WordPress is my favorite website platform to use for my own business and for my clients. When built correctly it provides you with a solid foundation for your website that can easily grow and evolve with your business. Pairing WordPress with the Beaver Builder page builder makes the sites I build easy to update and manage.
However, even with a simple setup, after launching a WordPress website, it’s important to stay up to date with the recommended maintenance to keep things running smoothly.
This article will walk you through the recommended steps to take for your WordPress website maintenance. I’ll also be sharing my best practices along the way.
Before we dive In let’s talk about why Website Maintenance is essential. With proper maintenance, your site will be more secure, faster, run more smoothly, covered in the case of an emergency and more Google friendly.
When thinking of website maintenance I like to think of your website as your home online.
So let’s imagine for a second you build a beautiful home. Once it’s built, you move in, and then nothing. You don’t mow the lawn, clean the gutters, check the roof, touch up the paint, service your HVAC, clean the floors, check the smoke alarms… you get the idea. You move in and then never take the steps to maintain your home.
You can imagine how that would turn out. The good news is, maintaining a website takes a lot less time, money, and effort than maintaining a home.
So let’s break down your WordPress Website Maintenance into 5 digestible steps:
Step 1: Set up daily backups to run offsite.
Before performing any updates, you’ll always want to have a recent backup of your website stored offsite. Offsite means someplace other than your website or host. This is important because if something breaks during an update you can quickly access and restore your website with this backup.
You can use a plugin such as BlogVault to easily schedule your backups.
Step 2: Set up security and malware scans.
It’s also a good idea to be regularly monitoring the security of your site and performing malware scans. Having a system in place to look for vulnerabilities and catch malware will help keep your website safe and secure with a proactive approach.
You can also use BlogVault here to monitor your security activity and keep you protected.
Step 3: Set up uptime monitoring.
You should also set up automatic alerts to let you know if your website does go down. There are plugins that exist that will monitor your website and let you know if anything goes down. If you are ever notified you’ll be able to restore your website to working condition with a backup you’ve secured in Step 1 or by contacting your hosting provider. BlogVault comes in handy here, too, providing uptime monitoring as a part of its service.
Step 4: Check for and perform core, plugin and theme updates.
Once you have Steps 1-3 set up, then you’re ready to check for and perform updates to your core files, plugins, and themes. Each week you should be checking for new plugin and theme releases. Some releases will be simple bug fixes, adding new functionality or patching a security risk from a previous version. You’ll want to evaluate the new version and update it appropriately.
WordPress also releases updates of its core files. If there is a major release, it’s recommended to wait a couple of weeks for the bugs to be ironed out before updating. There will soon be another version released that will likely be more secure.
Prior to performing any updates, you’ll want to make sure you have a recent back in case an update breaks any part of your website. Having a backup will allow you to easily revert back to a working version of your website.
Step 5: Review the front-end and back-end of your website.
Once you’ve performed your updates, you’ll want to review both the front-end and back-end of your website. The front-end of your website is the public-facing part of your website, what the public sees. Click through each page to ensure it’s working and displaying as it should. The back-end is what you see as the administrator. Click through your admin panel to see if there are any notifications or actions that need your attention after updating.
Aside from these steps, you’ll also want to consider completing the following as a part of your WordPress Website Maintenance:
- Moderate comments and delete spam.
- Check your contact form is working by sending a test message to yourself.
- Remove any deactivated plugins you’re not using.
- Clean up your post and page revisions.
- Monitor your traffic and search engine rankings in Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
- Search for broken links and use a Redirection plugin to redirect when necessary.
- Test your site speed on PageSpeed Insights.
- Check your Google Search Console performance.
Just like your home requires maintenance to keep things running smoothly and efficiently, so does your online home. By being proactive with your website maintenance you can avoid unnecessary headaches and hours of frustration down the road.
If after reading this you feel it’s too much to add to your already full plate, you’re not alone. That’s why many of my clients choose to sign up for a Website Care Plan to cover their ongoing website maintenance. Click here to learn more and explore the plans.