“Oops, something went wrong. Try again later.”
These painful words are only beaten by the “white screen of death” when it comes to things none of us want to see when trying to access a web page.
These days, a crashing, slow, or bugged site is not only an inconvenience but is also a disaster for retaining customers.
According to a poll of 5,000 shoppers, 75% said they would leave a website or mobile app if it was malfunctioning or difficult to access.
Impatient millennials in particular will immediately switch to a competitor’s site and will have no interest in waiting for you to sort out your system. So you need to aim to be one step ahead of the game.
Here are some tips for keeping your website disaster proof.
1. Back Up
There is NOTHING worse than spending months or years on a website and losing data due to improper backups.
Backups are a key part of your business continuity plan and should be a primary concern for anyone with a website. The cost of not backing up is simply too high.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not your website host’s responsibility to keep a backup of your files.
So if something goes wrong and you wake up one morning without your site anymore, your data might only be retrievable if you yourself implemented an efficient backup system.
Manual backups are an option. They involve downloading the files to a computer and organising them in a way that makes them easy to retrieve should you need to do so.
The downside to this method is that it’s a job that requires patience and time, as well as a large amount of storage.
Using online backup software like CodeGuard is arguably a more efficient method of website backup. However, always complete a manual backup of your files as well.
If the backup server goes down, then you are, once again, left without your website.
If you use WordPress, you might be interested in utilising a cloud system such as Dropbox to store files.
Conveniently, WordPress provides plugins that automatically back up your site without you needing to overthink the process.
2. Use a CDN
[clickToTweet tweet=”CDNs are critical if you’d like your website to deliver content to the visitor without painful delays.” quote=”Content delivery networks (CDN) are critical if you’d like your website to deliver content to the visitor without painful delays.”] A CDN stores a cached version of web content in a range of geographical locations also known as points of presence, or PoPs.
An individual PoP contains numerous caching servers in charge of content delivery to visitors within its proximity.
So if visitors located in Europe are using the web, a CDN allows them to download static content from a closer source.
They could retrieve this content from Paris, for example, instead of having to span the globe in order to get the data.
This ability minimises latency and allows for faster loading of your website, retaining visitor interest.
A CDN can help with your website security and stability by acting as a firewall between your site and your traffic.
Most CDNs offer some degree of traffic filtering and provide a first line of protection for your site.
One affordable CDN solution is Cloudflare, which is connected to over 6 million websites to date.
3. Secure Your Site
It goes without saying that an unsecured site will invite mayhem.
Even if you think you’re safe, you should know that 86% of websites contain at least one vulnerability.
Bugs and glitches are the last things you want infiltrating your website. Considering there are thousands of hacks per day, it’s important to take the issue seriously and choose a reputable security system.
For WordPress users, this means using a solution such as Wordfence.
4. Keep Themes and Plugins Up to Date
A theme is a design that goes over your core WordPress installation. It makes your site look different and can even design functionality.
Plugins are small programs that you can add to your basic WordPress installation to expand the abilities of your site.
For example, you might want to include a new button designer or email capture on your site.
Themes and plugins are great because they make unlimited customization of your site possible.
But they are also an easy way for automated hacker bots to access your site. More than 50% of hackers gain access via insecure themes and plugins, so be sure to keep them up to date.
5. Change Your Login
Hacker bots have it easy when trying to crack your login details. Most WordPress users don’t change the default login name from Admin, even though changing your login only takes a moment.
This means that the bot already knows your login name and only needs to guess your password.
Sadly, many users secure their websites with weak passwords. Bots already know the most used passwords in the world and can try them out on your site at will.
If you can’t remember a tough password, use a password tool like Lastpass.
6. Prepare for a Traffic Increase
You’ve done it! A well-known Instagrammer or magazine has promoted your site, and you’re noticing a significant boost in traffic.
The only problem is, unprepared websites can’t cope.
Upgrading from shared hosting to a VPS (virtual private server) might be advisable if you’re expecting increased traffic.
No website is 100% disaster proof, but you should always strive to get as close to that state as possible.
Having a functioning, speedy, and easy to navigate website free from bugs and crashes will retain visitors. And ultimately, it will improve your business reputation among your customers.