Don’t ever give up control of your small business website. Of course, I learned this rule the hard way.
Once I moved a local professional organization’s website from a well-known hosting service to the national organization’s server. I reluctantly performed this migration at the national organization’s request.
The result? A nasty error code that said, “403 Forbidden: Access to this resource is denied.”
The local organization no longer had access to their most important asset. They could not promote any programs. Members could not register for any upcoming events or gain access to any of the free resources.
Furthermore, the system administrator for the national organization’s server was unresponsive. Because I could not call 24/7 technical support to bring the website back online, I decided to point the domain to the previous hosting service’s nameservers.
I then vowed never to give up control of a website by hosting it with an unreliable service.
Why Your Website Matters
Your small business website is an asset that people visit to learn more about you, your team, and the benefits you offer—your unique selling proposition (USP).
You can turn it into a content library that you, your staff, and community can refer to when needed. This content library becomes a lead generator as well as a customer support vehicle.
Because your website is critical to managing your online presence, you should guard this asset the way you protect anything else that’s important to the running of your business—your customers, reputation, staff, equipment, systems—everything.
Tips for Protecting Your Website
Store All Your Account Information in a Safe Place
I use a simple WordPress Site Worksheet to store account information associated with a single domain. It includes the registrar, hosting service, FTP access, and email. Also, I know who to contact right away because all the information is easily accessible.
Additionally, I use the WordPress Site Worksheet so I know who has access to the website, at what level, and their credentials.
Host with a Reliable Service
Why host with a friend when you can have 24/7 technical support from a reliable hosting service? I have worked with Siteground, GoDaddy, and Websynthesis hosting services.
Websynthesis is more expensive than the other two; but I like their emphasis on security. Siteground’s support has been instant and helpful. I have also had good experiences with GoDaddy’s technical support.
I’m sure there are other good hosting services besides these three. Make sure you do your homework and pick the one that’s best for your small business.
Backup Your Website and Keep the Backups in a Safe Place
Get into the habit of backing up your website every week or every day, depending on how often you update your site. You should also back up your website before you make any changes, such as updating your plugins.
Many plugins, such as UpDraft Plus, BackWP, and BackupBuddy can easily back up your website. You can then save the files to a cloud service of your choosing, such as, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon AWS, or download them to an external drive for safe keeping.
Perform Regular Updates
Keep your site up to date by updating WordPress, any plugins, and themes. Delete any inactive plugins and themes. If you notice a plugin is out of date, consider deleting it, or replacing it with one that is well maintained by its developer.
And don’t forget to keep your customers engaged with fresh content.
Unfortunately, you can’t guarantee the security of your small website. But these four best practices for protecting your website will help keep it relatively safe so your business can grow and prosper.