If you have an existing WordPress website for your business, but aren’t sure how to manage it effectively, then this article is for you. We’re discussing tips and tricks for how to effectively manage your WordPress website, vulnerabilities to watch out for and security tips, and what not to do!
Useful Tips & Tricks
The most useful tip that we can give you is to research, research, research! Before you do anything to your WordPress website, make sure that you’re aware of the full list of impacts that the proposed changes may have on your website, as some changes may break your website completely.
The second tip is similar to the first: utilise tutorials! There are plenty of tutorials available for installing themes and plugins, as well as generally using WordPress. Some of the tutorials that WordPress themselves have uploaded are very useful, and can save you hours of work, and website hosting companies also have some good tutorials on offer:
WordPress tutorials from WordPress: https://learn.wordpress.com/
WP Beginner Blog: https://www.wpbeginner.com/category/wp-tutorials/
Bluehost tutorial: https://www.bluehost.com/blog/educational/how-to-use-wordpress-video-series-266/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=genericsearch&kclickid=6d819983-2194-44c6-acc2-8ccc14638e98&kenshoo_ida=Blue%20Host%20IDA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh9ru6qeS3wIVyjUrCh2lgQtcEAAYASAAEgIWVPD_BwE
SiteGround tutorial: https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/wordpress/
Looks DO matter! When it comes to your WordPress website layout, there are more themes available than you can poke a stick at. Choose a theme that is aesthetically pleasing and attractive (not just to you, but also to other people), ensure that your set up is user friendly, and make sure that your colour scheme is suitable! For example, poor pairings of colour scheme would include dull colours over the entire website, bright colours with no dull or plain colours mixed in, and background colour being too similar to text colour resulting in poor readability of text, for example a white background and light grey text colour impact readability of text (you don’t want to alienate older people and vision impaired customers).
Pay for a plan that includes plugins. We know that the financial cost is greater for a WordPress plan that includes the use of plugins, but they are so beneficial for improving your website capabilities and functionality that the cost is certainly worth it for most businesses. You may also want to opt for a paid theme and paid plugins, as they can give you the edge over your fellow WordPress website competitors, and assist your website in looking professional. The use of plugins also gives you plenty of useful capabilities including: SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), scheduled backups, social media functions, forms, anti-spam options and Google re-captchas, image optimisation, security improvements, analytics, additional fonts, the list is endless!
Vulnerabilities & Security Tips
One of the biggest security threats to a WordPress website is actually something you can control yourself: outdated software. If you are using outdated versions of WordPress, outdated themes, outdated plugins, or outdated php code, your WordPress website will be a lot more vulnerable to security threats.
Sometimes, older software, such as plugins, are abandoned by their creators, and no new versions are available to download. This is something you will need to address if you want a secure, updated and functional website. If the plugins or other software that you are using have not been updated for at least two years or more, it is possible that they may not receive any further updates. With the rapid increase of new vulnerabilities being discovered and the many security threats out there growing daily, it is wise to be aware of what your are using that may compromise your website. So, here’s how to do it:
- Log into your WordPress account, check what versions you are using
- Check for any available updates listed anywhere in your WordPress portal
- Download all available updates regularly, always check if anything has broken your website
- Roll back any changes that break your website
- If any new installs have broken your website, install new plugins with similar capabilities and remove the old ones
- Update your settings and content for your updated and newly install plugins
- If your website is having serious issues with handling updates and changes, you may want to speak with us about overhauling your existing website, or simply building a new one. Depending on how badly set up or outdated your existing website is, building a new one can often be faster, more secure, much easier and less time consuming, and leave you with a much better website in the long run.
For an example of the importance of keeping your plugins up to date, a serious WordPress plugin vulnerability that has come to light earlier this year is the WP GDPR Compliance plugin vulnerability. The GDPR Plugin is a WordPress plugin that is designed to help you achieve GDPR compliance for your website. This plugin has a huge security flaw that allows attackers to create administrator accounts and create back-door access for themselves to the affected website. They have since patched the vulnerability with an update that fixes the flaw, and they encourage all users to install the update immediately. Read more about it here:
What Not To Do
If you are in charge of running your business’ WordPress website, then here are the things that you may want to avoid doing:
- Making changes without performing any research
This is not a problem for those of you who are confident and experienced professional web developers. But for everyone else, making changes to your website can be daunting if you’re not feeling confident about what you’re doing. If you need to perform updates or change any content or settings, it is best to research how to best perform these changes before jumping in and changing anything. This approach may save you hours or even days of panic and frustration.
- Putting in too many plugins
This may sound like counter-productive advice, given that we’ve just discussed adding plugins to your WordPress website. However, using too many plugins can really slow down your website, and harm your SEO and performance. You don’t want a bloated website, so it is especially important to check that none of your plugins are performing the same roles, as you may be doubling up on capabilities. Check what each plugin does, and ask yourself if you really need to keep this function.
- Using too many large pictures or video files
You know those lovely promo and instructional videos that marketing professionals advise you will boost your SEO and business performance? Well, it turns out, these videos can be a real drag on your website performance and speed, and adversely affect your SEO as a result. The same thing goes for large or too many image files on your website. Reduce the sizes of the images you are using to speed up your website loading times, and reduce the number of images you have, if you have a lot. If you’ve paid good money for a nice promo video, it isn’t terrible to keep it on your website, but it is good to be aware that it is costing you some speed. Limit the number of videos on your website to improve your speed and SEO. How many video and image files are too many you may ask, and the answer is: there is no exact or correct answer to this question, it depends on your specific set up and needs.
What If I’m Feeling Overwhelmed?
Don’t panic, we offer WordPress website management services! If you’ve been tasked with managing your business’ WordPress website, and reading this article has left you feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of handling this, give us a call today, and we can discuss a WordPress website management package for your business, taking into account your specific business needs such as: how often you want to add or change content, how confident you feel in creating your own content for us to use, whether or not your website uses plugins, etc.
We can keep things very simple with a 1 or 2 hour per month work and cost schedule. This can involve: updating outdated WordPress versions, code versions, themes and plugins, improving the security of your WordPress website, regular scheduled backups of your website, and adding and changing content as required within the agreed work schedule and budget. We can also offer singular advice sessions if you want to manage your own website, but you’re not sure how to proceed. Give us a call or send us an email to enquire about our services.