Just like any other important possessions in your life, WordPress websites also require good maintenance to keep serving the purpose they were built for.
Regular WordPress website maintenance will allow you to catch problems early and solve them to keep the site beneficial and working.
For a website built on WordPress, maintenance is important because:
- WordPress keeps changing i.e. new features are added, bugs are fixed, and security issues are resolved as well as for the plugins.
- Your website keeps changing i.e. new content is published, design is perked up, and new features are added and so on.
With so many changes going on the possibility of something going wrong is high and that when a little bit of maintenance work can save the day.
If you have a website built on WordPress, the following pointers will help in successfully maintaining your website.
The checklist is divided into 3 categories for your convenience.
Weekly Maintenance Tasks
Browse your website
Yes this is an obvious one but you’ll be surprised how many potential issues you’ll catch just by visiting your website frequently.
Don’t just spend all the time in the WordPress dashboard, at least once a week visit key pages of your site and find out if everything is working the way it should.
If comments are allowed on your website, make sure you spend some time in moderating them each week.
Approve the genuine ones and get rid of spam comments. An anti-spam plugin can help you save time.
Backup your website
If WordPress isn’t taking care of backups, you will have to make sure you do it for your website to secure your site’s data. Weekly backups are a good idea for websites that keep changing and adding content.
Keep applying updates
For securing your website and keeping it running, applying updates promptly is a must. Check for updates (core, plugins or themes) weekly and apply them without delay. You can put your website in ‘maintenance mode’ or test updates on a ‘staging site’ if you are concerned about compatibility issues.
Check forms and features
All the important features or forms (like a checkout or payment process) should be regularly tested. You might be wondering why you aren’t getting any leads or sales lately and the reason could be the form isn’t working!
If the forms are essential to your business i.e. they are critical to your mission and you could lose clients or revenue over them you must test them weekly.
For features that are mission-critical you can also get an automated monitoring system that’ll test key features on a regular basis for you.
Keep checking Google Search Console
You need to frequently check-in to Google Search Console to see if Google has identified any issues with your site. Alerts are shared in Google Search Console by Google in case of problems with your website’s optimization.
Monthly Maintenance Tasks
Assess your site’s performance
If your site loads quickly it enhances user experience, helps in conversion rates and even affects SEO positively.
Your site will not always stay optimized (even though you optimized it for performance when you created it) so keep running performance tests to catch any issues once a month.
Study the traffic on your website
You can use a web analytics tool to find out what’s happening on your site and notice the trends once a month. To check your website’s ranking on Google, you can also set up keyword monitoring and check it monthly.
Be sure to run a security scan
The popularity of WordPress makes it a target for nasty viruses and security threats.
Running regular security scans is essential to catch any potential issues. Automatic security scanning features are also a part of most WordPress security plugins.
De-clutter your website’s database
All your content, plugin and theme settings etc. are stored in your site’s database so eventually it will fill up with a lot of clutter like spam comments, post revisions etc.
To remove all of this junk, you need to optimize your site’s database from time to time. You could do this by using performance plugins which will also let you schedule your database optimization so it can run automatically.
Keep an eye out for 404 errors or broken links
Broken links and 404 errors (the error a website displays when a URL that doesn’t exist is clicked on) go hand-in-hand and completely ruin user experience by interrupting the visitor’s search.
For finding broken links you can use a broken link checking plugin and for finding 404 errors you can search Google Analytics for “Not Found” and it’ll lead you to the listing to find the specific URLs that produced the 404 errors.
Make sure your site’s backups work
While it’s essential to take backups of your site weekly, you need to verify that those backups work! To do this, restore the backup of your site to a staging site or use a local WordPress development environment via a tool.
Yearly Maintenance Tasks
Analyze if it’s time to move on to a new host
As time passes and your site grows, it’s quite possible to outgrow your existing hosting which is a good thing, but it also means upgrading or changing your host.
Assess once in a year to see if your host is still up to the mark in terms of performance, features and reliability.
Change the password
You can have the best security tips but if someone gets access to your username and password what’s the use?
Hence make it a habit to change your WordPress admin password at least once a year and don’t forget to keep strong unique passwords!
Another thing you can try is putting a limit on login attempts to keep the website safe.
Review your content
Auditing your website’s content helps in improving SEO and user experience. You can see what works and include more of similar content and also fix and edit the content that is problematic.
It will also help you formulate your upcoming strategy keeping in mind your top-performing content.
Review your plugins
Be extra careful about including only essential plugins to your website because plugins are a potential security threat and a drag to the performance of your site.
Hence once a year audit your plugins and see if they are still of use and value to your site. If your site isn’t benefiting from a particular plugin any more, consider deleting the plugin.
Keeping your website maintained and eliminating issues will help in boosting up the performance of your website and once you get the hang of it, website maintenance won’t take much of your time either.
Alternatively why don’t you give 4M Designers a call for all your WordPress website maintenance needs?
You won’t be disappointed!