Website Maintenance on Autopilot – How Automation Helps
There is constant maintenance that needs to be done on websites to keep them safe and functional. Luckily, this maintenance mostly involves computer functions that can be automated. You install them and they do the rest. While these programs are making sure your site is running at its peak performance, you can then spend your time creating content, building relationships and managing your marketing campaigns.
Software and Plugin Updates
Software and plugin updates are essential. Whenever you download a software program or install a plugin, it will ask you if you’d like to receive updates. Always say yes. When it alerts you to an update, install it immediately. Software programs and plugins add code to your website to enhance it and this extra code develops weaknesses over time. Hackers learn to exploit the loopholes in this code and can gain access to your site. Updates keep these holes plugged.
Security scans perform a similar function. They periodically check your site for weaknesses where viruses and malware can gain access. There are software programs and plugins that scan daily, or on whatever schedule you program into it. When the program finds something suspicious, it will bring it to your attention and ask if you’d like it removed. These clever programs also clean up bits of code that are no longer being used.
Some website scanning software programs and plugins perform the additional function of removing broken links. If your program doesn’t do this, it’s a good idea to invest in a separate program that does. A large percentage of links become broken within the first few months of a site being built. If a visitor clicks on the link, they go nowhere. These need to be constantly identified and removed.
Backing up Your Data
Backing up your website data is critical. If your site is attacked and all of its content is destroyed, you can reinstall your entire site and it will be as good as new. If you don’t back it up, all of your content will be lost forever. There are programs and services that automatically back up your data regularly. Your data may be stored either in a separate physical location such as a detachable hard drive or online in the cloud. The best programs save your data both places.
When you’re making changes to your site or updating it, it’s important that you show visitors a page telling them it’s temporarily under construction. Otherwise, they’ll see the changes in progress or see nothing at all. There are plugins available that automatically redirect visitors to your ‘under construction’ page so that you don’t have to do it manually for every small change you make.
Investing in any type of website maintenance automation software can be costly, so it’s important to read reviews and take advantage of free trial versions. The work these programs do is important, so don’t skimp on quality. Try to choose comprehensive programs that handle as many site maintenance functions as possible.