- 1 Must-Do WordPress Website Maintenance Tasks
- 1.1 Backup Your Website
- 1.2 Update Your Website’s Software
- 1.3 Delete Inactive Themes/Plugins
- 1.4 Audit Plugins
- 1.5 Check That The Site Is Using HTTPS
- 1.6 Check For Weak Passwords, Change All Passwords Periodically
- 1.7 Find And Fix Broken Links
- 1.8 Optimise WordPress Database
- 1.9 Optimise Images
- 1.10 Check And Delete Spam Comments
- 1.11 Run A Performance Scan
- 1.12 Run A Security Scan
- 1.13 Check Admin/User Accounts, And Delete/Downgrade
- 1.14 Test All Forms
- 1.15 Update Business Information
- 1.16 Publish New Content
- 1.17 Analyse Website Issues And Traffic Stats
- 1.18 Check That Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
- 1.19 Check The Website User Experience
- 1.20 Visual Inspection
- 1.21 Monitoring Website Downtime
- 1.22 Adhering to the Latest Requirements and Best Practices
- 2 In Conclusion
Regardless of whether you have a WordPress website or not, you want it to keep operating without any hassles for years to come. The best way to keep your website working at its best for you and your business is to keep it properly cared for with some basic WordPress website maintenance.
Keeping your website running without problems is a little like owning a car… You can’t expect a website to operate forever without problems if you don’t put aside a little time every now and then to maintain it. But what do you have to do to keep that website functioning at its best?
There are several things you can do. See our list of WordPress website maintenance tasks below…
Must-Do WordPress Website Maintenance Tasks
Below is a list of some important website maintenance tasks that you should be performing on your website. Some tasks are more important than others, and some should be performed more frequently. However, if you have not done any website maintenance for a long time, then it’s a good idea to investigate and complete every task below to minimise issues in the future.
Backup Your Website
If your website is a key component of your business, you should be backing it up regularly. The reason for this is quite simple… If your website is hacked or data is corrupted or lost in some way, a backup of your website saves you the work of starting all over from Square One. With a good, current backup, you can get your website up and operational in minutes. This can be crucial if the downtime results in lost revenue.
Update Your Website’s Software
WordPress core software updates are released frequently throughout the year. It’s generally a good idea to install them soon after release as they usually contain such things as security improvements, bug fixes, patches, enhanced features, and other pertinent improvements.
While care is taken to minimise any compatibility issues with existing plugins and themes, it is a good idea to take backups of everything beforehand and to update themes and plugins if required after WordPress is updated.
Delete Inactive Themes/Plugins
If you have inactive themes and/or plugins installed, they are not performing any useful function. They take up space on your hosting and can also be a security risk, so it’s a good idea to uninstall them if possible.
It’s a good idea to audit all the plugins installed on your website from time to time. This is for a number of reasons. For example… Sometimes you change the functionality of your website which means that you have stopped using the plugin… in which case it can be deleted. Some plugins may not be supported anymore meaning that they are not maintained. If they are not receiving security updates, then they may become security risks. Some plugins may slow down your website or have compatibility issues that cause your website to not work or display properly, so it might be best to replace it with another plugin. There are many other reasons why plugin audits are important, and it is a good idea to include this in your list of WordPress maintenance tasks.
Check That The Site Is Using HTTPS
Whether or not your business website asks visitors, users, or customers for personal information, it’s best to have an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate installed on your site. Without one, your website will display as non-secure. Search engines are taking a dim view of websites that are insecure and it can have a negative effect on rankings. Even if your website has an SSL certificate installed, there can be issues that cause it to be insecure, so you have to monitor it to ensure that it is working properly. If your site has an SSL certificate, ensure that it is secure and displays correctly.
Check For Weak Passwords, Change All Passwords Periodically
Weak passwords account for many security breaches on WordPress websites. Weak or overused passwords are common targets for hackers. To keep your site secure, change your passwords periodically and make them difficult to solve. Use a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols in long-form passwords. Also, refrain from using the same passwords on other platforms. And check to ensure that your website username is not “admin”. You can use a tool like LastPass to store and generate passwords.
Find And Fix Broken Links
Although you may not think that broken links are all that big an issue, they do harm your website and provide a bad user experience. Search engine bots that crawl and index web pages will see broken links, and this can harm your SEO efforts. You can utilise a broken link scanning tool to periodically audit and check for broken internal and external links and use that data to either remove or replace the links in question.
Optimise WordPress Database
The database is where all the content from your website is stored. For example, every image, comment, post, or other element that appears on your website ends up in the database. Over time, the database gets rather full. One way to optimise the database is to clear the trash from time to time. Too much database trash can slow your site down. Some plugins can assist with database optimisation.
Because images take longer to load than text, images can easily slow down the page load speed on your WordPress website. By checking the images displayed on pages and reviewing the images and the media library of your site, you can identify which images require optimisation to speed up load times. Sometimes, an image is just far too large to be useful and that may result in you having to reduce both size and quality. Be careful not to reduce the quality so much that the image becomes pixelized.
Check And Delete Spam Comments
Spam can be a huge issue for your website. This is particularly true if your WordPress site has a great deal of traffic. It is a good idea to sort through comments posted on your site as there will be a number of them that are promoting something and others will contain links that may be malicious and harmful to your legitimate website visitors. Spam comments clog up your site and make it hard to engage with real visitors. Review and delete regularly.
Run A Performance Scan
As your website grows to meet the needs of your business, you have likely added a lot of new content and possibly functionality since the site was first launched. That can include such things as plugins, images, and themes. Running a performance scan will show you if things are running slower than normal and can help to tell you what might be causing the issue. With this information, you can make the necessary corrections to improve your home page and all other pages on your website, so they function properly.
Run A Security Scan
It is critical to ensure that there are no issues with your website security. You should have a security plugin installed at all times. These perform many functions including blocking users after a certain number of failed login attempts, running malware scans, checking for vulnerable plugins and themes, as well as lots of other important tasks. If you haven’t checked your website security for a while, you can run high-sensitivity scans to perform an even more thorough check.
Check Admin/User Accounts, And Delete/Downgrade
Accounts on your website are areas that hackers will use to try to gain access to your site. This means that you should keep track of accounts… especially admin accounts as these are the most powerful and can be the most damaging if breached. You can do this by enforcing strong passwords, providing lower-level access when assigning user roles, downgrading the account level to the lowest level required, deleting old and/or inactive accounts, and enforcing the need to update passwords regularly so users minimise the chance of issues with their accounts.
Test All Forms
Many WordPress plugins are designed to enable you to add forms to your website. However, some small issues or settings can disrupt the sending and receiving of forms. By periodically checking all forms on your website, you can remedy the situation quickly especially if you rely on forms as a communication tool with your users.
Update Business Information
There are going to be changes to your business over time. Your website provides your customers with information on how to get in touch with you. This means that you should always keep your website contact information up to date.
Updating the contact and business information on your site is a vital aspect of website maintenance. This includes your phone number, business hours, address, staff contact details, product/services provided, and anything else related to your business operation will keep users informed about any changes.
Publish New Content
In addition to keeping your website interesting and relevant, regularly updating your content is essential for increasing traffic, boosting search engine rankings, and creating a loyal online community. Search engines love new content because it shows that your website is active and updated frequently, which can help to improve its visibility in search results and increase organic traffic. Additionally, it gives your audience useful information, establishing your website as a reliable resource of knowledge and authority in your industry. Additionally, frequent updates encourage users to return, fostering a sense of community and raising user engagement.
Analyse Website Issues And Traffic Stats
An important way to know what our website is doing is by monitoring traffic stats through visitor tracking. The most popular of which are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These powerful tools provide you with a vast amount of data that you can use to understand why people are coming to your website, what they are interested in, and where you can make changes and improvements.
Check That Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
This should be an obvious one. With the high percentage of internet users shopping and surfing with handheld devices, it only makes sense to have a website that works on all devices. When your website is mobile-friendly, it will function correctly on not just desktop computers, but users with tablets, smartphones, and laptops will be able to view your site without issues. Check your site by visiting https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.
Check The Website User Experience
You must put yourself in the shoes of a visitor to your website. What do they see on the home page? Is it clear as to what the website is about? Is navigation easy to use and is it easy to find things on the different pages of your website? What products/services do you offer? Is it obvious where you are located? Is the content easy to read? Is the website fast-loading?
There is a lot that goes into user experience. And especially with older websites or websites that have grown a lot over time, the user experience may not be optimal. If moving around your website and finding information is difficult, you should simplify it as much as possible to improve the UX.
A visual inspection is quick and simple, but many business owners frequently forget to perform one. If left unchecked, software updates and incompatibilities may cause your website to display incorrectly, which will obviously affect how visitors interact with it and could cost you business.
Additionally, consistency should be maintained throughout all pages on your website. This refers to consistency in both form and purpose. It should also display properly on different browsers.
These issues can be found and fixed by quickly visually inspecting your website before they have an impact on your company.
Monitoring Website Downtime
You should be continually monitoring your website to ensure that it is up and working. You can install monitoring tools to keep an eye on your website and receive alerts as soon as there is any downtime. Having this kind of system makes it possible to quickly investigate problems that cause your website to go down.
For eCommerce and small business websites where revenue may be impacted, it is an even more important aspect of website maintenance. Monitoring for downtime ensures that users always have access to your website.
Adhering to the Latest Requirements and Best Practices
Websites, social media platforms, and search engines constantly modify their best practices to satisfy evolving customer needs in the ever-changing web environment.
As mentioned above, implementing SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certification, a necessary step in switching your website over to HTTPS instead of HTTP, is one notable example. This modification is only one of the standards that must be taken into account. Neglecting SSL could have negative effects on visibility and search engine rankings.
The complexity of website technology, standards, and best practices makes it essential to stay up to date with changes in specifications. Aside from SSL, make sure your website is up to date with other essential aspects like mobile responsiveness, page loading speed, and other elements that have recently grown in importance, especially in Google’s ranking algorithms. Your website will have the best chance of ranking well in the search engines if you stay informed and adapt as necessary.
It isn’t hard to run a WordPress website for your business. By keeping up on regular website maintenance, you can ensure that it is working well and minimise the chances of things going awry. However, it does take some time and technical knowledge to get the most out of your website and to keep it working properly.