Website Maintenance - Thumbs Up? Or is it all just a gimmick?Don't let your website rule your life!
Website maintenance seems to be one of those terms thrown around the place from time to time – but does anyone actually know what it means? Is it actually a ‘thing’? Does my website need maintenance? And where do you even start?…
Let’s have a look a little deeper…
Sometimes – we think our website might be broken. That’s because it’s not doing the things it’s supposed to do. Maybe it’s looking a little strange, the images are displaying, the buttons aren’t clicking, the forms aren’t submitting, too many robots are crashing your inbox…. and the list goes on.
Although any of these types of problems could suggest you’ve got a bug in your system, there could be a much simpler solution – that you just might like to try before you invest in hours upon hours of bandaid fix-ups. Your site might just be lacking a little bit of TLC… Website maintenance!
Yes – we said it. It’s a thing!
Website Maintenance. What is it?
Maintenance is ‘the process of preserving a condition or situation or the state of being preserved’. (It’s true – we Googled it – check it out here: maintenance). So when we talk about Website Maintenance, we are basically saying that we want to keep the website in tip-top condition, from the inside out.
There are many different elements to fine-tuning your website, and it all starts behind the scenes.
Back it up…
First you’ll want to back up your site. You ALWAYS want to back up your site before you do anything significant to it – becuase if something goes wrong, and we all know the joys of working with technology, then you could potentially lose everything. You’ll then have a bigger problem than you started with!
So back it up!
Back up your site!
(It’s important so we had to say it a few times – back up your site!)…
Turn on your Maintenance Mode.
You know the one – when you go to a site and it says ‘Site undergoing maintenance, we’ll be back soon!’… That’s the one. Turn it on!
Don’t have one? Create one – there are plenty of plugins out there that’ll do the job for you with very little effort. Here’s a list of awesome coming soon plugins you can try!
Updates. All of them.
Go on – jump right in there and get the updates done and dusted. They’re annoying right – because they can take a long time. But it’s ok – it’s all for a good cause.
Don’t just update the plugins. Check if your themes and system needs updating too. But another little warning – be careful when updating themes and system files if you haven’t backed up your site!
So click start the updates, put the kettle on and while you’re at it, grab a chocolate too.
Get rid of the junk.
Go to your installed plugins and themes, and have a look for all of the unused ones. Do you need them? If not – delete them. Keeping unused plugins and themes only adds to the congestion on your site and provides more opportunities for hackers to sneak their way into your site.
Say Good-Bye to the spam!
Head to your post comments and get rid of all that spam! Make sure you do a quick scan through to look for and approve all of the legitimate comments etc.
Clear your cache.
What even is a cache? Where do I find it? Why is this so hard?
It’s ok – we feel the same too sometimes. If you’re not sure what a cache is, how to find it, or more importantly how to clear it – get in touch with your web designer and they can walk you through the process.
There are many different places your cache could be hiding – so it’s kind of an ‘individual’ thing, if you know what I mean…
Broken links and errors…
We all know how frustrating it is when you click on a link and end up on an Error 404 page… This is usually caused by a broken link.
Run a broken link finder and fix whatever errors it finds!
Test your form(s).
Go through your site and check that all your contact forms are working as they should be, that you’re receiving the responses to the correct email account, and that the user is receiving a customised thank you email after submitting the form.
It wasn't that bad was it?Did you Survive the Website Maintenance Challenge?
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far and you still feel in control of your website, then you’ve done it! You’ve got what it takes to run a successful website maintenance schedule. Now – just rinse and repeat this. Once per month for best results!
Of course, every 6 to 12 months you should perform a more thorough scan of your site, including things like a content and SEO audit, optimising images and a few other tasks. But we’ll save that for another post!