WordPress is one of the most used contentment management systems for websites as it’s open source (free to use), simple to install and has a variety of prebuilt templates and plugins. WordPress builds a strong foundation for anyone to start creating and publishing content to your own website quickly.
One aspect of WordPress overlooked is WordPress maintenance. Maintaining a website requires an understanding of server configuration, theme and plugin installation, and basic troubleshooting.
Most people do not have the time or skills to perform routine WordPress maintenance on their website, which can lead to security vulnerabilities, slow performance and impact Google search rankings. The good news is that you can hire help to take care of all your WordPress maintenance needs – If you need help to maintain your website, head over to our maintenance packages to view the WordPress Maintenance services we offer.
In this article we cover the key topics to keep your WordPress site maintained.
Not regularly backing up the files and data on your WordPress website is like not having a backup of all your photos from your computer or phone when it suddenly stops working. Would you take that risk? Of course not. But all too many WordPress website owners do, and they usually learn the risks the hard way.
Every website owner should have their website backed up in case a catastrophic event occurs and your website is not recoverable. Your website could be compromised if a hacker finds a security loophole in WordPress or they manage to obtain your login credentials.
Having a recent backup of your site will allow it to be restored to its previous state in the matter of minutes. It’s not the responsibility of your website designer or developer to keep copies of your website. This means you may need to outlay thousands of dollars to have your website rebuilt if you do not keep recent backups.
It’s recommended a frequent off-site (cloud) backup schedule should be undertaken. Generally monthly is the minimum for most static websites but websites which such as blogs, online stores or if customers subscribe to mailing lists should be backed up either weekly or daily.
A new version of WordPress is always a big deal and it’s important to update your website to the latest versions as soon as possible. The most prevalent reason to update WordPress is security. WordPress release security patches to close known security vulnerabilities which can be exploited by hackers, malicious code distributors and data thieves.
There are various other reasons to keep WordPress updated such as to access new features, improve speed and fix bugs.
Updating is easy right, you just click a button? The short answer is no. Updating WordPress is straight forward but if you have a theme or plugin that is not compatible with the new version of WordPress this can bring down your whole site – hope you have a backup!
Before performing any update, you should create a backup to ensure you can rollback if something unforeseeable occurs during the update process. When updating WordPress, it’s essential to ensure you check each plugin compatible with the new version of WordPress before you commence the update.
Plugin and Theme Updates
No doubt if you’re using WordPress you are taking advantage of the many thousands of free or paid plugins and themes to transform the look and behaviour of your website; but just like WordPress these need to be updated regularly.
The reason to update your plugins and themes are similar to WordPress updates to access new features, improve speed, fix bugs and security vulnerabilities.
Similarly, as mentioned above, before updating any plugins or themes you should first backup your website and check the version is compatible with your current WordPress version.
Most website owners believe maintenance is all about backups and updates. Yes, these do play a significant part in a maintenance plan but monitoring your website daily is just as important. The following aspects of your websites should be monitored.
Uptime – If your website is offline, it could have a negative impact on your business’s reputation. You might lose new or even returning customers. Monitoring your website’s uptime (through the use of automated tools) is required as it allows you to swiftly act and resolve an outage as soon as possible. In most cases you will need an expert to help troubleshoot the issue and restore your website.
Security – We’ve talked non-stop about security all through this post and yet again here it is ?. You should always have security monitoring for your website to detect malware in files. Detecting these vulnerabilities early allows these files to be removed or repaired which means less risk for your website being compromised by hackers.
Performance – Performance has a large impact on the usability of your site and also how your site ranks in Google search results. Regularly running performance benchmark scans on your website can provide an insight of how your website is performing, along with improvements required to keep it at its peak performance.
Broken Links – There is nothing worse than clicking on a link which shows a ‘page not found’ error. Scanning your website for broken links allows you to resolve these as soon as possible so they don’t have a negative impact on your website visitors. Broken links can also impact your ranking in Google search.
WordPress uses a database to store all of the necessary data so your website can function correctly. This data includes page and post revisions, comments and trashed items. Performing regular optimisations on your websites database to remove spam comments, trashed items, posts revisions and database overheads help keep your website running as smooth as possible.
As you look around you might find maintenance plans vary from company to company. It’s not uncommon for maintenance plans to include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rank tracking and Google analytics.
If you subscribe to a maintenance plan be sure that you are provided with a monthly report which outlines all the services carried out by the professional. These reports should include all updates that are made, along with any recommendations required to improve the overall health of your website.
It’s quite clear that every WordPress website should have a maintenance plan in place. WordPress maintenance is a critical function to ensure your website continues to operate as smoothly as possible and is backed up in case of a catastrophic event.
Maintaining a WordPress website requires many steps which are time consuming and too technical for most business owners, so for the small costs per month it’s best to outsource this work to a professional.
At Creative Web Tech we’re experienced with all kinds of WordPress maintenance! Take a further 15% off our already low maintenance packages until 30 June 2021 if you mention this blog post.