Regular WordPress Maintenance to Keep Your Website Fresh

wordpress-maintenance-support

Regular WordPress Maintenance to Keep Your Website Fresh

WordPress was created to make it easy to manage a website, but that doesn’t mean that it is completely free of WordPress maintenance.

If you completely set it and forget it, your website could run into multiple issues and maintenance problems such as:

  • Slow loading times
  • Negative search engine results and rankings
  • Malware and other security issues

It’s relatively simple to avoid these types of issues to keep your site running smoothly. You just need to set time aside each day or weekly to maintain your WordPress website. If you don’t have time or would rather utilize your time on your business, our team provides WordPress maintenance services for $29 per month.

Regular WordPress maintenance will not only keep your website running smoothly, but it can also help build traffic and prove that you are a trustworthy business.

Before beginning any website maintenance, please make sure to perform a full website backup just in case any plugin or theme updates break the site. Daily off-site backups are included with our WordPress support plan –

You can also use some free plugins to automatically keep your website backed up. UpdraftPlus is one of the most trusted and popular WordPress plugins. BackWPup is another great choice to keep your website backed up for free.

Besides having backups for plugin and theme updates, it’s important to have regular backups.

You never know when a disaster is going to strike. They say disaster never strikes – until it does – and then it’s too late. You need to be proactive and make sure you have a solid backup/restore plan.

Here are just a few examples of how your WordPress website could fail and need restored.

  • Your website gets a virus and malware causing replacing your website content with malicious ads.
  • Your website gets silent malware sending out thousands of SPAM emails per minute. Most website hosts will shut down or remove your website when this happens
  • Natural disaster occurs such as a flood or fire at your host datacenter
  • Someone on your team accidentally deletes the website or multiple pages

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of WordPress maintenance, let’s show you a few important tips on how to keep your site running smoothly.

1. Update WordPress core, plugins, and themes

Next to using a secure website hosting company and a firewall or security plugin, keeping your core files, plugins and themes up to date is most important for a secure website.

Because of the ease of use with WordPress, it has become very popular. This popularity has also made it a common target for hackers. WordPress is a very secure content management system, but with multiple plugins and themes, hackers are always working hard to find a quick loophole in security. Developers are always working on updates and security patches.

You should always keep your WordPress themes and plugins on the latest version.

To update, you can go to your WordPress dashboard, updates and then select all to update.

WordPress maintenance

Also, an important note to follow. Remove any unused or outdated plugins. If a plugin hasn’t been updated in a really long time by it’s developer, it can become a security risk. Our recommendation is to remove that plugin and find a newer one that provides the same functionality that is more secure and up-to-date.

Sucuri states that 56% of hacked WordPress websites were running plugins or themes that were out of date.  This means that over half of the websites hacked could have easily been preventing by simply updating plugins in the WordPress dashboard. Simple but effective!

2.  Clean up your WordPress database

Your WordPress site is connected to a database that stores all of your content including pages, posts, custom taxonomies, comments, testimonials, and images.

Over time, your WordPress database can become cluttered with revisions, spam comments and other unnecessary data. This will slow your website load time and cause other performance issues.

We recommend using the WP-Optimize plugin to clean your database with a single click of a button.

Optimize WordPress

You don’t have to worry about cleaning and maintaining your database daily or even weekly. A monthly routine of WordPress maintenance will keep your database running smoothly.

 

3. Clean up your blog post comments

Hopefully you are already using a spam filter for your comments such as Akismet. Akismet will automatically filter out most of your spam comments from the web.

While Akismet will do most of the work, it’s still important to review your comments. You should:

  • Approve pending valid comments
  • Respond to comments
  • Mark spam comments

Moderating your comments is a good way to build your website audience and to increase engagement.

Answering questions to a visitor will prompt them to come back to your site to respond back. This type of engagement is good for SEO and proves authority to Google search indexes.

Not answering questions can lead to a bad reputation and it gives the impression that you are not a trustworthy source or expert in your field.

If you do not have time to moderate comments, our team includes comment moderation with our WordPress maintenance package for $29 per month. Or you should simply disable comments in your WordPress settings page.

 

4.  You should check and fix broken links

404 page errors or broken links have a negative impact on your SEO score. Errors on your website also can frustrate your users and make your site seem unprofessional.

There are several plugins that will automatically detect broken links and notify you. However, we recommend using an external tool such as Dead Link Checker.

Dead link checker is simple to use and limits adding another plugin to your WordPress website. It will crawl your site, identifying broken links for you to correct.

If you would like a WordPress plugin for this task, you should check out the Broken Link Checker. This plugin is the best tool that we have found within WordPress that will allow you to quickly hover over each link and edit or remove the link. To increase performance on your site, our recommendation is to disable this plugin when you are not using it. Only enable the Broken link checker plugin when you want to check for broken links.

Remember that broken links hurt your SEO by preventing Google, Yahoo, and Bing from indexing the page. It also negatively affects your visitors user experience. It’s very important to check and fix broken links on a regular basis.

 

5.  Optimize your Images

As your WordPress website grows, you also grow the number of images that store. Most often images begin optimized from the developers, but regular team users import large, unoptimized images into the database.  Over time, this will slow your website and cause your SEO rank to drop.

To clean up your WordPress media library, you can use a free plugin that will bulk optimize the images, shrinking them in size.

We recommend using WP Smush – Image Optimization or Ewww Image Optimizer.

If you have higher resolution images, using these plugins is a MUST. This task will run for several minutes to over an hour depending on the number and size of images that you have on your website.

This service is also included with our WordPress maintenance plan.

 

6. Update all of your WordPress passwords

Passwords are your front line of defense against unauthorized access or login to your site. You must use strong, complicated passwords for your WordPress website, FTP accounts and WordPress database.

We have found that simple passwords are one of the most common ways WordPress is compromised with malware.

You should force your WordPress users to use a complex password and to update their password on a monthly basis. We recommend using WordPress login security solution to manage user passwords.

This plugin will lock down user login security by blocking brute force attacks on bots guessing passwords, block ip addresses on unknown devices, notify admins of unauthorized access, force password complexity, and password aging.

While this does create a bit of a hassle for your users, especially if you own a WordPress membership site, it is absolutely necessary. Password lists gets stolen on a regular basis from large sites. Many users use the same password for multiple sites making your WordPress website vulnerable to unauthorized logins.

 

7. Test your website load time

After you perform these routine WordPress maintenance tasks, you should test your website load time.

Testing your website load time will provide you with the necessary actions needed to fully optimize your website for the best user experience. Keeping your WordPress website optimized will also boost your overall SEO ranking.

If your website performance tests indicates any issues, you can review the problems and attempt to fix or reach out to your WordPress developer to fix.

Below are 2 tools that we recommend to check your page speed and optimization.

  • Pingdom – Pingdom’s page speed tool gives you an easy number to compare. You can always choose to test from the same location to keep things consistent.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights – PageSpeed Insights will also give you a consistent number you can use to compare.

These tools will help you gain insights to your website’s performance.

 

Remember to schedule your WordPress maintenance

In conclusion, all of these tasks can seem tedious but they are a MUST! To keep your WordPress website running smoothly, you have to routinely perform these updates.

If you don’t set a schedule for WordPress maintenance, your day-to-day business tasks may take priority and these will be forgotten. Remember to schedule in these tasks by:

  • Making regular WordPress backups
  • Updating WordPress plugins, themes, and core files
  • Cleaning up and maintaining your WordPress database
  • Check and fix broken links
  • Update all of your WordPress passwords
  • Test your website load time and performance

For peace of mind and stress free management of your website, please contact our team today to start your WordPress maintenance package for $29 per month.

Don’t wait until after your website gets hacked, get your site running smoothly by performing routine WordPress maintenance. A hacked website will cost you a lot more such as a bad reputation, loss of sales, bad SEO or even worse such as losing all of your content.

It’s important to make regular updates and backups to be prepared for any issue that may arise.


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