A blog maintenance checklist can help you keep your blog running and help you avoid serious problems. Like everything else in life – cars, homes, even relationships – running a blog requires regular maintenance. If you go too long without putting in some maintenance time, things quit working properly. Again, like most other things, blog maintenance is best and easiest if done as needed instead of waiting until a major issue comes up.
Today’s post shares the first part of a Techie Tip Tuesday series on basic blog maintenance tasks you can do to keep your blog running smoothly.
1. Keep your WordPress installation up to date
This is quite possibly the most important (and one of the easiest!) tasks on your blog maintenance checklist. The reason to keep WordPress updated is to minimize security risks. We all do things to protect our personal identities and secure our homes, and our blogs can be at risk for intrusion as well.
This step in the blog maintenance checklist literally takes only a few seconds, but recovering from a hack can take hours if not longer. Whenever you see the prompt at the top of your dashboard to update (see image below), then click on the “Please update now” link and simply follow the instructions.
2. Keep your plugins up-to-date
This is the second-most important item to take care of. Compromised plugins are one of the ways hackers can sneak into your site. In fact, some compromised plugins open a window that allows hackers not only to breech your site, but every WordPress site on your server.
As scary as that sounds, the good part is that it only takes a few seconds per plugin to update to the latest version. And for most plugins, this is done automatically. Watch for the “Update Available” prompt (see image below) and update all plugins that have an update ready to go.
Then click on the “Update Automatically” link and within a few seconds, you can cross this simple task off your blog maintenance checklist.
These two items didn’t take long to accomplish, but they are vital to keeping your blog secured. In fact, most of the items on the blog maintenance checklist only take a few minutes, but they can save you hours of grief later if you keep them up.
We’ve been talking about lead capture systems this month. The cornerstone of your lead capture system is the auto-responder. I use and recommend Aweber, which is also used and recommended by many professional bloggers and online marketers.
You’ll need a professional program with a high deliverability rate, the ability to segment your lists, and the ability to test and track the success of your campaigns. We’ll get into the “how-to” of all that later, but since it’s Techie Tip Tuesday, today we’ll get started by showing you how to set up your Aweber account.
Before we get started, I’ll explain exactly how an auto-responder works:
You place a sign-up box on your sales page, squeeze page, website or blog
You drive people to that sign-up box via blog posts, social marketing, search engine optimization, advertising or other forms of networking
Interested readers voluntarily sign up via this box and give you their contact details
You send them regular emails, either giving valuable information or inviting them to view your offers
How to manage cookies on your computer isn’t exactly a blogging “how to,” but it is an issue I’ve been asked before, so I decided Techie Tip Tuesday would be a good time to discuss this topic.
Before we get to the “how to” part, I want to share with you a quick video from Google that tells what cookies are, what they do, and how they do it. One of Google’s engineers does a great job of simplifying the explanation of browser cookies in a manner even I can understand.
While the video says you can manage cookies on your computer, it doesn’t really give any information about how to do that. It’s not very hard, and you can either delete all the cookies on your computer or select just the ones you want to delete and get rid of them.
If you’re using Firefox, go to the Preferences link under the “Firefox” tab in the top navigation bar. Next, select “Privacy,” and then choose “Use Custom Settings for History.” You can then manage the cookies stored on your computer. Click “Show Cookies” to view a list of sites that have cookies on your computer. Delete all of them or only the ones you want. Click to read more about managing your cookies using the Firefox browser.
Most blogs and websites come pre-installed with Webalizer, a web server log file analysis program. Understanding the data provided by Webalizer will help you know more about your site’s visitors and how you can better serve them.
To access the Webalizer data on your site, enter your blog’s URL followed by /cpanel. You’ll be required to enter the username and password from your web host, which may or may not be the same as the username and password to your WordPress dashboard.
Please note that from time to time I include a link to a product that I use and want to recommend to my readers. Some of these links may be affiliate links, and if you buy the product, I will receive a commission.
And while I'm disclaiming here, please note that unless otherwise credited, all images used in this blog were purchased via a licensing agreement through iStockphoto.com.