Owning a website is kinda like dying your hair… once you bleach it blonde (okay, orange) with a bottle of peroxide and a hair dryer in seventh grade, you have to keep up with it!
That means begging your mom to buy Sun-In for you when your roots start to grow out. And many years later when you finally make enough money to go to a real hairstylist? Yep, non-negotiable quarterly trips to get highlights.
No, those aren’t gray hairs, those are highlights!!!
Your website requires the same kind of tender loving care! There are a few non-negotiable things you need to do to your website to keep it in tip-top shape and prevent malware infections and other nastiness from ruining your hard work or making your life difficult.
1) Monitoring your security plugin
I recommend WordFence in the free 5 day website challenge and I show you exactly how to set it up and start protecting your site. The extra maintenance step here that you want to do at least once a week is to check your scan results and see if there are any items that need fixing. WordFence will alert you to plugin updates, old plugins, files that are different from the “WordPress Core” which could indicate a hack. Going through those scan results every week or so and cleaning up anything WordFence finds is a good practice.
I recommend BackWPUp in the Free 5 Day Website Challenge, and the extra step here is to check every week or so to make sure backups are actually happening, and that they’re being saved and you know how to access them. If you get hacked on a Tuesday, you can restore a backup from Monday, clean up any security issues that caused you to get hacked, and then you’re good to go! But if you have an issue and find out after the fact that your backups never ran, well, all I can do is offer you a pint of your favorite ice cream and a giant spoon…
3) Plugin Updates
If plugins need updated, you’ll see an orange dot with a number in it next to the Plugins menu item on your dashboard. It’s as easy as clicking on the plugins menu, finding the plugin that’s highlighted orange and clicking the Update link. Do this for all plugins as often as possible. It’s when you don’t log into your site for a long time that this becomes easy to forget!
4) WordPress Updates
Every quarter or so, WordPress pushes out the latest version of the platform. Sometimes it’s a small update that has bug fixes or security patches, other times it’s a bigger update that changes the interface and how things work (and then I have to update the Free 5 Day Website Challenge, dang-it!!). It’s super important that whenever you see a WordPress update that you make a backup of your site and then click a few buttons to do the WordPress update.
5) Theme updates
These actually aren’t as easy to spot as plugin or WordPress updates – there’s no big message or orange dot with a number, but they are important nonetheless. You can find out if there’s a theme update by going to Appearance > Themes – there you’ll see the theme highlighted if there’s an update – simply click Update, and you’re good to go!
BFF TIP: In the WordPress dashboard in the top-right corner, there’s an “Updates” menu item – you can click on that to see available WordPress, theme and plugin updates.
When I was in college, I totally used to try to highlight my own hair… I’d go to the local beauty supply store and get the developer, the color, and the foils and the brush, and then I’d attempt to do highlights just like I saw my stylist do… and it was a DISASTER. I’d end up with tiger stripes and have to go in and tell them that I let a “friend” do my hair and ask them to fix it…
Could I keep trying to perfect it and get better at it? Sure! But I don’t want to have to put 50 foils in my head and try not to get bleach everywhere – I can’t hold my arms over my head for that long!
So if you’re not logging into your website every few days to check on your WordFence scans, or to make sure your backups didn’t fail, and to update your plugins, then you’re vulnerable to getting hacked.
If keeping up on maintenance is something that you want to do yourself, it’s totally something you can do just by following what I outline above (and it’s easier than trying to learn how to do highlights)!
But if you don’t want to mess with it, then subscribe to my WordPress Protection Package and you can just sit back, relax, and I’ll take care of all the things for you! And if some nasty little hacker still finds their way in, like the hairstylist that fixed my tiger stripes, I’ll totally take care of it for you.
So tell me in the comments below – what are some of your hairstyle horror stories??
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