With Christmas around the corner, you may be busy buying presents for your family and friends. However, if you love your WordPress website, there are a few seasonal gifts that we recommend you give to it, this year. Here are our top seven picks.
1. Remote backups
Remote backups top our list of Christmas gifts for your WordPress website for one single reason: if a hacking Grinch steals your website, your server breaks down or if you accidentally delete your data, a remote backup means you can restore your website quicker than it takes to eat a mince pie or two.
For businesses that cannot afford for their websites to be offline, a remote backup is an insurance policy that guarantees a speedy recovery.
2. Wordfence Security Plugin
While remote backups are essential if the worst happens, you can reduce the chances of the Gremlins causing havoc on your site by installing the Wordfence security plugin. This free to use tool provides a range of security features such as blocking attackers, scanning for malware and phishing, preventing bots scanning your site for vulnerabilities, enforcing strong passwords and notifying you if vulnerabilities are found.
If you don’t already have a security plugin, Wordfence is the ideal way to make sure that Santa is the only thing sneaking down your website’s chimney this Christmas.
3. Yoast SEO
Every website owner understands the importance of ranking highly in search engine results. The higher you rank for the keywords which are important to you, the more visitors your website will get and, as a result, the more sales you will make.
Getting your pages listed on the first page of Google can be a game changer. However, optimising your website can be a challenge, especially as the constant changes to the search engine’s algorithms means that the goal posts are always moving.
The perfect solution for WordPress sites is to install the Yoast SEO plugin. It’s free, easy and for many users over the last decade, an invaluable tool. Yoast assists with all aspects of SEO, including on-site and on-page optimisations and, importantly, as Google updates, so does Yoast.
4. SSL Certificate
By now, you should be familiar with the green padlock icon next to a website’s URL in a browser’s address bar. The padlock is a sign to users that the website is considered secure enough to buy from. What causes the search engine to display the padlock is that the website has an SSL certificate – and without one, you risk losing sales to the millions of customers who won’t buy from non-secure sites.
If you want to collect any personal information or sell anything via your website, then buying an SSL certificate should be high on your Christmas present list. Quite simply, they encrypt any data your customers send to you, preventing credit card details and other information being stolen in transit. Without one, you’re unlikely to find a payment gateway that will let you accept payments on your site.
5. Speed check up
The speed at which your pages load on a user’s browser can be crucial to your website’s success. Slow loading pages rank lower in search engine results, causing you to get fewer visitors, and when those people arrive on a slow site, there’s an increased chance of them abandoning it before they purchase.
To get your data travelling even faster than Santa’s sleigh, head to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool which will check how fast your site loads on both computers and smartphones. It will also give you detailed advice on how to improve your speed even more – such as using Gzip compression or optimising your images.
6. Update automation
Being slack when it comes to updating plugins can have terrible consequences. One of the main reasons that plugins get updated is to remove vulnerabilities found in older versions. Hackers are now so sophisticated, they use web bots to search the internet looking for sites with outdated plugins and when they find them, they target them for attack.
If your web host’s control panel allows it, turn on automatic updates straight away. This way, your site will be updated to the newest plugin and WordPress versions as soon as they are available. If you don’t have that facility, you can use the free Jetpack plugin instead. You’ll need to set up an account with WordPress.com and link it to your WordPress site to do this.
7. Migrate to dedicated WordPress hosting
The ultimate gift for your WordPress website would be to migrate it to a dedicated WordPress hosting package. With servers configured to give your site optimal performance and speed, WordPress pre-installed, remote backups as standard and 1-click plugin installation, they have everything you need to make your site work better for your business.
For the best solution, make sure your WordPress hosting is cloud-based so that your site won’t go down due to server issues. You should also get 24/7 technical support and free migration to your new host, included.
So, if you are looking to give your WordPress site a present to remember this Christmas, hopefully, the seven ideas we have provided here will give you some inspiration. Together, they will provide your site with increased security, faster speed and higher rankings, things that, in turn, lead to more visitors and better sales. Now, that is a reason to be jolly!
If you are looking for dedicated, cloud-based WordPress hosting with a host of great features, check out our WordPress Hosting Page.