WordPress maintenance is one of those things you maybe weren’t aware of when you initially decided to have a new website built. Websites built with the WordPress content management system, like most websites, will need looking after to keep them running smoothly at peak performance and to keep them secure.
It involves carrying out various tasks on your website at regular intervals. WordPress is constantly updated with new features and security updates, as are plugins and themes and these updates should be installed frequently.
Some of the issues you might face if you neglect your WordPress website are security threats and poor performance. Slow and underperforming websites can lead to poor user experience which in turn can affect your ranking on search engines such as Google.
The key tasks you should perform on a regular basis include:
Important: Before doing any updates on your WordPress website, make sure you back up your website files and database.
It is advisable to keep more than one backup of your site just in case one fails. Most hosting companies will take a backup of your site daily. You can also download a copy of your files to your computer and also use cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
Backups should be performed even if you aren’t doing other maintenance tasks as websites can get hacked and you will be able to restore it easily if needed. These can be performed hourly, daily, weekly or monthly, which you choose should depend on how often you update content.
WordPress Core, Themes and Plugin Updates
These updates are from WordPress and include new features that could enhance your website plus essential security updates and it is advisable to install these updates soon after they are released. Updating the WordPress core files normally goes smoothly but you could have issues with some plugins that aren’t compatible yet and could break your site.
Both themes and plugins tend to have regular updates too, you can install these one at a time then check everything is working fine. If something does break, you will know it was the last plugin or theme you updated and revert it to the previous version until it becomes compatible with your WordPress installation.
Security checks should be run at least once a month but can be automated to run daily or weekly if you have lots of users or you are running a large online eCommerce site. There are plugins you can use for this, some of the most popular security plugins are Securi, Malcare and WordFence. Some of the basic WordPress maintenance plans include a security scan once a month, premium plans often include daily, weekly, or even hourly scans. In addition to running security checks, it is advisable to change your passwords frequently too.
To keep your website optimised for fast page loading times, it’s a good idea to delete any unnecessary files and data from your site. This might include deleting page revisions, removing any unpublished post, deleting unused plugins or themes and optimise your database.
You can check the performance of your website using the Google Lighthouse tool, I have written an article called Page Speed Matters! that you can read on this blog. It will walk you through how to use the Lighthouse tool to check the performance of your site.
You should run a broken link checker to find any missing or dead links within your site. Broken links could take your visitors to a 404 page or to sites that don’t even exist anymore which is not good for user experience. It is quite easy to do as you can use an online tool such as Dead Link Checker.
Other than things mentioned above, you should also be checking your pages for broken layouts, test that your forms are working and sending emails to the correct accounts and maybe using an uptime monitor to let you know if your site goes down.
I hope you found this useful, if you don’t fancy doing all this yourself, we can look after your website with one of our reasonably priced WordPress Maintenance Plans.
Thanks for reading!