Managing a WordPress website can be a challenging task. Any given WordPress website is a sum of many moving parts. From managing performance to taking care of security, WordPress maintenance is a tough ask.
Bad management has serious risks. A website is bound to fall apart on all fronts without proper management.
But what is website management? What does it include? How can you manage a website built on a popular CMS like WordPress?
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of website management and five best practices to do it for your WordPress site.
What is website management? What does it entail?
Website management can cover a lot of things depending on the organization in question. Some website owners consider every aspect of growing a site as management. This is not exactly accurate.
Any service performed to keep a website functional can be added to site management. This includes all the performance and security services that a website requires to function properly. In many cases, site owners hire external agencies or even subscribe to certain website management tools for this service.
The idea is to allow you to focus on growing your website without worrying about the functionality of the website.
For a custom-built website, management can be a tough ask, especially if you don’t have prior experience in programming.
In WordPress, you can lean on trusted tools and well-defined practices to manage your website. Management can be easy if you maintain your website responsibly. Furthermore, you don’t need to hire an external agency to do this for you.
Five best practices to manage your WordPress website
WordPress management is both important and easy. All you need to do is complete a few essential practices to ensure your site’s health is optimal. While WordPress is not a completely managed CMS, it does come with nifty plugins that make management easy and effective.
Over a third of the websites in the world use WordPress as their choice of CMS.
This is why many website owners that want to create and manage sites choose WordPress. Here are a few management practices that can help you maintain your website effectively.
#1: Always maintain your themes and plugins
Themes and plugins are an essential part of any WordPress website. Your theme dictates your website’s appearance, while your plugins largely dictate its functionality.
Since themes and plugins are added externally to WordPress, they require regular updates. These updates are not just important from a functionality standpoint. Plugin authors often roll out updates to remove security vulnerabilities. Additionally, some of these updates are also aimed at maintaining compatibility with popular plugins like WooCommerce, or new core WordPress updates.
In many cases, site owners ignore plugin updates. WordPress does allow users to enable auto-updates, but it’s not a good idea to use this option blindly.
The correct way to manage plugins and theme updates is to do it manually. You can do a weekly check on your website to see if any new updates are available.
If they are, you can deploy these updates in a secure staging environment. It is not a great idea to deploy the updates directly to your website. This is because you can never tell if a new update has some conflict issues with another plugin or theme.
A staging environment gives you the perfect cover in this case. If you have a large website with many moving parts, a staging environment is again a good idea when you’re making a lot of changes.
#2: Choose a trusted website host
A lot of your website’s management tasks can be performed directly by your host. It depends on the hosting partner you choose.
Some hosting providers don’t provide any additional services besides storing your website on a server. This is true for practically all self-managed hosting providers. If you need additional services, self-managed hosts like Digital Ocean or AWS may not be the answer.
The alternative? Shared and managed hosts aren’t as independent as self-managed providers, but they do offer additional services. It is easier to manage and access files with these providers and make changes to the hosting plan when needed. If you don’t have a ton of technical expertise in hosting, shared and managed hosts are viable options.
Between the two, managed hosting is a better choice. It comes loaded with additional features and services. Furthermore, a large part of managing your websites, such as speed optimization and security, is done by the host itself.
Managed hosts are thus a better solution if you don’t have the technical knowledge to correctly maintain your website.
#3: Use caching to improve site speed
Site management also includes making the user experience as optimal as possible. It is thus vital to ensure your website’s speed does not dampen the overall experience of your visitors.
Caching is a simple way to make sure your website’s load time is as low as possible.
What does caching really mean? When you open a webpage, the website’s server has to load the resources of the page directly from the server. This can take time depending on the efficiency of your server.
To reduce the dependency on server response times, site admins often use caching. With caching, your website essentially stores recurring page resources in the local memory of your site’s visitors. This way, when they visit your website again, a large chunk of the page resources are loaded directly from their local memory.
This lowers the burden on your server and increases its bandwidth significantly. Caching is often a part of any given reliable hosting plan. With WordPress, you can also choose to use Cloudflare for caching. Cloudflare has a free plan which includes basic caching features that improve your site’s speed.
Your site’s speed can also affect the performance of your mobile app in case you use an automated app builder for development.
You can also choose a hosting plan which comes loaded with optimized caching features. This way, you can get caching features without needing to configure the technical settings yourself.
#4: Perform essential security tasks
Security is an essential part of website management. While WordPress security can become technical at times, you can protect your website by performing a few simple security tasks.
Here are a few security tasks you should perform:
- Install a security plugin on your WordPress website. WordFence is a reliable plugin and provides your website essential security from garden variety cyber attacks. You can use such plugins to do weekly security scans to look for possible vulnerabilities.
- Change your admin login URL. This way, you can avoid password-guessing attacks. You can use a third-party plugin to do this.
- Install two-factor authentication on your website. You can do this with your security plugin. WordFence allows you to have two-factor authentication to secure your website completely.
- Change your admin password on a regular basis. This is the easiest way to keep your website secure from unauthorized access.
#5: Maintain mobile compatibility
WordPress websites built with simple and reliable themes are generally mobile-friendly. However, if you choose to build your web pages with a page builder, you need to check each page for mobile responsiveness.
Page builders allow website owners to build mobile response pages. However, there are a fairly few technical settings that need to be configured to ensure that your pages come out well on mobile.
Additionally, your theme may not always be completely compatible with the page builder you’re using. This can cause further issues in mobile responsiveness.
It is thus vital that you test all your pages for mobile responsiveness, especially those built with page builders.
It is also a good idea to use Gutenberg for building pages instead of page or website builders. Gutenberg is lightweight and comes with a number of blocks that allow you to customize your pages to a great degree.
In some cases, website owners develop PWAs and mobile apps for their WordPress sites. Tools like AppMySite make it very easy to create mobile apps by using WordPress as a base. It is not complex or tedious to learn how to create an app with automated and DIY app-building tools.
Website management may seem like a side task that doesn’t need a lot of attention. However, negligence in maintenance can sabotage your website’s speed and security.
In this article, we cover five ways you can manage your WordPress website effectively. With these practices, you can get a better grip over the speed of your website, and keep it secure from third-party attacks.
Story by Sakshi Narayan