Lesson 11: Maintaining Your Website


I already told you how to put up a very nice-looking website in a short amount of time. In the last post I also showed you some free ways to get links to your site, so people can find it.

Now there’s only one more thing to learn – how to maintain your website.

Since you built your new website on WordPress, there is one thing you need to keep in mind. WordPress updates the code on a regular basis in order to add improvements, fix bugs, and to keep one step ahead of hackers.

Bad people love to hack into websites and add malicious code that ends up on the personal computers of website visitors. You don’t want this to happen to your site. I know you have an anti-virus program running on your computer whenever you surf the Web, (you do, don’t you?), but some of your visitors might not. I had a website blocked by Google because I forgot about it and didn’t update the WordPress code. Shame on me.

So, how do you keep your website updated with the newest version of WordPress? It’s easy.

When you go to your Dashboard, )which you should do at least once a month even if you don’t intend to add a new page or post), you will see the following message at the top of the screen if an update is needed:

Update WordPress

Update WordPress

Click the link that says Please update now, and you’ll see the following screen:

Updating WordPress

Click the Update Automatically button. If  you aren’t sure if your hosting service has backed up your files, you can ask them before hitting the button. After the update you might find they’ve re-designed the Dashboard a little, maybe moving some tabs or adding something that wasn’t there before. Go ahead and take a look, and see what’s new.

Update Your Plugins

Update Your Plugins

You may also see a number beside the Plugins or Appearance tabs, advising you that something in those areas has a newer version. Just follow the instructions, poke the buttons, and you’re done.

And that’s all there is to it. Congratulations – you just built a brand new website!

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{ 16 comments }

Tejae: Mixed Media Artist September 8, 2010 at 9:14 am

Jonni, you’re information on website building is exceptional.

I’ve just starting using wordpress website. I’m a little afraid of adding new plug-ins or updating the plug-ins I have for fear I might mess up my shopping cart.

But you’re saying as long as I have everything backed up I will be ok clicking “update”? (I mean if something should go wrong, I’d just need to reinstall my back up info)

Jonni September 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

You’re just got started? Wow – you have a beautiful website. Your designer put my little websites to shame. Can you tell us if your site has been a success so far?

I don’t use shopping carts on any of my sites, since I don’t sell physical products. That means that I don’t know if plugins can mess with a shopping cart, but the plugins I suggest “should” be safe.

To make sure, send a trouble ticket to your hosting account, give them the names of the plugins you want to use and your concerns, and ask them if they might cause any problems. And ask them if they’ve done a recent backup. That way, you should have all the bases covered.

Jonni September 8, 2010 at 9:41 am

And thanks for offering a perfect example of exactly how one should add a comment to a blog in order to get a free link. You did it exactly the way I suggested. Your keywords are fairly competitive, so if you want to show up on the first page in Google you’ll need to repeat this same thing as often as you can – and try to find older, more popular sites where you can join the conversation. This website will be popular soon, of course, but it hasn’t had time to build up page rank quite yet… 🙂

Tejae: Mixed Media Artist September 8, 2010 at 9:57 am

Good point. I really struggled with my keywords and considered other name titles but was a little worried it would look like spam.

Could you recommend something better? I make art that has a vintage, rustic, aged, antique feel and most of my art is either a heart or includes a heart.

Would something like this be better?:
Tejae: Vintage heart Artist
Tejae: Heart Artist
Tejae: Polymer Heart Artist

Jonni September 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I checked the search volume for your suggested keywords at the Google Keyword suggestion tool, using the “exact match” type. Heart Artist has 58 monthly searches, (“heart art” gets a lot more, but it’s more competitive. You could still rank well if you get lots of links), Vintage heart Artist doesn’t show up at all, nor does Polymer Heart Artist. That doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t get any traffic if you use those keywords – I don’t think Google counts every single search.

Be sure that you spend your traffic-getting effort on moving people to the pages that actually make you money, and that contain the words on the page, in text, that you’re using in your anchor text. Once you know waht keywords you’re going after, you might want to give each page it’s own unique title, incorporating the keywords. Google likes that.

Your home page has no text at all, so the search engines can only know what it’s about by the anchor text when people link to it. That makes it harder to end up on their first page of results, but not impossible. It would probably be easier to direct them straight to your store front, or even to individual pages of your store.

This reply is getting a bit long, and I hope I don’t seem like I’m butting in — 🙂 but the term “Polymer clay jewelry” gets from 2,000 to 4,000 searches a month. It’s fairly competitive, but with a lot of work you could get on Google’s first page. I suggest checking out the keyword tool for more ideas, and narrowing it down to the exact keywords your customers might use to find you. And good luck – you do beautiful work. I hope you sell tons of them.

Tejae: Mixed Media Artist September 8, 2010 at 9:47 am

Thank you. Kate (www.katebaumandesign.com) did a nice job. 🙂

I think it’s been a success so far in that I am getting some traffic and have made quite a few sales. The only thing i regret is that I didn’t mention that I was moving on my old blogger blog FIRST. I simply pulled over the blog posts. The reason I regret this is that I have several people linking to my old blogger blog and those feeds aren’t being updated with my new blog posts because they are still linking to the old address. So I think my traffic would be better if the linking blogs were linking to my new site. Ive been meaning to contact them and ask them to revise their links…just haven’t yet.

Wordpress is completely new to me…so it’s quite the learning curve. 🙂 I arranged with my designer to help me learn some of the function and I’ve been reading books and sites like yours, I’m learning as I go.

Thanks for the tip. I will contact my hosting site before I push any buttons. 🙂

Jonni September 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Do you still own the old blogger site? Will they allow you to put a permanent 301 redirect on those pages?

Rick September 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Hi Jonni,
I’ve finished reading your how to build a website, watched your youtube videos, (including the one with your dad before I knew he was your dad), and everything else I can find that you have done. You have motivated and inspired me to now do it.
Thank-you very much.
Rick

Jonni September 11, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Gosh – thanks, Rick. Are you going to build a website, or do you already have one?

Rick September 12, 2010 at 6:00 am

I have been researching info on building a site and doing many of the things you are doing for so long I have become like the “professional student” who stays in college for years and does nothing with the education. Not only have you inspired me to do something (such as building a website, writing ebooks, producing video content for youtube, and creating art) but I am excited about helping others discover the opportunities you have shown possible, for their benefit. Artists and craftspeople will benefit greatly from your work, plus you give it freely. I hope the ideas Seth Godin espouses prove true for you and your work.
Thank-you very much.
P.S. I hope to have some of your inspired influence up on the internet Sept. 19.

Jonni September 12, 2010 at 6:44 am

Great! Be sure to send us the link 🙂

Eunice - paper mache artist January 30, 2011 at 1:01 am

Hi Jonni,
I’ve been following your “How to “pages very slowly and carefully as a computer novice.
When I began I was unable to download pictures from my camera and find them on the computer!
I’ll not pretend I did it without any help but without your easy to follow guide I would have had no website.
So now I am nearly done I wanted to thank you for sharing the information, I’ve read and reread your pages so often I feel like I know you!
Thanks

Jonni January 30, 2011 at 7:09 am

Hi Eunice – you’ve made a lovely website. Congratulations. I’ll add it to my blogroll – and to get a few more free links, be sure to make some comments on my paper mache blog, with your URL. Links are good 🙂 – and I know my readers would love to see your little red dragon.

Eunice - paper mache artist January 31, 2011 at 4:57 am

Hi Jonni,
I’m so pleased you looked at my website, still can’t believe two weeks ago it was just a vague idea!
I’ve been busy reading your paper mache blog and will comment like you suggested.

Shane June 21, 2011 at 3:27 am

Hi,

Anyone faced problems after updating the website? like the plugin wont work? or the whole layout design got messed up??

Jonni June 21, 2011 at 7:53 am

Which plugins are you having problems with? Could you give us your URL so we could see what’s happening? I haven’t updated to the latest version, 3.1.3 yet. Did you update through your host’s control panel (Fantastico) or did you do it manually?

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