If you are running WordPress websites you probably already know about the exceptional value for money they offer (the code is free, hosting so reasonably priced), when compared to any enterprise CMS system.
You probably know too about the flexibility that the huge community of plugins that make WordPress (and comparable Open Source platforms Joomla and Drupal), the most flexible that there are. After all, where else can you get hundreds of popular shopping carts, community forums, calendars, or galleries, all completely free of charge?
But despite its benefits even a WordPress site is not a free pass – you still need to look after it like a responsible web citizen, if you want to provide your customers with an exceptional user experience.
At Channel Digital we specialise in making our WordPress and other Open Source websites go above and beyond the normal. So here are a few tips to help you check whether you are making your business secure enough, your customers happy enough, and your conversion rates high enough, to really prosper as we all look forward to business after the pandemic.
- Website Updates: With sites based on Open Source code, everyone can review and understand the underlying code that makes it work. So, once an exploit is found the whole world knows about it! If you do not update, you are leaving an open door for the bad guys to exploit vulnerabilities in any outdated code in your website. Experiencing a hacked website and having a customer data breach can be very expensive and time consuming to fix, notwithstanding the negative effects on your business reputation. Keep your website more secure by scheduling your security updates or using Channel’s maintenance service.
- Security hardening: Just installing WordPress isn’t enough. There are a range of other measures that we take at Channel to ensure that the site and your server infrastructure around it, are as secure as can be. Our own approach has evolved to use a range of security measures to ensure that your site is as secure as it can be. We know that most agencies don’t routinely harden or update websites, because we get called in to recover, restore, and audit hacked websites so often. Can you afford to risk the reputational damage and the legal ramifications of GDPR infringement if your site is hacked because you were negligent in its upkeep?
- Backups: An important tool in the website owners’ armoury is an automated schedule of backups, which allow you to restore your site should anything happen to it. Is your site being backed up? Does the restore process work quickly when required? Does anyone in your company know? Are you making the mistake of storing your backups in the same place as your website? The Channel team can help you make sure all is configured and working well.
- Monitoring: We use tools that routinely scan our websites to check for updates, test for suspicious code changes and activity, and that all hardening has been properly carried out. Does your agency do this? Let us know if you’d like it checked.
- Page load speed: Sites can be slow or fast, depending on how you configured them, and the server they run on. Google know more about website conversion rates, because they measure more websites performance than anyone else, and at “Think with Google” they state that the conversion rate of a website can drop by 20% for every additional 1 second of page load time. Google also rank fast loading websites higher in their search results, so increasing page load speed leads directly to more visitors. At Channel we have a number of “speed-up processes” to better optimise websites, and servers for fast loading pages. You can use free tools like Lighthouse (in Chrome) or Gtmetrix to measure the page load time of your website. And call the Channel team for more information about how to reduce your page load time.
- Content and Inspiration: Don’t get the idea that running a website is only about security, servers, and nuts, and bolts. If you are going to attract and convert the right kind of customers, you need a content strategy, a digital marketing team that masters Copywriting for web, SEO, PPC, Email and Social Media marketing, just for starters. So once the nuts and bolts are correct, your website and customer data is secure, and a solid foundation has been laid, talk to the Channel team about how to bring more visitors to your website, convert them better, and keep them coming back as loyal customers. We will continue to talk about all these important issues on our website, and other newsletters.
- Joined up approach: Do you operate an efficient business? Are your website processes joined up with the rest of your business? Whether you want your website visitors to go straight into your CRM, or your transactions to go straight into your accounts package for invoicing. Why waste money and time on updating the same information in multiple places? Keep delivering a great experience for your customers at all touch points. As ever Channel are here to help, and our development team are expert at integrating your systems to save you time and money, and increase productivity.
If your website is designed, built, and hosted with Channel, security considerations have already been taken care of as part of the package. If not, a Channel Audit will highlight outstanding issues, and provide a path to improve them. As always we are here to make your website secure, easy to run, and successful. Just pick up the phone to call the office, or contact us with any questions at all.