Having a website used to be simpler. You could construct a page using the most basic of HTML and CSS then leave it alone. There was no worrying about regular maintenance. Security and load speeds were alien concepts.
But we have come extremely far from those webpages of the 90s and early 2000s. Now, building and maintaining a website as become much more complex. Even your WordPress site needs to be regularly kept up to date. WordPress (WP) site maintenance is necessary, so let’s learn how to do it the correct way.
Back It Up
Your website, I mean. If something goes amuck, your WordPress website can be affected. Sometimes it only gets slightly broken and can be fixed in minutes. Other times, the code becomes irreparable or vanishes from the internet. What do you do then?
Well, if you backup your website, there’s no reason to fret. You can just restore it to a previous version. WordPress offers many plugins and options to help you with backing up your website. While you may be thinking keeping a backed up version has nothing to do with keeping your website up-to-date, just keep in mind that most problems happen during maintenance and updates.
Always Have the Latest Version
This also includes updating the core, theme, and plugins. WP is also integrating or improving upon some new feature. Bugs get fixed. New ones are made. Old security holes are plugged, and more open somewhere else. It’s an ongoing process. Therefore, you need to stay constant with the core of your website, i.e. the program files that make the website work like it should.
Next, since every WP site needs a theme, be sure to upgrade that or use the latest versions too. This will keep plugins, widgets, and other elements working properly.
Thirdly, don’t forget your plugins. Just because you can download it then with one-click switch it on, it doesn’t mean that you can set it and leave it alone forever. Plugins add to the overall functionality of your WordPress. Imagine if several become outdated. You are doing your site a disservice.
Examine the Frontend
This part should be done at least be done three times a month, weekly. Examining the frontend reminds you of one thing many tend to forget: your website is not purely for your personal enjoyment (unless you really do have your WP set to private). A monetized blog that doesn’t focus on UX isn’t going to get you anywhere. Put yourself in the users’ shoes to see what things are broken, if it loads well on mobile devices, and if all those widgets in the sidebar are really worthwhile or not. Choose only the things that are going to aid in the user experience. Delete anything that is superfluous.
Optimize the Database
WordPress is a website content management system that relies on a database. In layman’s terms, your site and all the stuff in it (blogs, pages, multimedia) are stored in a virtual crawlspace, and it can easily begin to hoard junk files if you don’t regularly clean it out. Some examples of junk include the following:
- Revisions. You know all those times you hit “save draft,” “publish,” or “update”? Each time, a new revision is saved in your database. That’s a lot of junk files.
- Deleted posts.
- Unapproved or spam comments. You need to delete these as soon as they happen. They’ll drag your site down.
- Unused categories or tags. We’ve all seen websites with several categories that have been misspelled or repeat another a go unused. Again, these will hamper your site. Get rid of them.
Keep your WordPress site up to date can be intimidating, especially if you don’t consider yourself an internet wizard. Fortunately, WordPress is chock full of plugins and other features to help you automate the maintenance process. Keep content new, and always be on the lookout for issues with user experience, load speed, and data. Making sure everything is updated means you stay relevant and will continue to bring in more visitors.