Tip #10: WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist
The same rule that applies to cars applies to WordPress websites—whether it’s new or used, your car needs regular maintenance. Unfortunately, your WordPress website didn’t come with a manual. So we put together this WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist so you know exactly what you need to do to maintain the website that you invested so much in.
WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist
Every one of these tasks is crucial to the function and safety of your WordPress site and should be done at least once a month:
- Do a full backup. It’s FAR better, and cheaper, to restore a backup than to try to clean up a damaged or destroyed website. Note the word “full”—make sure the WHOLE site, including the database, is backed up. Save a copy to your hard drive and in the cloud [Dropbox, iCloud, etc.] in case your hosting account gets compromised.
- Update your plugins. Plugins are the apps that add functionality to your website. They can also be a portals for entry by hackers, so it’s important that you use ones by reputable developers who stay on top of the most recent security vulnerabilities and update the plugin to protect their customers.
- Update WordPress. One of the downfalls of being popular is being a target. WordPress is the most popular website platform out there. The WordPress team is extremely conscientious about security and releases updates regularly. If you don’t have the most updated version of WordPress, you are not protected against current threats or bugs.
- Update your WordPress theme. Similar to plugins and WordPress, your WordPress theme is a point of entry for a hacker. Again, the reputable developers stay on top of security and release new versions regularly.
- Clean up your blog. If your business blog is cluttered with outdated posts (i.e., earlier sales, past events, old info, etc.), you lose credibility and website visitors. Keeping your blog cleaned up and well-organized shows you’re on top of your business, which has a huge impact on your SEO ranking. (We use a helpful plugin that automatically expires designated sale and event posts, saving you the hassle of doing this yourself.)
- Fix 404 errors. When you delete or rename a page or post and someone arrives at it from an old link, they’ll land on a 404 error page created by Google. These are frustrating to users and may impact your search engine ranking. Fixing links is a matter of redirecting people to an updated or substitute URL and can be done manually in Google or automatically by a plugin.
- Check contact and email sign-up forms. Things randomly stop working more often than you might think. If your contact or email sign-up form is that thing, your business may be significantly affected. A quick test will make sure that you are still receiving inquiries and subscriptions from your website.
- Perform a security scan. If your website doesn’t have a reputable security plugin, GO INSTALL ONE NOW. In addition to real time monitoring of any malicious login attempts, a full scan is an important part of regular maintenance as it will alert you to any security vulnerabilities or issues.
- Clean up your database. Cleaning your database is like cleaning your closet—picking stuff up off the floor, getting rid of clothes you’re not wearing anymore, and organizing the ones that are left so you find things quicker and make room for new stuff.
If your website temporarily or permanently stops working, the cost to your business can be significant. If you can’t find the time to do this yourself, or you feel totally overwhelmed after just reading this WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist, we highly recommend you invest in our Wordpress Website Maintenance Contract, so we can do it for you. Click below to chat with us about this service.