The beauty of WordPress is its sheer power — you can create anything from a simple lifestyle blog to a complex, full-fledged, beautifully designed store selling thousands of items. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs — it powers 25% of the interwebz for a reason!
The downside of WordPress? Maintenance! Everything from updates to security needs to get done to keep your website working, lookin’ sexy (to woo your customers, of course), and safe from hackers.
On the bright side, there are lots of things you can do in just a few minutes, superhero. Whether you have 5, 10, or 20 minutes at your disposal, I’ve got a litany of easy-to-do items that’ll make a difference to your site.
Follow me and let’s get this shiz done!
5-Minute WordPress Website Checkup
Cool news: WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg says that if you take care of just the next 3 items, you’ll be ahead of 99% of WP websites out there in the blogosphere and your site will probably never get hacked. How rad is that?!
Are you using a strong username instead of the default “admin”?
Hackers know that most people have “admin” as their username — this is a ridiculously big (and very easily fixed) security breach. If you’re using using “admin,” I can help. Go here for a quick and free video tutorial to learn how to change your username from “admin” to something secure.
Are you using a weak password?
WordPress now creates uber-secure passwords for you, but if you set up your user a long time ago, you might still have an atrocity like “123456” as the bodyguard for your website. This is bananas-level unsafe.
Go to users > your user > edit and select “new password” to let WordPress create one that’ll actually help keep your website safe from hackers for you. FYI, a secure password uses at least eight upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols such as ^%$#@*)!
Have you done your updates recently?
Of course, you know I feel very strongly about a) keeping your website updated, and b) doing your updates on a test site to avoid breaking your live website (the one your prospects and customers see!). But worst-case, make a backup, and then do your updates. Ideally, one by one and checking your site in between so that if it does get messed up, you’ll know what the culprit is.
Doing your updates is imperative because hackers love to exploit security breaches found in older versions of plugins, themes, and WordPress core itself, and most updates come with security patches.
10-Minute WordPress Website Checkup
Finished the three items above and got a little more time? Yesssssss. Let’s dive deeper.
Run a security scan with Sucuri
It’s free and quick! Go to sitecheck.sucuri.net and type in your website URL to scan your site for malware and see if you’ve been hacked.
Do you have a security plugin installed and running?
The free version of the security plugin Wordfence does a stellar job at keeping hackers outta your site. It also scans your website for malware. Watch this free video tutorial to learn how to configure Wordfence quickly and easily.
Have you checked for broken links?
Install the stellar Broken Links Checker plugin (free!) and find out if you’ve got any links to fix hidden somewhere on your site.
When’s the last time you tested your contact form?
It’s a good idea to give it a whirl every now and again and make sure that the peeps who are trying to contact you still can. Go to your contact form and send yourself a love note to test it out.
When’s the last time you tested your opt-in forms?
Same deal. Pro tip: to help you keep track of your testing, use a descriptive name. For example, to test your header opt-in, type in your name+header (so I type in “Nat-header”), for your footer opt-in, name+footer, etc.
20-Minute WordPress Website Checkup
Got all the above done and still have a few more minutes before your yoga class? BAM. Here’s what to do next:
Have you tested your backups?
Run a manual one to make sure all is working well. I recommend Backup Buddy for the job, it’s the tool I use myself for all my backup (and migration!) needs.
Are your social media links still up to date?
Maybe you renamed your Facebook page or Twitter profile. Make sure your social media icons are still pointing in the right direction!
What about your Google Analytics?
Make sure you’re still receiving data by logging into your Google Analytics account and checking the latest numbers. (By the way, if you haven’t set it up yet, go here to learn how to get started with Google Analytics.)
Is your website responsive?
Grab your iPod (or Android tablet, if you’re like me) and check out your website. (Psst… here’s how to tell if your website is responsive a.k.a. if it looks good on alllll size screens, big and small.) You can’t skip this these days — upwards of 60% of people use their phones to visit websites and Google started penalizing non-responsive websites last year by lowering their rankings!
Even try browsers your normally don’t use, because your followers may be on them! Check that things look as they should everywhere (little differences are to be expected from browser to browser, but mostly your site should look the same and things should be in the same place).
Phew! You’ve done amazing at the 5-minute WordPress website checkup! (And maybe the 10- and 20-min checkups too!) I say celebrate with a brownie!
All this sound good… but you’re a beginner and are afraid you might fudge things up? No worries, superhero!