In this article we are answering your technology questions about using WordPress plugins to make your website more secure and to make your life easier. The most important plugins are those that make your website safer, such as WordFence and UpDraft Plus. Ecommerce plugins like WooCommerce make your website easer to operate, while plugins like Exactmetrics make it easier to make sense of your Google Analytics.
As always, everything we recommend is a product that can be set-up and maintained by a non-geek. We also try to select products and services that are low cost and provide great value for the price. In these posts we link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of the links may be affiliate in nature meaning that we earn a small commission if an item is purchased through this link. Please read our full disclosure here.
What do you use for website security?
You must take the security of your website seriously. First off, make sure that all of your WordPress accounts use strong passwords. Secondly, you need a plugin that protects your website from attacks. We use and recommend WordFence. The free version offers good security and reporting. We wrote a blog recently about this very topic, and you can view it here.
How do you backup your site?
While your hosting provider should perform regular backups of your account and all sites under that, they tend to be an “all or nothing” approach. If you need to restore a particular page or post, you may not be able to restore just that. Also consider that you are not in possession of your backups, which becomes important if an unfortunate event were to occur with your provider. We use and recommend UpdraftPlus for site backup. UpdraftPlus is a paid plugin that backs up your site to a location of your choice, such as OneDrive or DropBox. It can be configured to run scheduled backups and to back up your site before updates of themes and plugins are applied. These backups are in addition to those performed by your hosting provider. The free version only backs up to Dropbox or Google Drive, and does not feature the automatic backup before applying updates.
Do you use Google Analytics?
Yes, we do! Google Analytics are necessary to give you metrics to judge your site traffic. There is no cost to use Google Analytics, but it does require a Gmail email account just for the analytics. We recommend setting up a dedicated account just for your analytics and then forwarding that account to your main email account. Doing this ensures that you don’t lose all of your data if your main account gets hacked.
What do you use for your ecommerce shop?
We use and recommend WooCommerce for running an online shop. The free plugin allows you to set up a basic shop to sell both physical and downloadable products. WooCommerce is feature rich and has a small learning curve. We highly recommend you take advantage of their training and support videos. A wide range of plugins are available to add additional functionality to your ecommerce store. Some of them are free and some are expensive. Alternatively, you could set up a self-hosted shop on Etsy or Ebay and link from your site to your shop.
The Rest of the Series
Check out these posts that cover other technology topics that are important in establishing a robust, stable online business.
How to Choose an Email Management System (8-10)
Social Media Management Basics (9-7)
These are additional technology posts that you might find helpful.
Or check out these posts on business building and growth: