Guide to WordPress Website Maintenance
WordPress is a great CMS platform which is easy to use and makes the process of creating websites easier, faster and over all cost effectively.
WordPress, a great CMS platform is easy to use and makes the process of creating websites easier, faster and overall cost effective. We all need to maintain websites after they go live and maintaining site is entirely different thing from creating it.
The same way WordPress website needs proper maintenance. If the wordpress maintenance is not done it can result in:
- Increased page loading time
- Lower security
- Decreased user experience
- Decline in search engine rankings
Aside from that, a site that is not taken care of simply becomes more disorganized and uncomfortable to use. Therefore, routine ebsite maintenance is mandatory.
Why should we Care About WordPress Website Maintenance?
WordPress is a web tool and just like every other web tool it needs to be taken care of so it can perform at its best. WordPress gets lots of update related to security and performance so wordpress maintenance is mandatory.
Always update the Latest Version of WordPress
It is very important to have the wordpress website up-to-date. Keeping up to date will get you all the new features, code updates as well as keep you informed about WordPress news. It will also update all the latest security fixes and keep your website safe. So, make sure site always runs with the latest WordPress version. Sites like the WordPress blog and of course will let you know what is happening in the WordPress world and information about newly released version.
Aside from that, you will also find a message in your WordPress dashboard when your site is ready to be upgraded. In both cases, make it a reflex to back up your site and install the latest update right away. All it takes is a one click under Dashboard > Updates.
Check this guide for the proper procedure if you are unsure. Your site will thank you.
Don’t Forget About Plugins And Themes
Of course, what applies to WordPress as a whole is also true for its components. The motto here is also to back up and apply updates as soon as possible. Plugin and theme authors, ideally, offer regular updates for their products to make sure they function with the latest version of WordPress and continue to be secure. Out-of-date plugins and themes are a prime gateway for hackers trying to take over your site.
Especially around major WordPress releases you will see a lot of update notifications in the plugin menu. I recommend first attending to the core updates, then moving on to the components. That way you reduce the chance of a plugin or theme conflict that could take down your site.
Should You Automate The WordPress Update Process?
WordPress 3.7, minor security and maintenance updates are applied automatically and it’s possible to disable this function. However doing so is strongly discouraged. Security updates are very unlikely to break your site; they help keep it safe, as you might have guessed from the name. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have them installed automatically the moment they come out.
It’s also possible to enable automatic updates for major releases, as well as for plugins and themes. However, doing so, you are running the risk of breaking your site without being aware and thus it’s not recommended.
A Quick Tip: Replace the standard WordPress maintenance mode screen with a customized version to make the wait more pleasant for your visitors.
Daily WordPress Website Maintenance Tasks
Now let’s start with our day-to-day tasks. These are things that should be done regularly to keep your site active and safe. Below are the some daily wordpress maintenance tasks:
Blogs live due to reader’s participation. If someone takes the time out of their day to write something insightful in response to an article you have published, that’s a huge compliment that deserves recognition!
Comments also show first-time visitors that your site is active and enhances credibility. That’s should be enough of the reason to answer them in a timely fashion. Moreover, being quick to answer helps to keep conversation going and gives your readers the feeling of being taken seriously. Thus, taking care of comments is highly recommended!
Regular backups are the cornerstone of proper WordPress website maintenance. In case something goes horribly wrong with your site, a recent backup will enable you revive the site. For any site with decent traffic backing up daily is not a crazy idea. It eliminates the risk of losing the latest content and comments giving you a peace of mind. Below are few methods to do that:
– Find a good hosting provider that does it for you.
- Set up your own solution.
- Use a free plugin like is UpDraftPlus
We have plenty of options available for backing up our sites, however, for maximum effect one should stick to either:
a) perform backups automatically
b) send the backed up data to a remote location.
However, investing in a premium solution like BackupBuddy, Duplicator or VaultPress is also well worth the money.
One thing that you should never forget is that your website is meant for visitors and users, not merely your own amusement. When you see your own site too often, it’s easy to become blind to things that aren’t working right. Therefore, it makes sense to put yourself in someone else’s shoes every once in a while.
Every week or so, look at your website the way your visitors do. Have a look around in a private browser window, a different browser, or on another device. Check if all the important pages work properly? Are things looking good and usable in mobile? Would someone who has never been to your site know what it’s about and how to deal with it?
Also, while you are at it, check whether everything you see on the frontend is actually necessary. Maybe you don’t need twelve widgets in your sidebar and five would be enough. Examining the website elements regularly will help in figuring whether they are contributing to or distracting from your page goals. Eliminate what you can.
Check Your Analytics
Last but not the least wordpress website can be enhanced by studying website analytics. A weekly look at the stats will tell what is working, which content is popular among readers, how visitors are behaving and much more. This information can help you tweak the strategy and content efforts accordingly for more success in the future.
It will also let you know about site health and alarm if anything’s wrong, e.g. something resulting in Google penalty, before they become a major problem. Some metrics can even be reviewed daily, however, at the very least you should check in once a week to keep a bird’s eye view of your site’s performance.
Hubspot also has a great article on which analytics to check how often plus seven metrics every marketer should check weekly.
Delete Spam Comments
WordPress newbies are always surprised about the amount of spam comments their sites get besides having an anti-spam solution like Antispam Bee, Anti-spam, or WP-SpamShield . Depending on the amount of traffic, your site will accumulate dozens to hundreds of spam comments every day, it’s important to delete the spam comments on a regular basis to free up resources.
Monthly would probably be enough, however, weekly is a better choice to make sure that legitimate comments don’t get caught up in the frenzy and left unanswered. These can easily be found in the Comments menu in the WordPress backend, find the Empty Spam button, click it and say sayonara spam!. However you should check for if any real comments got sent here by accident.
Sort Drafts and Empty Trash
Multi-author websites often accumulate a lot of dead weight in the form of drafts, post ideas, and content pieces that were abandoned. They clutter up the workspace and make it more cumbersome to work for everyone. Hence, regularly deleting posts and pages that won’t see the light of day, frees up important resources. However, running a single-author website, doing this once a month is probably enough.
This can also be done by adjusting the time interval for the trash in wp-config.php so that items that have been thrown away get deleted more quickly.
Monthly Maintenance Tasks for Your Site
The intervals for maintenance are getting even longer. Still, this doesn’t mean whatever is on this list is any less important, so don’t even think about slacking off.
Consolidate Plugins and Themes
It is not uncommon to try out five different plugins before you find the right one in the search for extra functionality and then to forget about the other four once you have made your decision.
For that reason, plugins are one of the most common contributors to clutter on WordPress websites. Themes can cause clutter as well. Therefore, next up on our list of website maintenance tasks is a monthly look through your WordPress components to see what can be eliminated. Eliminate anything that has overstayed its welcome and/or purpose.
Look for: What are you actually using? What is still performing a purpose? Do you need every plugin you have installed?
Optimize The Database
Like the rest of WordPress, the MySQL database accumulates unwanted data over time and thus maintenance also extends to this part of your site.
Besides installing a plugin that can schedule regular database optimization like WP-Optimize, it is recommend checking comprehensive article on WordPress database cleanup and maintenance.
Scan For Malware and Signs of Hacking
Nobody likes getting hacked, but the risk of it happening is part of the reality of having a website online. A better strategy of dealing with it than sticking your head into the sand is to be proactive, by checking for irregularities on your site on a regular basis, you can fix potential problems before a hijacked site gets you blacklisted or worse.
These tools enable you to run regular security checkups:
If you make sure to adhere to basic security measures you can probably be a little more lax and switch to a bi-monthly rhythm.
Update Your Portfolio
If you’re using your site to advertise any sort of service, it’s important to keep your online portfolio up to date. You might have done loads of amazing stuff in the meanwhile, however, if potential clients are seeing same work for years, they might think twice about hiring you.
To keep this from happening, check back once a month whether there is anything that needs to be updated. Thus updating your portfolio when finishing projects will always reflect your best work.
Quarterly To Yearly Maintenance Tasks
Finally, we are coming to those parts of site maintenance that don’t have to be done every month but that do need attention from time to time to keep your WordPress website running smoothly.
Eliminate Dead Links
By dead links I mean links either on your site, coming to your site or pointing to another website whose destination no longer exists. This can be because a resource has moved, the URL has a typo error, the permalink structure has changed or simply because a page doesn’t exist anymore.
Users who click on such a link will see their browser spit out a 404 – not found error. Overall, dead links are not super critical. They don’t directly hurt your search rankings and don’t do anything to your site except annoying the user, making their experience unpleasant hence increasing your bounce rate, which will hurt your search engine standings.
Thankfully, the free site Dead Link Checker helps you identify them so you can take remedial action. Alternatively you might also use Screaming Frog, Beam Us Up, or check under Crawl > Crawl Errors in Google Search Console. Once you have found a broken link, you can either correct, replace, or remove them. Done.
For incoming links, use the Redirection plugin. It keeps track of anyone coming to a non-existent page on your site and allows you to redirect them to more suitable URLs. No need to check this every day, every few months is probably enough unless you see some major upheaval in your analytics.
Yet, in the meanwhile consider creating a custom 404 page to keep your visitors around longer.
Update Personal and Site Information
Things change quickly not only on the Internet but also in real life. Hence it’s mandatory to go back and every few months and have a look at whether the site still reflects who you are and what you do. Maybe your business objective shifted; maybe you have taken the site towards a new direction; your address has changed or your life circumstances. In all cases, your WordPress website should reflect it.
As part of your wordpress website maintenance, you can therefore regularly check relevant pages like the about page , contact page, legal pages, copyright notice, author byline, and other important info to see whether it’s still up to date. While you are at it, also have a quick look if your domain and plugin subscriptions still reflect your needs or if you anything should be changed.
Validate Your WordPress Website
It’s no secret that web technology is steadily evolving and everything gets out of date every now and then. Especially basic technology like HTML and CSS are constantly updated and it’s worth the occasional look whether your site still conforms to current best standards or not.
The WordPress Codex article on validation has plenty of tools that allow you to do just that. Apply once a year or whenever you have made major changes to your site.
WordPress Site Maintenance Isn’t Too Hard
For many, website upkeeping is a necessary evil. And it’s true, at least the part about necessity. Without taking care of your site on a regular basis, you run the risk of ending up with a slow, insecure and chaotic website that is hard to use for both visitors and admins.
On the other hand, what’s more enjoyable than seeing your site load quickly, your business on track and search rankings rising? Isn’t that worth a little effort?
The tips above will provide you with a rough road map for creating your own maintenance schedule. Set it, do it, and reap the benefits.
However, Maintaining a website is a different things from creating a website. After creating a website and live it, Website Maintenance are needed.
WordPress website needs proper website maintenance. If it does not, your WordPress site may have many unpleasant consequences:
- Increased page loading time
- Lowered security
- Decreased user experience
- Declining search engine rankings
Aside from that, a site that is not taken care of simply becomes more disorganized and uncomfortable to use. Therefore, regular
WordPress website maintenance is mandatory.