If you are a busy business owner, you won’t want to spend lots of time each week managing your WordPress website. However, with important tasks to do, like keeping software up-to-date, making backups, dealing with online enquiries, posting on social media and fixing problems like broken links, that’s easier said than done. Thankfully, there are tools and plugins that can automate these tasks, making site management easier and freeing you up to concentrate on your business. Here are five ways to automate your WordPress management.
1. Automate updates
The sheer popularity of WordPress makes it a target for cybercriminals who constantly send out search bots looking for sites with known software vulnerabilities. If you are using outdated versions of WordPress core, themes or plugins that have security holes, at some point you’re going to get caught out. The only way to address this is to update your software as soon as a new version is released. Updating also make sure your software contains all the latest features and developments, ensuring your site provides a better experience for you and your visitors.
While it is possible to manually update, most of us don’t get around to it straight away and this leaves the site open to attack. It doesn’t, however, need to be a chore at all, as it can be completely automated by installing a plugin.
There are several that will do this for you but the most popular, with over 200,000 active installations and a 4.8-star rating is Easy Updates Manager. This plugin goes beyond automating updates, it also enables you to manage how you update your software and checks that newly installed plugins work correctly.
Easy Update Manager Video Embed Code
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2. Automate your backups
Making regular backups of your website is an essential requirement for all webmasters. If your files and data are lost, it can take an extremely long time and a lot of money to recover, and during the time you’re offline you’ll be losing sales and seeing your customers shift loyalty to your competitors. Many companies go out of business as a result.
There are also many ways in which your files and data can be lost: hackers can corrupt your site with malware or wipe your files, employees can accidentally delete critical data and the server’s hardware may fail or be destroyed by fire or flooding. As unlikely as these may seem, they do happen and having a remotely stored backup is the only solution to help you restore your site quickly and painlessly.
There are many ways in which you can back up your site, including doing it manually, but by far the most effective way is to set up automatic backups. Doing this ensures that backups are made at the right intervals for the needs of your business – which for some sites is continuously. An automatic backup service will also store your data remotely from your web server so that if there is a problem with the server, you don’t lose the backup at the same time.
The most effective solution is to use your web host’s backup service, as this will offer things like scalable storage, integrity checking and even encryption to protect any personal or sensitive data you store. However, you can also use a plugin, such as Updraft Plus whose free version works fine for small websites that don’t need to be backed up too regularly. For this, however, you will need to have somewhere else to store the update, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Just make sure you have enough space to store multiple backups.
3. Chatbots for automated customer interaction
Chatbots are the latest development in live chat and offer one significant advantage over traditional live chat software – they use AI to communicate with customers rather than you having to do it all yourself. This means that the answering of frequently asked questions about your products and services can be automated, with instant responses given, leaving you only needing to deal with issues that require genuine human interaction. It also means that during peak periods your website can handle multiple interactions simultaneously without the need for additional staff.
With all this work undertaken by the chatbot, it means you can set it to initiate conversations in order to drive new sales. You can, for example, set the software up to ask customers if they need any help when they are browsing through your products. Indeed, when customers can ask questions and get immediate responses it not only helps them make purchasing decisions, it enhances the customer experience, something which can turn a visitor into a loyal customer.
The latest chatbots also have other features, such as integrating with social media so you can send personalised ads or follow-ups over apps like Messenger.
One popular WordPress chatbot, with over 20,000 live installations, is WP Chatbot. It integrates your website with your Facebook page and your Messenger account. It can be used to automate customer service and various forms of marketing. Online retailers will also be pleased to know that it works perfectly with WooCommerce.
WP CHATBOT VIDEO EMBED CODE
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4. Save time posting to social media
Social media has become an important channel for marketing and customer services with many companies making extensive use of it. However, with so many platforms to post to and interactions to respond to, it can become an onerous task. For most bigger organisations, the answer has been to outsource their social media activity to third-party specialists but this, obviously, comes at a price. For smaller businesses, the answer comes in the form of plugins that can make the management of posting much easier.
With a rating of 4.6 and over 40,000 active installations, the Blog2Social plugin is one of the best tools for automating your social media tasks. Working across all the main platforms, it helps you generate a posting calendar and even optimises the times at which posts are made to achieve the highest views. Posts can also be customised with personal comments, hashtags, handles, emojis and images. From a practical perspective, it means you can do all your social media work once a week and leave the plugin to do all the posting for you. There is a free and premium version of this plugin so there is a fee for some of its more advanced features.
5. Eradicate broken links
Broken links are bad for websites. By sending visitors to 404 error pages, you give them a poor experience that can drive them away. Search engines hate them too and can downgrade your rankings if they consider your dead links mean your website is of poor quality. At the same time, visitors are missing out on the pages you really want them to go to.
The problem for website owners is not just to keep track of all the links on your website but how to test them to see if they are still working. Manually, this would mean clicking on every link on every page, menu, sidebar, footer and image to make sure it works and, if it didn’t, undertaking manual editing to put it right. That could be an exceptionally tedious task, especially for big sites. And, of course, this applies to both internal and external links.
Thankfully, this task is easily automated with the simple to use Broken Link Checker plugin. Used on over 700,000 websites, this plugin automatically searches all the links on your site and will email you when a broken one is found. Even better, you can make any necessary changes, such as editing the URL or removing the link completely, from within the plugin’s interface, saving you the trouble of trawling through the site looking for it.
Automation is the way forward when it comes to managing your WordPress website. It makes the process simpler and more effective while removing onerous tasks from your schedule. With the tools and plugins mentioned here, you can improve security, user experience, customer service and marketing. Hopefully, you’ll find some of these useful for your website.
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