Managing your WordPress installation is an essential part of maintaining a website. With careful organization and checkups, you’ll find that keeping up with your site is not as tedious as you’d assume. Below we’ve compiled a comprehensive eight-step WordPress maintenance checklist on how to keep your site up-to-date. Furthermore, we have separated the checklist into two categories: weekly and monthly tasks to maintain your WordPress website.
The WordPress Maintenance Checklist
- Use the most current WordPress version
- Running backups
- Run a Malware Scan
- Test your pages
- Cleaning Old Plugins and Themes
- Test Site Speed
- Update Sensitive Information
1. Use The Most Current WordPress Version
Before you begin doing anything regarding your site, ensure that you’re on the current version of WordPress. This is because each new version usually fixes bugs, security risks and sometimes even introduces quality-of-life changes that could help maximize efficiency. If you’re unsure which version is the newest, you can find any and all information on the WordPress site.
2. Running Backups
Backups are perhaps the most important point in the checklist. Obviously, if you lose any data at any point, having a plan to restore that data becomes the number one priority. This process becomes much simpler if you are backing up your site daily, weekly, or monthly. If you haven’t started, we would recommend backing up your site every week, or before making any major updates to your site.
3. Run a Malware Scan
1. Check for broken links
Once a month, you should check for broken links on your website. Broken links are links to web pages that no longer exist and result in a poor user experience for your site visitors. It can also affect your SEO and how you rank in search engines.
There are two ways to test your pages for broken links. The first involves manually going through your site page by page, and making sure that every link is working. If you’re doing this monthly and working with a smaller site with just a handful of links, this method can be effective. However, larger sites will find that there are way too many links to check manually.
To combat this, small and big website owners should consider the second option; using a website scanner. If you’re using Google Webmaster, you should already be notified when Google detects any issues with your site, which includes broken links. For those who are not using Google Webmaster, there are plenty of other options out there. Plugins such as Broken Link Checker and Broken Link Manager will give you the ability to scan your site for broken links, and provide solutions to either replace, fix, or remove the link altogether.
2. Cleaning Old Plugins and Themes
As your website grows, you’ll find that older plugins and themes are just taking up space. Too many plugins can also slow down your website. We recommend taking a look at your existing plugins every couple of months to see which plugins are helping and which ones are distracting. By cleaning up the plugins that aren’t working for you, it allows you to shop for more efficient plugins.
3. Test Site Speed
No one likes using a slow website. It’s important to both you and your customers that your page takes no longer than a couple seconds to load, as customers tend to leave sites that take too long to load. Using websites like Pingdom and GTmetrix, you can determine how quickly your site loads from different locations around the world. After completing their analysis, they provide some tips on how to improve your site speed that you can implement.
Another way to increase your site speed load times is by optimizing your images. Images and videos are effective methods of presenting your products or services, but an excess amount may result in slower page load times. If you’re finding images are the cause of your slow loading time, consider using plugins such as SMUSH to compress your images.
4. Update Sensitive Information
This mostly pertains to things such as passwords, access to your site, and other additional security measures you’ve put in place. Make sure you’re changing your password on a regular basis to ensure they’re safe. When creating passwords, always include a capital letter and a number. If you want to be extra careful, you can also add a symbol. With that being said, make sure that the correct employees are given access to your site. For example, if an employee leaves, make sure you’re changing your passwords and taking away access to your site. This guarantees that your site is being cared for by those you trust.
Maintaining your WordPress installation is an essential task for any WordPress website owner. It allows you to provide a smooth experience for your website visitors while reducing the risk of being exploited. Be sure to add these tasks to your website maintenance rotation.
What tasks do you do on a weekly or monthly basis to ensure you keep your WordPress website running?