Going it alone – maintaining your own website

Now that you have invested in your website and have it up and running, it is critical that you maintain your website.

Building a website is like buying a car. Once you have bought the car, to ensure it starts and runs well and efficiently, you have to maintain it through regular servicing. Filling up with fuel is like paying for your hosting – it keeps your car on the road (and your website available to potential visitors). But servicing or regular maintenance is needed to check all the components of your car to make sure there are no unexpected surprises, and to make sure your car is kept secure so potential thieves cannot steal it.

Critical/non-negotiable maintenance activities include:

  • Backing up your website regularly
  • Updating WordPress core
  • Updating your plugins
  • Troubleshooting any plugin issues, errors or incompatibilities
  • Monitoring your website uptime
  • Monitoring your website for malware or hacker activity

Other highly recommended maintenance activities include:

  • Testing contact forms
  • Optimise your database regularly

A good host will reduce your maintenance

If you opt to host your site with Kinsta through Life Digital’s group account, you will not have to worry about certain items as they are included as standard. These include:

  • Backing up your website – Kinsta runs daily backups of your site
  • Updating WordPress core – Kinsta take care of this for you, although if there are any errors after updating, you will need to investigate
  • Monitoring your website for malware or hacker activity

Optional maintenance / regular website activities

In addition to all the essentials, you can also look to proactively get the most out of your website with things like:

  • Writing regular blog posts
  • Reviewing and refining your website content based on your Google Analytics and SEO keywords
  • Identify potential website additions through user search terms

When something goes wrong

We’re not going to lie. Most of the time, website maintenance is not a problem – when things go as expected, it is a straight forward process.

But things can (and do) go wrong. You might update your site and find a PHP error. Your website might return a 500 bad gateway error, your website design might disappear, or you can experience a slow website with timeouts.

Website issues can be caused by a vast array of things including:

  • Errors in plugins or themes
  • incompatible plugins or themes (including incompatibility with the latest version of WordPress, the version of PHP you are running etc)
  • Server related issues
  • DNS related issues

When something goes wrong, try to document what you were doing (and in what order you were doing it) just before the errors appeared. Make sure to write down any error messages you are getting word-for-word as this can help troubleshoot the issue.

From there, you will either need to Google the issue to determine a cause and solution, contact your hosting provider if it is server related or contact a web developer to schedule in time to look at your issue.

Hopefully, you have taken your backup before the error occurred and you may be able to roll back to that previous version of your site until you can determine what the issue is.

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