One of the services we recommend to our website design & development clients is our Quarterly Website Check-up plan. We don’t charge any regular, recurring fees for our clients’ sites*, so what’s this one for?
When you subscribe to checkups, your site is assigned to an update schedule:
- January – April – July – October
- February – May – August – November
- March – June – September – December
At least once each quarter (but usually more often, when we’re made aware of security updates, etc.), we’ll log into your site as an administrator and perform several tasks including:
1. WORDPRESS Core UPDATES
WordPress powers a third of the Web, so the bad guys are constantly looking for ways to exploit the platform and infect your site with a virus. Keeping WordPress up to date is an important aspect of website security and is especially important to make sure your site isn’t vulnerable to bugs and hacks that have been found in older versions.
Note: On rare occasions, WordPress core updates may require additional changes and updates to your site that may fall outside the scope of our maintenance agreement. If that happens, we’ll contact you with our recommendations for next steps and work with you to create a plan that keeps your site working and secure.
2. PLUGIN UPDATES
Because WordPress is such a simple, flexible platform, we use plugins to add functionality to the site. Managing plugin updates can be a pain for you as an infrequent website manager. Plugin updates sometimes cause conflicts, site crashes, and unexpected style and display issues on your site; having us manage those updates allows us to catch issues immediately and make necessary changes to keep your site running and looking good.
3. THEME UPDATES
We keep your site themes up-to-date too, so any security patches, technology updates, compatibility updates, and added functionalities get added to your site in a timely manner.
4. Site BACKUPS
We always recommend regular backups of your site so you have a fallback if the worst should happen—a hack or update failure. Some web hosts (like SiteGround) handle regular site backups, so we’ll verify that those are running correctly. If your host is more self-managed (like KnownHost), we’ll make sure whatever backup system your site is using (probably Back WP Up via our off-site DropBox server) is running on schedule and that backups are being stored carefully as expected.
5. VISUAL INSPECTION
Like we mentioned previously, theme, plugin, and WordPress core updates can cause unexpected issues on the front-end of your site. We review your site, inspecting it visually for anything… well… weird.
6. RUN A SECURITY CHECK
There are several services and plugins that offer a security check where they can look over your website and make sure that there are no known vulnerabilities and that you are not on a search engine’s blacklist currently. This gives a lot of peace of mind for a client.
7. COMMENT MANAGEMENT
If your site has a blog, you may be getting several… or dozens of SPAM comments every day. We’ve likely installed a plugin called CleanTalk to help protect your site from SPAM comments, so we’ll verify that CleanTalk is up to date, verify it’s connection to their database, and check the queue for any comments that may have been flagged to make sure no real comments are being blocked by mistake.
8. LINK/IMAGE MONITORING
We use a tool to check your site for broken links (internal and external) and images. Then, we repair the issues, creating redirects for any posts or pages that have been moved, finding the updated external links (if possible), and notifying you if there are any issues that we can’t resolve (For instance, if an external site has removed a resource or a linked site is no longer active).
9. WEBSITE SPEED MONITORING
We’ll also check your site speed to make sure there have been no unexpected changes to your site’s loading speed due to recent updates that could impact the user experience. If there’s an issue, we’ll either resolve it or, if it falls outside the scope of our maintenance agreement, contact you with a plan for resolving it.
10. Detailed Reports
When we’re done, we’ll send you an emailed report that details each update that’s been made to the site, any issues we resolved, notes about additional recommendations, and stats about your site’s functionality (pages and posts added, etc.).