Routine WordPress Maintenance starts at the beginning.
WordPress is definitely a great option for any business owner who needs a clean mobile-friendly website quickly, but doesn’t have the time or budget to handcraft a website from head to toe. But, just because you can use a theme to setup a site quickly, or even have someone custom design one for you at a fraction of the cost of most custom built static sites, doesn’t mean it stops there. And, just because it may be easy and less expensive to create new content for your website over time, doesn’t mean there are not general routine maintenance items that will need to be addressed once the site is launched.
You are still responsible for routine WordPress maintenance tasks to keep your site secure and performing at its best.
Ignoring this aspect can end up costing you a lot more in the long run because it decreases the efficiency and security of your online platform; something that will most likely turn potential clients away.
So, without further ado, here are four maintenance tasks you should always perform:
First, make sure you have a backup of your website
This might not seem like a maintenance task, but it’s mandatory. Many assume their website developer or host is automatically taking this task on, but that’s not always the case. Without a proper backup, you can do all the WordPress maintenance you want, but it won’t help you achieve anything if your website suffers a breakdown that causes you to lose all your data.
So, we recommend you take the time to make a minimum of 2 to 3 backups a week or more, so you will not have anything to worry about. Just be sure to keep the backups both locally and in the cloud. And, make sure you are backing up all the files and not just the database. And if you’re counting on that hosting company to make backups, verify with them how often they’re backing up, the depth they’re backing up (many only back-up the database), and what measures they take to help you reinstall the latest backup.
Remember to back up your website every time you install a new theme, update CSS files in your theme, update your plugins, or update WordPress itself. There are plenty of plugins that can help you make a website backup, so you will have a lot of options to choose from.
Always update your WordPress core files
This is a mandatory procedure if you want your website to always be secure. Sure, it might cause some changes with other elements on the site, and take some time to update, but it will be worth it. WordPress is an open-source platform, and as such, it is more vulnerable to attacks if its not routinely maintained. So, if you don’t keep your WordPress core files up-to-date, you put your site at a higher risk of becoming corrupt, infused with malware, or getting hacked altogether, which means all of your company’s and your clients’ data become vulnerable. We recommend checking for WordPress cores updates at least weekly.
Keep the database clean
If you want a website that will run smooth and well, you have to keep the database clean of any “trash” and “spam” content. Additionally, WordPress actually auto saves content revisions every few seconds as you create new content on your site. These duplicated saved files are stored server-side in the database and are known as post revisions. Over time these post revisions can weigh down your database if they’re not cleared out.
Don’t forget that the database expands as you install more and more content, so be sure not to overlook this WordPress maintenance aspect. Make sure you’re optimizing the database, a minimum every 3 to 4 months. However, this does depend on the overall size of your database, so if you updated your site frequently then you’ll want to optimize and clean out your database more frequently. If you put off this task, your website will become susceptible to a decrease in performance over time.
Take time to update theme and plugin files
As an open-source product, it is not uncommon that code for your WordPress theme files and those third-party plugins you use to enhance the site design and functionality will need to be updated over time. If you put off these updates you run the risk of creating an incompatibility that will cause your site functionality to malfunction, or for the site to “break” altogether. It can also take longer to remedy any defects as a result. It is recommended that you check site theme and plugin updates at least weekly if not more.
BONUS Tip: Take the time to test for compatibility issues
If you want what’s best for your website, you need to make sure it works on all Internet browsers and mobile devices. Testing this might take some time and effort, but it will be worth it because you’ll no longer have to worry about this. Plus, ensuring there are no compatibility issues will really improve the way your clients see you. You should look at running a compatibility test before you launch, after you launch, and then again at least once a year as code in site design changes over time.
Taking the time to do some routine maintenance on your WordPress site periodically will actually increase your client base.
There is a number of other steps you can take to ensure your site is performing at its best and is staying clean and secure. If you’re interested in learning more than just the basic WordPress maintenance tips? Then you have to keep up-to-date with what we post since you will find plenty of information-rich articles that will provide you with the knowledge you need.
Don’t have time to maintain your site routinely yourself? Or want to take your website’s security to the next level to protect sensitive data?
Let Back2Basics help you out.
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