Column: You can do WordPress yourself ... but you can screw it up yourself

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Flaming laptop with big letters: Don't panic.

Column: You can do WordPress yourself ... but you can screw it up yourself

During this time it becomes more common to do your own business: book your holiday or separate waste to your own insurance and take out a mortgage. For freelancers, there is also a load of tasks, including maintaining your website with WordPress.

I sent this email to my hosting provider quite recently: “It's GVRR again. Could you put the latest backup on it? (I hope tonight's) Removed the wrong plugin. Lost all images. Gvgrr.

Including the “gvrrs”. The manufacturability of our technological world is often confused with freedom. Just because you can do it yourself doesn't mean you should. But that is the starting point from the point of view of cost savings. Especially as a starting entrepreneur you have no money for anything, and you also have time to play around with something. A WordPress or MailChimp manual found you like that, didn't you?

Step-by-step plan “troubling with WordPress”

My own list that I was forced to draw up:

  1. Backup at hosting party? Think about all your pages, blogs, images, scripts, and most importantly, hours you've put into your website. Your rankings in Google, the click traffic. Poof! Entirely gone. Do not you want to. Make sure your hosting party is running a backup. At least daily.
  2. Make your own backup. Because you don't always want to bother your hosting party. Can also attach a price tag. Use a practical backup plugin. As UpdraftPlus for example, free and practical. Verify with a specialist which one you are using, because a bad plugin is counterproductive.
  3. Schedule a day. If you restore your backup, you don't want to lose your new articles / SEO efforts. Therefore do not write in WordPress but copy paste from a Word file.
  4. Check the version compatibility. For each theme and plugin you can see which WordPress version they can work with. Not on that version number yet? Then updating is a big risk. Check the website of your theme supplier and plugin suppliers. When can you expect it? If they stop developing (yes, they do), talk to your website builder. It is very useful to stay up to date.
  5. Why actually? Read the explanation of the updates. Why is it necessary? Is there a major vulnerability that this fixes? Are there also negative sides? Can you find recent reviews? If you only read things that make you nervous, don't do it.
  6. Disable cache plugins and clear caches. Do you have these? Like W3C or Autoptimizer? They make your site faster, and yes that is good for SEO. But turn them off first. And clear those caches.
  7. Update in steps: first your WordPress, then your theme and then your plugins. Again, is your theme compatible with your preferred WordPress version? Yes, then you can start.
  8. Test for at least an hour. Ok, your website seems to do it. Shut down and do something else? NO, check if everything really works: show images, mobile version, contact form, iFrame page, Mollie or other payment link (test with test setting), plugin for e-mails such as MailMunch (test with login), check the mobile version to see if it also does the above, check Google's speed test. Yes, this all takes time. But only hearing after a weekend that your site was completely down because you didn't look carefully to see if W3C and Autoptimizer can work at the same time (No, is the answer I can give you now), costs you visitors, leads and positions in Google.

Keeping WordPress well too much hassle?

That list is quite a challenge, I know, especially for the average freelancer. When choosing a backup plugin you are already unsure: should I take the paid version? And how do I test that safely? You can also outsource it to an external party that specializes in WordPress. See if she has a handy WordPress Recovery service offer, with which your site will run quickly after a mistake, a hack or bug. A service for good updating your WordPress website is also super handy, so you can be sure you don't have to worry about figuring out compatibility, versions, and updates.

Image source: Don't Panic through Sarah

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