Have you ever visited a place that you immediately wished you hadn’t? If yes, you know what it feels like – downright chokingly uncomfortable!
And this is exactly how your website visitors would feel if you let your WordPress site sit without a regular maintenance schedule.
Your WordPress website is no different than any other kind of property you own. And like all properties, your site needs to be maintained on a regular schedule.
In this article, you will learn:
- Why is WordPress Maintenance so Important?
- 14 WordPress Maintenance Tasks
- 1. Visit Your Website and Inspect the Frontend
- 2. Have a Daily Backup Schedule
- 3. Keep WordPress Core Updated
- 4. Update Plugins and Themes
- 5. Check Page Load Speeds
- 6. Check for Broken Links
- 7. Post Regularly
- 8. Test Your Site for Responsiveness
- 9. Test Your Forms
- 10. Clear Website Cache
- 11. Clean Junk Data
- 12. Monitor the Security of your Site
- 13. Validate Your Website
- 14. Make Regular SEO Efforts
- All in all…
Why is WordPress Maintenance so Important?
Regular maintenance is crucial for all kinds of online assets whether it’s a website or software application. But when we talk about WordPress, it becomes even more critical.
In fact, if your bread and butter depend on your WordPress site, WordPress maintenance becomes a full-time job.
You need to make sure your website doesn’t break at unexpected times, works at optimal speed at all times, and above all, stays secure against cyber-attacks. You wouldn’t want your online store getting hacked during a sales campaign, would you?
14 WordPress Maintenance Tasks
1. Visit Your Website and Inspect the Frontend
When maintaining our website, we spend most of our time on the WordPress admin panel, forgetting the frontend.
To make sure your site is working at its best, inspect it by visiting the frontend at least once daily. By visiting your site, you can catch a lot of errors like typos, design flaws, broken links, etc.
2. Have a Daily Backup Schedule
Having regular backups is of utmost importance and we can’t stress that enough. Losing your site data due to security compromises and not having backups can be disastrous – unless you don’t really give a damn about your website. But if you do, back it up at least once daily and store the backups at a safe location.
Getting Managed WordPress Hosting like Kinsta and WP Engine can relieve you from a lot of maintenance troubles especially when it comes to making backups. These hosting services offer automatic daily backups and help you in maintaining your site and keeping it secure.
3. Keep WordPress Core Updated
The security of your WordPress site is paramount. And while it takes a lot to harden your site’s security, one of the most important yet simplest things to do is to keep WordPress core software updated.
Keep in mind that if an update becomes available, every minute your site stays on the old version poses a great security risk. Check for updates every day and keep the WordPress core updated.
4. Update Plugins and Themes
The next important step to ensure WordPress security is to keep your WordPress themes and plugins updated. Delaying or not updating themes and plugins is the biggest mistake people make in maintaining their site.
It’s simple: if a new version of any theme or plugin is available, it means there is a vulnerability in the previous one and so, unless you update, your site stays vulnerable to attacks.
Check for updates on a daily basis and update whenever new versions are available.
when developing your WordPress Site, make sure to make a child theme so you can easily update the parent theme without losing your customizations.
5. Check Page Load Speeds
Your page load speed affects your SEO ratings and also prevents visitors from strolling away from your site. Regularly check your page load speeds using tools like Google Page Speed Insights and follow on the recommended suggestions to optimize speed and performance.
A few tips for optimizing your page load speed:
- Get Managed WordPress Hosting like Kinsta,
- Optimize your images by using image optimization tools,
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for better page speeds.
6. Check for Broken Links
Letting a 404-page end the conversation with your site visitors is too bad. Not only this, but broken links also hurt your SEO. Audit your site regularly using tools like W3C Link Checker to find any broken links and fix them.
And when it comes to the 404-page, make sure it’s designed well and helps the visitor get back to your site. Include links to other pages, a sitemap, and a search bar to help the user find what they need.
7. Post Regularly
An active blog with a regular posting schedule gives a boost to your SEO ranking and brings in traffic. High quality, valuable content once a month is much more valuable than useless junk filling up your blog every day.
Whatever schedule you choose, just don’t let your blog go stale.
8. Test Your Site for Responsiveness
Do I need to stress the need for a site that works well on mobile? A site that doesn’t look and work well on multiple devices hurts your SEO rankings too, not to mention how much it would hurt your visitors to land on a site that is difficult to use on mobile. Use tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check for your site’s responsiveness.
9. Test Your Forms
If there are forms on your site, make sure they are working properly. Test them regularly and check if you are getting Emails or not.
10. Clear Website Cache
Caching is a useful strategy to optimize page loads as it saves time by storing information and avoiding the need to re-obtain the same information from the server. However, caches have only a finite amount of space and when they get full, it slows down your site.
Clear your website cache once a month and especially after updating WordPress core, themes, and plugins.
11. Clean Junk Data
Many WordPress plugins can help you clean junk data like comment spams, older versions, leftover settings from uninstalled plugins, etc. Delete any unused plugins as well.
12. Monitor the Security of your Site
WordPress Security Plugins like iThemes Security or Sucuri can help you keep an eye on the security of your WordPress Site. Checking your site logs regularly helps you stay safe than sorry. They can help you keep track of changes in your site so you can ensure nothing is wrong.
In addition to that, curate your user accounts at least once a month and remove users that haven’t logged in a while. Also, make sure admin accounts are only held by those that need it.
13. Validate Your Website
To make sure everything works as expected, the code should be valid. Check your WordPress markup regularly using tools like W3C Markup Validation Service.
14. Make Regular SEO Efforts
SEO involves a lot of things and can’t be covered here in the scope of this article. It should be a part of your daily maintenance schedule. Make sure to have strong internal linking on your site. Whenever something new is posted on the site, it should be strongly linked internally within your site. Use tools like Yoast SEO to stay on top of your SEO efforts.
All in all…
Creating your website and letting it sit without regular maintenance is just like letting your home or office collect dust and become an ugly place that scares people away.
These WordPress maintenance strategies will help you keep your site well-optimized, secure, and well-maintained.
Jibran Ahmed Sheikh is a WordPress Expert at Codup.co. A tech fanatic by day and a reader by night, Jibran enjoys exploring the ever-changing world of Technology, Development, and eCommerce.