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As much as it would be nice, websites are not something that you can typically set and forget. Whether you edit your website regularly, or not at all, you just never know when things may go awry while you’re not looking.
Websites can fall victim to any number of issues. Sometimes, this can happen without any warning or without you realising until you manually check in – such as when your website is infiltrated and has malicious code installed on it by a hacker. Other situations, such as installing incompatible updates, plugins or extensions, could also cause undue terror without it being immediately obvious.
There’s nothing more unnerving than having a client or customer let you know that a certain part of your website isn’t working properly. You might find yourself wondering how many days, weeks or months it’s been that way, and how many sales you may have lost in the meantime from people who didn’t bother to report the issue.
To save you from losing too much sleep, we’ve compiled a list of handy tools you can use to help you monitor your website – without you needing to really lift a finger!
If your website has a contact or enquiry form, you’ll want to ensure your website is recording a copy of the submissions somewhere, just in case the actual mailing function of your form stops working.
That way, should you ever find out that you’re not receiving your form submissions for any reason, you can refer back to your website’s email logs to see any leads you may have missed.
If you’re a WordPress user, a lightweight, simple plugin that fits the bill is Email Log by Sudar. This plugin adds a new menu item to your dashboard called, well, “Email Log”. Here, you can see all of your contact form submissions, when they were submitted and what content they contained.
Another great way to have peace of mind that your website is at least online, and showing the content that it’s supposed to be showing (as opposed to any unwanted, NSFW images) is to set up an uptime monitoring service. In particular, an uptime monitor that checks by keyword.
This sort of service will then scan your website to A) check that the server responds (and is therefore online) and then B) checks for the presence of a specific keyword on your website’s home page, to ensure that the content is displaying at least reasonably correctly. Of course, there are other display errors that could always happen, but this check is certainly a good start. Then, anytime your website goes offline, or stops showing the expected content, you can receive an email warning to let you know right away!
If you’re a WordPress user, an affordable and reliable option that can do both server ping checks and keyword checks is ManageWP. This service also offers a whole host of other handy tools that you might want to check out too!
Finally, if you have a WooCommerce store installed, knowing that your checkout process is working properly is never a bad thing. Better yet, when this can be done without you having to manually run through your own checkout and buying something.
Enter Robot Ninja, a handy software tool which is designed to run through your checkout regularly to ensure all of the functions and features are working as they should. This ensures you won’t be missing out on any lost sales should something go astray after a website update!
If any of the processes in your checkout system fail, you’ll of course then be notified right away, allowing you to get it fixed promptly and minimise any lost sales.
With the 3 tools above in place, you can rest a little easier knowing that you’ve covered your major bases in case anything should go wrong, and save yourself some potential headaches down the track. The old adage will always ring true; it really is better to be safe than sorry.
That’s it from us for this week. As always, if you have any questions about this post or our shared hosting, VPS, reseller or dedicated server plans, simply call us on 1300 MY HOST (694 678) during business hours, or submit a ticket through our Support Portal and one of the crew will be in touch!