You have a beautiful new website, now you need to know how to take care of it. By completing monthly website maintenance you greatly reduce a variety of potential problems, such as decreasing the likelihood it’ll be hacked, decreasing load speeds, and improving your search engine rankings.
This WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist provides the steps that you should follow regularly to keep your website running smoothly and making sure it functions impeccably.
Backup, backup, backup
This is the single most important step you can do for the health and longevity of your website. Taking regular backups of both the database and the files. If the worst should happen and your website is hacked or lost you will have a clean copy that you can restore. There have multiple options to choose from when picking a backup plugin. WordPress offers a few high-quality plugins, which are still great options. These include UpdraftPlus (this is the one that we use and recommend) BackWPup Free and BackUpWordPress.
Don’t move on to any other steps until you have downloaded a clean backup to your computer or a remote location such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
Review the Comments
Review pending comments on your blogs and decide if they are legitimate comments that you want to approve or spam comments that should be marked as spam and deleted. It doesn’t necessarily improve the performance of your website, but it will ensure that you don’t miss out on genuine comments.
While we have included it here in the monthly section, it is considered best practice to check for comments at least weekly.
Optimize the Database
By maintaining your database you are essentially cleaning out the ‘cobwebs’ that develop over time. This helps improve your load speeds and reduce the frequency of database errors. To keep your database clean, use a plugin to simplify the process.
Here are some free options that will do a variety of tasks to maintain and optimize your database and best of all, they are all free!
As your website grows, you will find that some external website links that you have included in your content may no longer exist. Some may have moved, while others maybe have been deleted. Broken links aren’t just limited to external links either, there could be broken images, poorly formatted links or links that you have misspelled. This causes bad user experience and affects your site’s bounce rate and page views.
You can use the free version of Broken Link Checker or the paid version Link Checker Professional.
It is essential to monitor your website’s security on a regular basis to keep your site safe from phishing, spamming, malware and other malicious attacks. Installing and configuring a security plugin will go far in helping protect your site from threats.
You can use these plugins on their own, or in conjunction with each other for an extra layer of security.
Update WordPress Themes and Plugins
WordPress releases updates on a regular basis. This includes the WordPress core along with the themes and plugins that you have installed on your website. These updates need to be applied in order for your site to continue to function properly and to protect against unwanted problems, such as hackers. Updates should be completed in this order, WordPress core, themes and then updates. This will help avoid plugin and theme conflicts which could cause your entire website to crash.
One other thing to remember…
Remember to set reminders in your calendar to notify you when your domains and website hosting come up for renewal. It is easy to overlook this obvious step, but trust me – it happens. 😉
By following this WordPress website maintenance checklist monthly, you will keep on top of these simple management and maintenance tasks and you’ll have a safe, secure, speedy WordPress website.
If you see the value in maintaining your site, but do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, we do offer a monthly package that includes all of the services listed above AND our Website Guarantee – complete site restoration at no charge if the site is compromised while it is under our protection.