This was originally written as a bit of a guide for my clients and collaborators, an aggregation of similar tips I have given to many of them individually in the past in so many shorter emails and conversations. Since it is relevant to most website owners though regardless of their relationship with me, I decided to share it more broadly here.
Websites require maintenance, even those with the smallest of footprints.
If you do fall behind on maintenance (it happens to the best of us!) and something goes wrong, at the very bottom you’ll find some tips on what to do if your site goes down suddenly.
The vast majority of these tasks do not require a web developer or IT person, almost anyone can perform this maintenance so long as you have access to necessary logins, can follow instructions, and are willing to set aside the time.
I say “almost anyone” because some people are understandably uncomfortable with wading in to this stuff, they may get confused or a bit daunted by the user interfaces they have to use. In that case, just be sure that you are working with someone that can hold your hand through it or can simply do it for you. Also, not everyone has access to all of their service providers. If you’re in a different situation, for example if you retain a web developer, design studio, or IT person to continuously maintain your website, then these are worthy topics to discuss with them but ultimately they will probably need to complete these tasks for you.
But that’s all just the cherry on top. If you complete the tasks below I’d say you’re pretty golden, probably a step ahead of 80% of the site owners I’ve come across.