Regardless of what kind of website you have, you need to make sure you have proper backup and security procedures in place. And if you are using any kind of software, such as a content management system like WordPress, you also need to be attentive to upgrades. If you have ever managed a website or had the unfortunate experience of being hacked, you know how important these three aspects are, and how disastrous the consequences can be.
Backups. Many hosting providers will have automated backup policies in place, but you typically don’t have any control or access to these backups. You don’t know how often the backups are performed, how reliable those backups are, and how long it will take to perform a restore. Often, backups are performed semi-weekly or monthly, leaving you with the possibility of losing a month’s worth of changes or more. But if you can set up and manage your own backups, you will have a better level of protection against data loss.
Security. If you don’t take the appropriate measures for securing your website, you will be vulnerable to malicious attacks. You need to apply the appropriate best practices to secure your hosting account, folder permissions, WordPress configuration settings, themes, plugins, and more. The Hardening WordPress article is a great starting point, and if you are hacked, the How to Fix a Hacked WordPress Blog guide is a great resource. You can either leave your site vulnerable (not recommended if the site is at all important), learn how to secure the various aspects of your website and hosting environment, or hire a consultant or security expert to do it for you.
Upgrades. Upgrading your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins is one of the top things you should do to protect your site. With WordPress, it is very easy to run the upgrades. However, the unfortunate reality is that upgrades do not always go smoothly. Functionality could break, error messages could appear on your production site, and content could simply disappear altogether. If you’re handling your own upgrades, you should first try to prevent upgrade problems from occurring in the first place. The easiest way to do this is by testing all upgrades on another site first, and reading the various changelogs and other users’ experiences before attempting an upgrade. You should also know how to fix potential problems, which sometimes requires PHP knowledge, and you should know how to restore your site to a previous version if things go really wrong and you can’t fix it in a reasonable amount of time.
Learning how to properly take care of security and upgrades requires a significant amount of research and experience. If you are responsible for maintaining your website, either invest the time to make sure you’re doing it right, or hire an expert. Doing neither will eventually lead to disastrous results.