owners along the way.
12. Keep your site mobile-compatible
As it’s the digital era, expect the majority of your clients to be checking your website on their mobile devices. Fortunately, WordPress makes it very convenient for website owners to use a mobile theme as long as it’s updated and prepared for mobile optimization. In this case, you’ll only have to pay attention more to the pop-ups and plugins you want to integrate into your website since you’d want it to be mobile-friendly as well.