The Fundamentals of a Properly
Managed WordPress Website
Managed WordPress Hosting – Elements
The importance of a properly managed Website, in our opinion, is critical to website marketing. We have compiled this document to give a wider perspective on this important subject.
What is a managed WordPress website?
What is managed WordPress hosting? In a nutshell, it’s WordPress-specific hosting that adds several convenient features to make it easier to manage, secure, and speed up your WordPress site. Managed hosting isn’t so much a type of plan as it is a description of the service you’ll receive.
The thought of creating your own website may seem overwhelming.
You might even think this task is impossible for anyone but a developer or a person with a web design background.
Well, I have good news for you. There’s software out there that’s so easy to use, and virtually anyone can successfully create a unique and professional-looking website for their business, blog, or portfolio. It’s called WordPress.
Tips for WordPress Website Management
Your website is an indispensable part of your brand. It’s often one of the first points of contact you have with potential customers, so it should be accessible, informative, and up-to-date.
But sometimes, it’s hard to keep your website a priority, especially if you don’t have a dedicated IT team. You already made a great choice by using WordPress and its easy-to-update interface.
Your platform only does so much. That’s why we’ve compiled some of our best practices for managing your WordPress site.
1) Don’t forget mobile
So many of your site visitors will be looking at your content on a mobile device. Luckily, WordPress makes it pretty easy to activate a mobile theme. As long as your WP version is up-to-date, you should already be optimized for mobile. You have to worry about your plugins, specifically popups, which can be less mobile-friendly. We recommend checking your mobile site routinely to be safe, especially after any big update.
2) Review your site quarterly (with updates as needed)
It’s important to have a system in place to review your website content, layout, and functionality. Generally, it’s best to take a look each quarter. Look at the numbers and see where you can improve. Having a set time to review your site will keep you on schedule and help site maintenance from falling through the cracks. Or have a partner do it for you.
3) Ensure your site is on-brand
We all have biases, especially when it comes to projects that we spend a lot of time on. So sometimes, you need to bring in a third-party to evaluate your site’s messaging. Find an expert or ask a new employee (after ensuring harsh criticism is welcome, of course) to read through the site with an objective eye, looking for things that might not line up with what you think you are communicating.
4) Automate as much as possible
Keeping your daily or weekly site maintenance to a minimum is a plus. This is one of the places where your hosting provider comes in handy. They can automatically update your plug-ins for you to keep your site up-to-date.
5) Publish, publish, publish!
Google loves fresh content! After you know your site’s technical aspects are good to go, it’s time to focus on updating your site’s content through a blog or by adding more information to your extant pages. Fresh content means a boost to SEO, which, of course, means more traffic and more business. Unless you have a yearning to take on regular copywriting, this is where contracted content creators can come in handy (and quickly pay off).
6) Update core content
It can be easy to get caught up in updating your site’s blog with new, timely information and totally forget about the core content on your site. This is the stuff that everyone’s looking at when trying to determine if they should do business with you. If you don’t refresh it once in a while, it can quickly become dated (at least, by internet standards). We recommend assigning the task of ensuring core content is still relevant to one person who can make the call when assigning a copywriter.
7) Consult analytics
Not everyone’s a numbers person, but, as they say, numbers don’t lie. Analytics is one of the most useful tools in your belt, and they are so easy to consult nowadays. Your key performance indicators (traffic, bounce, etc.) can tell you what you need to focus on next time for some site maintenance.
8) Ask customers about your site
Something about your website made them want to do business with you. Why not ask what? Information from real people who have real interactions with your website can help direct you to update or prioritize. You have to make sure you’re asking them the right way. Anything from social media polls to personalized feedback forms can be effective as long as your questions are focused and your customer knows that their feedback is valued.
9) Maintain your website constantly, and don’t be afraid to ask for help
Once website maintenance falls out of the day-to-day scope of operations, it can easily fall behind. Managed WordPress hosting will take care of a lot of the day-to-day for you, which leaves you and your team time to focus on your site’s aesthetics, content, and the next big redesign. But remember that just because you aren’t interacting with your site directly every day doesn’t mean that it should fall out of mind. Once a website overhaul is complete, it’s not time to forget about your site for a bit — it’s time to start thinking about the next overhaul.
10) Coordinate your marketing and web teams
A website is both a marketing tool and a technical asset. This means that your marketing experts and your web experts should communicate everything from post themes to the next big WP update. Visible updates can also be a great marketing tool when timed correctly, and it takes coordination from both teams to do so.
WordPress Security Tricks to Keep Your Website Safe
1. Work only with good hosts
It would help if you only worked with reliable, high-quality, and safe hosting. This piece of advice seems obvious, right?
More or less, everyone thinks their hosting is great until something breaks for the first time. In the real world, not all hosting companies and hosting offerings are created equal.
Some hosts are simply sub-par and don’t do well under stress.
The bad news here is that most of the time, you don’t even know that your host isn’t taking your website security seriously enough. Things like increased hacker attacks, frequent downtime, and low performance might result from inadequate security mechanisms in place.
The reality is that you’re not really going to “fix your host.” The easiest and the best solution is to switch to a different host that’s more secure.
Generally, the more you play, the better your new host will be, but you can also consider some budget options.
2. Protect the wp-config.php file
The wp-config.php file holds crucial information about your WordPress installation, and it’s the most important file in your site’s root directory. Protecting it means securing the core of your WordPress blog.
This tactic makes things difficult for hackers to breach your site’s security since the wp-config.php file becomes inaccessible to them.
As a bonus, the protection process is straightforward. Just take your wp-config.php file and move it to a higher level than your root directory.
Now, the question is, if you store it elsewhere, how does the server access it? In the current WordPress architecture, the configuration file settings are highest on the priority list. Even if it is stored in one folder above the root directory, WordPress can still see it.
3. Disallow file editing
If a user has admin access to your WordPress dashboard, they can edit any files that are part of your WordPress installation. This includes all plugins and themes.
If you disallow file editing, no one will be able to modify any of the files – even if a hacker obtains admin access to your WordPress dashboard.
To make this work, add the following to the wp-config.php file (at the very end):
4. Set directory permissions carefully
Wrong directory permissions can be fatal, especially if you’re working in a shared hosting environment.
In such a case, changing files and directory permissions is a good move to secure the website at the hosting level. Setting the directory permissions to “755” and files to “644” protects the whole file system – directories, subdirectories, and individual files.
This can be done manually via the File Manager inside your hosting control panel or through the terminal (connected with SSH) – use the “chmod” command.
For more, you can read about the correct permission scheme for WordPress or install the iThemes Security plugin to check your current permission settings.
5. Disable directory listing with .htaccess
If you create a new directory as part of your website and do not put an index.html file in it, you may be surprised to find that your visitors can get a full directory listing of everything in that directory.
For example, if you create a directory called “data,” you can see everything in that directory simply by typing http://www.example.com/data/ in your browser. No password or anything is needed.
You can prevent this by adding the following line of code in your .htaccess file:
Options All -Indexes
Article compiled by RapidPage. Should you need assistance with WordPress Website Management, WordPress Security, or WordPress Hosting, call RapidPage Today.