There are dozens of new website platforms out there today, but WordPress remains the top contender when it comes to user-friendliness and great aesthetics. WordPress websites are also fairly easy to maintain, but it’s important to stay on top of your WordPress maintenance to keep your site running smoothly.
You want your website to have a great user experience and get ranked well by the Google algorithm. When you perform the seven WordPress website maintenance routines below, you can rest assured that you will achieve those goals.
1. Back Up Your WordPress Website
It’s a great idea to install an automatic backup plugin to your WordPress site so that your data is routinely stored. However, you should still manually check the backup yourself to make sure the plugin is working smoothly.
The last thing you want is to realize that it wasn’t working for a number of months and your website is not actually backed up.
If you regularly add new content, like blogs, to your website, you should make sure it is backed up weekly. If your website doesn’t change that month, you can add this task to your WordPress monthly maintenance list.
2. Test Your Website Speed and Performance
When you add new content to your website, you run the risk of having a slower load time. Google doesn’t like when web pages take too long to load, so it’s doesn’t feature them prominently in search results.
Go through your most visited pages one by one and make sure they are still loading quickly. You should also test the plugins you use on each page and make sure there are no glitches.
The sooner you catch errors, the sooner you can fix them and speed up your site. Try to do a complete performance check of your site once a month.
3. Remedy Broken Links and 404 Error Pages
Remember that blog post from three years ago where you linked to an Amazon product? If that Amazon listing doesn’t exist anymore, your link will be broken. When a link is broken, it leads the user to a 404 error page, which no one likes to see.
Too many broken links is also another SEO killer, so it’s a good idea to routinely check all of your links. You should particularly pay attention to your most popular blogs and web pages, especially if they were published a long time ago.
This rule applies to internal links as well. If you delete a web page, you need to make sure you remove or replace any links to that page from other pages on your WordPress website.
4. Update Your WordPress Themes and Plugins
Your theme is a crucial part of your website, and it can start running slowly when you don’t update it often enough. Anytime you get a notification that there is a new version of your theme, you should update it promptly.
The same rule applies to your plugins, and even WordPress itself. On your dashboard, there is an “Updates” button on the toolbar where you can see all the files on your website that are due for updates. Check this section regularly to stay on top of the latest version of your WordPress theme and plugins.
5. Test Your Email and Sales Forms
If you have a contact form on your WordPress website that allows visitors to sign up for your newsletter, make sure it never malfunctions by testing it regularly. You should be able to avoid malfunctions by updating your email plugin often, but it never hurts to test it just in case.
When your forms don’t work, your website seems confusing and unprofessional to a new visitor. Plus, if you use your website for sales, a broken check-out form means a loss of profits.
We recommend testing your forms manually, but there are plugins that you can install that will test them automatically on a set schedule. Installing a plugin like Pingdom can make sure you never lose a sale because of a broken form.
6. Reset Your Passwords
The last thing you need is to deal with your website getting hacked. Not only is it a huge interruption to your workflow, but it can also be detrimental to your business.
You should change your WordPress account password a couple of times a year. Additionally, change any other passwords for accounts you use that are related to your WordPress website. For example, your email service, Shopify, and any other databases.
Make sure you use strong passwords that include letters, characters, and numerals. Don’t use passwords that you use for other accounts.
If you are concerned about the security of your WordPress website, you can install a security plugin to run routine scans and catch any suspicious activity.
7. Monitor Your Comments for Spam
Unfortunately, WordPress websites can attract a fair amount of spam comments. When these comments show up on your blogs and web pages, it looks unprofessional and clunky.
You can change your settings to make it so that you have to approve comments before they are posted, or you can install a plugin that catches spam comments. Askimet is a popular option that many WordPress site owners are happy with.
However, even a program like Askimet can miss some spam comments. Make sure you routinely check your comments sections to ensure that nothing fell through the cracks.
Additionally, sometimes real comments are incorrectly marked as spam by these programs. Make sure you sift through the spam comments folder too. You don’t want to make a potential customer feel like you ignored their comment.
Final Thoughts on WordPress Maintenance
Maintaining a website may feel like a lot of work, but once you are in the habit of performing these WordPress maintenance routines regularly, it will become second nature.
Plus, getting into WordPress maintenance mode will guarantee a beautiful site that provides a great user experience and performs well. If you need help with SEO services and blog writing to make your website shine, contact me today.