With over 40% of all websites using WordPress, it’s no wonder that WordPress is considered one of the most powerful CMS platforms in the world.
WordPress has many benefits: it’s free and open source and has multiple plugins and themes, which can enormously enhance the website’s functionality. But still, even despite being easy to use, WordPress websites require constant monitoring and maintenance, like all other websites, to perform at their best.
If you’ve just launched your WordPress website and want to learn more about WordPress website maintenance, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to explore useful tips that will help your website perform smoothly without any issues.
Start with monitoring. When you regularly check your website’s performance, you can notice all the performance issues in time and solve them quickly without affecting your website performance or SEO.
Google Analytics can help you a lot in monitoring. It can show the overall website performance, how many clicks you get, your bounce rate, how long users stay on your website, and other important data. Moreover, you can receive regular emails from Google and be aware of any issues with your website.
You should also try Google Search Console. This tool is more for your SEO performance. It shows information about your keywords, how your website ranks for each of them, what are your most visited pages, etc. Search Console also sends emails regarding the performance of your website.
Besides these tools, there are also a lot of paid tools that can help you with monitoring your SEO and other aspects of your website.
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Create Backups of Your Website
Making regular backups is another important step for ensuring the good performance of your website. Besides that, backups are needed for security reasons. There may be server interruptions or other issues when your hosting company needs your backup data to retrieve your website.
Backups take little time or resources to create, but they can help you a lot during emergencies and prevent data loss by storing all the important data of your website.
Depending on how often you add new content, you need to decide how often you should make backups. If you don’t make frequent changes to your website and only update your blog or other pages once a week, then weekly backups are enough for your website.
But if you make changes daily, you need more frequent backups. Especially if your website is an eCommerce store, you will need frequent backups to ensure the security of all the customer and product data.
Choose the Right Hosting Services
Choosing the right hosting services is more important than it seems. It can have a big influence on the speed of your website. Besides, the quality of your hosting services can ensure that your website works correctly anywhere in the world.
Moreover, a high-quality hosting company will provide automated backups for your website. So you won’t have to worry about backups anymore.
No matter which CMS you use (or don’t use), security checks are necessary for proper website maintenance. When you don’t take enough care of your security updates and don’t make any changes in the content, you make your website vulnerable. Here you can learn more about WordPress vulnerabilities.
But don’t worry; you don’t have to do security checks manually. There are plenty of tools, like Sucuri, that can check your website’s plugins, themes, and other core updates and detect viruses and malware in them. Also, you can install security plugins that won’t let your website be attacked.
Regular security checks can prevent your website from phishing, getting hacked, or viruses. And even if some malware penetrates your website, you will know it in time and will be able to fix it without making it inconvenient for users to use your website.
Unfortunately, most of the attacks on WordPress websites happen because of weak passwords. So it’s mandatory to have a strong, reliable password. And most importantly, you need to update it from time to time.
Remember that your admin password needs to be long and random. Do not use names or cities, or any familiar words and phrases. The more random your password is, the harder it is for attackers to reveal it. Also, enable two-factor authentication, so you’ll always know whenever anyone tries to log in with your details.
Update Plugins and Themes
WordPress was initially created for building blogs. But over time, it became more versatile, and people started using it to create websites. That’s all thanks to multiple plugins and themes that can enormously extend the functionality of the WordPress website.
But with that comes the need to monitor these plugins and themes besides monitoring the CMS itself. When choosing plugins and themes, you need to make sure they are compatible with the other plugins and the version of your WordPress and update them regularly.
Outdated WordPress plugins and themes can affect the website’s security and proper functioning. Unlike other CMS platforms, WordPress doesn’t make automated updates. So, you need to take care of plugin and theme updates yourself.
Though WordPress notifies you when there is a new update, it’s not recommended to set up automated updates. It would be best if you decided first whether the update of WordPress CMS will affect your plugins and whether you’ll need to update all other plugins too.
Also, remember to delete any unused plugins or themes. They may take a lot of your storage and affect your website performance and speed. If something has become unnecessary, delete it.
Monitor WordPress Database
WordPress database includes all your website’s content, comments, users, settings and other data. And after some time, it becomes cluttered with a lot of unnecessary information. All this data can lower your website speed or make it more vulnerable to hackers. Outdated websites are the perfect victims for attackers.
Optimising your WordPress website database is an important step in improving your website performance. Audit your website, define the pages, plugins and themes you don’t need and delete them. Also, check drafts, duplicate content, and other content you may need to delete.
Remember to check the comment section of your blog, as there might be a lot of spam there. You can create a blacklist of words (they can also contain emails, phrases, names, or anything you need to mark as spam) in the comment section so that whenever a comment contains a word from there, it will be immediately deleted. Go to Settings → Discussion, and you’ll find the Comment Blacklist section.
Also, don’t forget to monitor user accounts to make sure your website is a safe and friendly place for users.
Besides deleting all the unnecessary data, you need to optimise your old data. You can do that by changing the wp-config.php file. Or, if you don’t want to deal with the code, you can install plugins like WP-Optimize or WP Clean Up that optimise and clean up your database.
And lastly, remember to optimise the images and videos on your website. Before posting new images or videos, check their size. It might not seem a big deal, but too many big-size images can slow down your website.
Optimise Website Speed
Next comes WordPress speed optimisation. You need to check your website speed regularly. It is a mandatory check in a WordPress website maintenance plan. There could be a lot of reasons why a website is slow, and if you don’t try to fix it, it will affect your SEO rankings.
Users won’t wait too long, not even two extra seconds, for your website to load, which will increase the bounce rate. And search engines will notice the high bounce rate and lower your rankings.
Update the Blog
Most websites have blog sections. Not only it helps to share engaging content with your audience, but it’s also beneficial for your SEO rankings. But, you need to regularly share new content and update the old posts to stay relevant to your audience.
When you add new articles regularly, sooner or later, your blog will become cluttered. Delete the irrelevant articles and refresh the outdated ones. It’s good to make yearly or semi-yearly updates to your blog section to keep the website’s content fresh.
It will not only declutter your website but also help you establish your reputation as a website that always offers fresh content.
Audit Your Website Pages
Your blog is not the only part of your website that needs content audits and updates. Other pages of your website need that too. Your product pages, services pages, landing pages, about us and contact pages all contain important information and need to be checked once in a while.
Although, they don’t need as many updates as your blog. You need to update these pages whenever some information has changed or when you need to improve your SEO.
And, of course, after mentioning SEO so much, we couldn’t miss it here. While SEO is not directly related to the healthy performance of your website, the right SEO strategy can help you be more successful as a business and as a website. Especially if you own an eCommerce business, your income highly depends on your website’s performance and SEO rankings.
SEO ensures that your website has more chances for a high ranking and increases organic traffic. All your efforts, like website updates and security checks, can only be useful if your target audience can easily find your website on SERPs.
There are many tools that can help you to enhance your SEO performance. First, of course, it’s Google Analytics that shows you information about your audience and how they interact with your website.
Finally, as part of your WordPress website maintenance package, you need to take care of 404 errors. There can be many reasons why these errors occur. Here are some of them:
- Users’ mistype of URL
- Broken links
- Plugins or themes not compatible with your website’s WordPress version
You don’t need to check all your website pages one by one to find out whether you have 404 errors. Google Search Console can help you here by identifying these errors and notifying you.
When you notice any of your pages face a 404 error, you can solve it by resetting permalinks. If that doesn’t help, you’ll need to use the .htaccess file or update not-compatible plugins and themes.
WordPress website maintenance is indeed a challenging task to do. These regular checks and updates require time and effort to be done correctly. But it can become quite easy with the right tools and plugins.
If it seems too overwhelming, you can outsource it to a WordPress website maintenance services agency or freelancer. Make sure to correctly estimate your time and efforts to make the right decision so that your WordPress website always performs at its best.
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WordPress is an open-source and free content management system (CMS) that allows anyone to create and build websites from scratch. It’s the most popular website builder with more than 40% of websites using WordPress.
WordPress website maintenance is the process of taking necessary actions to manage the WordPress website. It includes security and speed checks, software and plugin updates, website content updates, etc.
Website maintenance is important for ensuring the healthy performance of a website. Without proper maintenance, websites can become outdated and vulnerable to viruses and malware.