The same rule that applies to cars applies to WordPress websites—whether it’s new or used, your car needs regular maintenance. Unfortunately, WordPress websites don’t come with a manual. So, we put together this WordPress Website Maintenance Checklistso you know exactly what you need to do to keep your site running smoothly.
1. Do a FULL backup & store it outside of your hosting account. It’s FAR better (and cheaper) to restore a website 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 your backup in a cloud (Dropbox, with us, etc.) in case your hosting account gets compromised.
If you’re backing up your site yourself, we highly recommend Updraft Plus. Click on the image below for more info:
Backup Your WordPress Website Yourself with UpdraftPlus!
2. Update your plugins.Plugins are the apps that add functionality to your website. They are also doors through which hackers can enter your site, so it’s important that you use reputable ones built by developers who are conscientious about staying on top of the most recent security vulnerabilities.
3. Update WordPress. Bugs happen and one of the downfalls of being popular is being a target. WordPress is the most popular website platform out there. Fortunately, they are extremely conscientious about fixing their goofs and staying on top of security, so they release updates regularly. If you don’t have the most recent version of WordPress, you may be affected by a bug nuisance and/or are not protected against the most current security threats.
4. Update your WordPress theme. Similar to plugins and WordPress, your WordPress theme is a door for a hacker to enter. Similar to plugins, reputable developers stay on top of security and release new versions regularly. BEWARE: Updating a theme is NOT for the inexperienced or you may overwrite all of the customization that was done to it!
5. Clean up your blog. If your business blog is cluttered with outdated posts (i.e., earlier sales, past events, old info, etc.), you stand to lose credibility and website visitors.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. (If you announce sales and events in blog posts often, we use a helpful plugin that automatically expires these posts!)
6. 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. These are frustrating to users and negatively 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.
7. 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.
8. Perform a security scan. If your website doesn’t have a reputable security plugin, GO INSTALL ONE NOW or contact us regarding our Security Package. 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.
9. Clean up your database. Cleaning your database is like cleaning your closet—picking stuff up from the floor, getting rid of stuff you’re not using anymore, and organizing what’s left so you can 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 by our WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist, we highly recommend you invest in our WordPress Website Maintenance Contract, so we can do it for you.
Contact us today to chat with us about this service.
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Janet Doré is the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of Scribaceous, Inc., and has been passionately supporting her clients since 2013. Learn more about her here and connect with her on Linkedin and Facebook!