WordPress maintenance is not set it and forget it … in fact, did you know that over 25,000 different malicious applications on the web are blocked every day? As a result, your website is under constant threat, even if you don't realize it, and the size of your business does not matter. So how can you keep your WordPress Website secure?
One of the best ways to do this is to keep your WordPress updated. So please read on as we give 10 vital WordPress maintenance tasks you must regularly perform. To us, regularly means daily and weekly maintenance tasks. Waiting to do these tasks monthly or quarterly leaves too much opportunity for malware to ruin your site.
1. Backup Your Website
Even with robust security systems in place, things can still go wrong. You don’t want to lose your entire website when it does. It could mean rebuilding from scratch, which is time-consuming and costly, and can result in lost reputation and earnings.
Your hosting provider may have a way to back up your website. If not, you can get plugins that will take care of that for you. This WordPress maintenance task should occur daily and whenever you make a significant update.
2. Update Plugins and Themes
Plugins and themes are responsible for the functionality of your WordPress website. When they become outdated, they can slow your website down considerably.
Older plugins and themes are also a security threat, so you must add updates to your regular WordPress maintenance. Hackers can exploit the code to access your site and its data.
Luckily, updating them is simple. WordPress will notify you in the dashboard, so all you have to do is click update. As a reminder, always choose plugins that the developers regularly maintain.
Because plugin developers update plugins when they find an exploit or bug, we recommend checking your site daily for plugin updates.
3. Change Passwords
To prevent unauthorized access, you should change all of the passwords on your site to ensure stronger passwords are used. A strong password includes a mix of characters, including numbers, letters, special characters, and upper and lowercase.
This includes passwords for the site Admin and SFTP accounts. If you have any employees or vendors who also access your site, make sure they also change to use strong passwords.
Since stronger passwords become hard to remember, use a password manager like Lastpass, so you do not forget them.
4. Update your WordPress Core
Another essential task to help maintain your WordPress site is to update the system itself. The core files keep everything running smoothly and ensure it is secure. Luckily, WordPress will tell you when it needs to update.
You may experience some website downtime when this occurs. If you have heavy traffic, it is best to do this during a quieter period. This ensures you do not miss out on leads and revenue.
Make sure you backup your website beforehand. You should do a check for functionality after you have updated, as there may be minor conflicts with plugins and themes. In most cases, if your plugins and themes are up-to-date, your website will run fine afterward.
5. Check Comments
Comments are an excellent tool for your business. They promote customer and client relationships and allow you to open genuine dialogue. However, anyone who has comments open on their site will know how much spam they attract.
The problem with spam comments is that they usually contain backlinks. This is not bad in itself, but it can damage your SEO score as they always link to spam sites. That is why they need moderating and deleting.
Plugins like Akismet can filter spam for you. However, they may sometimes flag a genuine comment as a malicious one. So go through them periodically to check if any have been missed.
6. Check If Google Has Indexed Your Website
Indexing is crucial to your WordPress maintenance and performance. Without it, people won’t be able to find you in search engines, and you won’t get organic traffic. Type your website name into Google to see if you are indexed.
If you are not listed, the first task is to submit your URL to Google. After this, you need to work on increasing your overall SEO score.
7. Test Your WordPress Forms
Forms are essential, as they help you capture customer details. However, misconfigured forms may lead to you losing customers. If they don’t align with your hosting server or email service, this can happen. Therefore, setting up proper SMTP settings for your form email is important for deliverability.
You can test your forms by entering your details and going through the process your users go through. This is a good idea to check quarterly and update as needed.
8. Run a Security Check
Malware is a massive threat to your business website. You may not even think you are a target for hackers, but this malicious software does not care who or what it invades. It can severely compromise your website’s security and reputation.
As a part of your WordPress maintenance, we recommend scanning for malware every 12 hours, especially if you are on an inexpensive shared hosting plan. Scanning will alert you to any issues. If malware is found, it should be cleaned and removed immediately. You can use a plugin like Sucuri’s Website Security Platform to automate that task for you.
9. Clean Up Your Media Library
We consider this a quarterly task depending on how frequently your content changes. If your site has been online for more than one year, you probably have images and PDFs no longer being used. If you don’t need them, you can delete them.
It’s also a good idea to check the image size. Large images can hinder load times and should be compressed using a tool like TinyPNG.
10. Monitor Your SEO
This is probably one of the most essential tasks to gain organic traffic for your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is maintaining and updating a site so that it complies with search engine algorithms. When keywords are typed into engines, the sites with the best SEO are placed first and are more likely to get traffic.
SEO is a huge task in itself that can fill multiple volumes. If it seems daunting, then don’t be afraid to hire a WordPress SEO expert to assist you.
Conducting WordPress Maintenance
Now that you know these WordPress maintenance techniques create a recurring event on your schedule to set aside time for these vital tasks. This will help you keep track of how and when you do maintenance. As a result, your website will have increased performance and remain secure.
Feeling overwhelmed? Contact our WordPress experts at Website HQ to maintain and secure your website for you. We can provide everything from security to improved design. We'll discuss your needs, and then transform your digital presence.