So you’re excited about the results of your WordPress site and traffic is coming in. Even though that’s great news, you still have to maintain your site just as you would with a home. Your WordPress site is home to your pages, blogs, and other channels. Expected circumstances happen that could slow your website down or even worse, make your site non-functional.
To keep your WordPress site in the best shape possible, all it takes is some simple, yet effective maintenance that even a single person could do! Here are commonly overlooked WordPress maintenance practices.
Update Your WordPress Version and Plugins
Even though WordPress automatically installs minor updates, there will be a version change typically every month. Make sure you pay attention to your WordPress notifications so you always have the latest version installed. They contain patches, glitch fixes, and performance enhancements. The latest version of WordPress ensures that your website is running smoothly and securely.
Additionally, you should keep an eye on your list of plugins. WordPress does a great job of managing your plugins so you know when to update them. Your plugins are constantly creating new versions that also increase performance and minimize bugs. Using old plugins may not be compatible with WordPress anymore which could cause site crashes and slower loading times. Also, the biggest cause of hacker attacks on WordPress sites are outdated plugins, followed by outdated themes and weak passwords.
Update Your WordPress Themes
Related to the above, it’s essential that you update your theme (or themes) on your WordPress site. It’s easy to skip over this. Most companies that offer themes will have automatic update notifications, and with just a couple of clicks, you can install the new version on your WordPress. But sometimes these emails get lost, or they don’t go out, and this means you’ll need to put this on your annual list of things to check with your website.
Also, when building a new theme, remember to buy from reputable developers with a good track record in the market. If you buy a theme from any developer, you run the risk of no longer having support and updates for that theme, which quickly becomes a security hassle.
Locate and Delete Spam
When you generate more traffic to your website, part of your maintenance duty will be monitoring spam. Spam comes in many forms including harmful comments, links, and promotions. They are misleading posts that fill up your website and try to get your site visitors to give away their personal information. Sometimes, spam posts simply direct visitors to their website instead which is awful for your website retention rate, which as result, decreases your conversation rate.
To combat spam, you can download security plugins such as Akismet or Titan. They identify spam comments and posts so you can sift through and effectively delete them. Make sure comments on your blogs require your approval before they are made public. Your site will have reduced malware and other malicious security threats that are detrimental to your WordPress site. If you want to know more details, check out this https://jetrails.com/blog/block-form-submission-spam/.
Restore Broken WordPress Links
How many times have you clicked on a link on a website just to find a dreaded 404 error page? Broken links on your website are damaging your site authority and SEO because it is disrupting the visitor journey through your content. Search engines such as Google index your site and boost your visibility when your site is healthy. Broken links should be addressed right away with site auditing tools.
Ahrefs has a plugin with a powerful auditing tool. It can automatically detect broken links so you don’t have to spend hours searching each blog post and clicking on each link. Auditing tools take around a half hour to complete but will provide you with a detailed report on your WordPress site. You can then update broken links with functioning ones or remove the link completely. Either way, it will boost your SEO and improve your user experience.
Improve WordPress Page Speeds
Page speed is how quickly your WordPress site loads your content including your design elements, theme, and text. The tricky part about page speed is that compatibility differs for each device. Your site might load optimally on a desktop browser, but could be suffering on a mobile device. Not to mention, any change to your website could either help or harm your site page speed. Whether it’s a new plugin, post, or media upload, it could affect your speed.
Every time you make a change or addition to your WordPress site, consider downloading a plugin such as GTMetrix that will measure your page speed. Not only is it a user-friendly tool, but it completes a speed test in a few minutes. A quick way to boost your page speed is to compress your images. Compression reduces the quality of your images to an optimal point where your speed will increase without negatively affecting visual aspects.
You can also maintain your page speed by reducing the number of redirects happening. Ask yourself, “does this redirect have a necessary purpose on my site?”. If it’s not that important, you should remove it before your page load speed drops off.
Backup Your WordPress Site
Always keep an updated version of your website saved in a drive somewhere. Backing up your WordPress site is your key to simply not losing everything. If something goes wrong on your website, you can always revert back to a previous backup before figuring out where the problem happened. Additionally, a site backup preserves your newest content including:
- Media (photos & videos)
- Internal links
- Podcasts and audio files
While a good web host will create frequent off-server backups of your files and databases, if you’re using version control software like Git, you’ll also retain the ability to push and roll back your codebase whenever you need to. This can be more efficient than decompressing and restoring backups. Popular services for managing a Git repository include Github, GitLab, and BitBucket.
There are also WordPress plugins that offer specific backup features. These include popular solutions like Jetpack and BackWPup, which are great for saving copies of your site on a customized schedule. When you need to restore a backup, you can simply pick a date and restore your site. Your theme, settings, and plugins will still be in place.
A Quality Host Means A Faster WordPress Website
The quality of your web hosting is dependent on the quality and maintenance of the server, the network, and the server software that’s being used.
First and foremost is server technologies and resources: Make sure your server has fast SSD drives along with enough RAM and CPUs to keep your website consistently fast during peak traffic events.
It is also important that your hosting includes a content delivery network (CDN) that has servers in several locations- especially close to you and your customers.
Virtual private servers or dedicated servers are better than the overcrowded shared hosting servers that many businesses start with.
Some examples of configurations you’ll want to make sure your host supports: Nginx instead of Apache as the web server, HTTP2 instead of HTTP, and a high-quality Content Delivery Network (CDN) and DNS management solution.
A fully managed WordPress hosting provider will also offer valuable services, like malware scanning, to help ensure that your website remains safe and secure.
Your WordPress Site Maintenance is Mandatory
As you grow your website into an informative powerhouse with high traffic, you shouldn’t forget about maintenance. Maintenance is constantly overlooked on WordPress because making the site of your dreams a challenge alone! However, that’s not the end of the journey. Maintaining your site with the best practices will keep your site healthy so that your visibility on search engines remains high. If you’re the only one maintaining your site, remember that plugins and tools are your friends. With a few clicks and automations, your website will be clean, quick, and secure.