Maintenance is the wheel of life. It circles almost everything you see around us. It starts from our body to household items to computer components and finally software. WordPress, for example, is a prime example of a software platform that requires constant maintenance and upgrade. The update is required to ensure that old bugs get squashed, and new features are introduced into it. The regular upgrade is a must from the viewpoint of securing the platform from any exploits.
If you decide not to maintain your WordPress website, you are in for a surprise. It won’t be as fast and reliable like your first install, and it will become sluggish as more days pass by. If you are unlucky, you website can go down due to some technical error or worse hacked.
To ensure that none of these happens, it is a good idea to keep your maintenance wheel flowing towards the right direction. To help you maintain your WordPress website, we will go through five of the common maintenance tasks for WordPress. These tasks are very easy to do and will keep your site super fast and reliable for the whole period of operation. Just remember to do them from time to time.
#1. Backing Up Your Website
Backing up your website falls under the category of Maintenance tasks. The biggest mistake that WordPress website owner makes is not to backup their website on a regular interval.
If you are using an excellent hosting service and a corresponding plan, you will not have to worry about backing up your website as the hosting service make a backup of your site from time to time. Managed WordPress hosting, for example, makes sure that your site is backed up. Good examples would be SiteGround.
Not sure if your hosting provides backup? Just contact their customer support and you will know. Also, it is a good idea to backup your website manually using backup plugins such as MyWPBackup or BackWPup Free.
SEE ALSO: 8 WordPress Plugins For Backup & Restore
Keeping your website backed up will ensure that you will not lose any of your site data and also ensure that the fundamental requirement of maintenance is completed.
#2. Keep Everything Updated
With so many lines of codes running together to provide you an amazing software, it is obvious that they need to be updated for any bug fixes and features upgrades.
WordPress ecosystem resides on three core aspects. The theme, plugin and the core. To make WordPress function smoothly, they need to be regularly updated. The regular updates will not only ensure new features but will also add security to the highest level. It is easy for hackers to hack your website if your site is not patched for known vulnerabilities and other hacking routines.
a). Updating WordPress Core
The first thing you need to update is the WordPress core. WordPress is maintained by a small team and hundreds of open source developers who are keen to improve WordPress. For example, the latest version 4.5 improves some key features of user experience, but also fixes some vulnerabilities.
The core releases don’t have any vulnerability patches, but if you see a small update patch, it consists of bug fixes that are potentially dangerous to leave out unfixed. So, without any delay, update your WordPress core.
b). The Plugin and Themes Files
With core files updates, now comes the time for the plugin and theme files. In comparison to themes files, plugin files are frequently updated by their development team to match up with the core WordPress. In the process, they squash some bugs, improve some features and make it ready for the next level.
For protecting your website from any security holes and make it more stable, it is a good idea to update plugin files. The same applies to the theme files. In short, update your theme and plugins whenever a new update is available.
#3. Getting Rid of Unused Themes and Plugins
Once upon a time, I had almost 14 unused plugins and few themes resting in my WordPress installation. The website was slow, and I was not able to figure out where the problem was? Leaving behind unused themes and plugins is very common, and almost every one of us has done it in one way or another.
The unused plugins and themes just don’t provide any purpose. If you are keen on keeping a plugin or theme, just ask yourself if it is necessary to do so. If the answer is Yes, keep it. Otherwise, trash it. Keeping them can cause issues, ranging from conflicts to vulnerabilities that can be exploited to hack into your website.
#4. Clean Database Regularly
Website database is like the kidney. Sometimes it requires detoxification to work properly. Any website database stores information, both temporary and permanent. The database also holds other information such as drafts, post revisions, SQL queries for faster processing, etc.
In early days, it might not cause any issues, but with increasing number of queries and database operation, the overhead can slow down the website and cause issues during normal operation.
To solve the issues, you need to clean up the database from spam comments, post revisions and table overhead. To make sure that your database stays at an optimal level, try to clean up every four weeks.
You can utilize WPOptimize for cleaning up your database and optimizing it for better performance. The plugin is very easy to use, and few clicks will do the trick.
#5. Keep The Website Free From Errors
With time, any website creeps with errors including internal link structure, 404 pages, crawl errors, etc. Visually, the issues won’t have any impact on the performance of the website.
One of my personal sites saw a decline in Google searches when it found some crawl errors including “nofollow” on internal links. A quick fix from the plugin side ensured that the organic search followed in from the very next day.
Google love a clean, structured website for their search result. Any error will leave your site to others, and that’s not great regarding competition.
a). Using Google Search Console
To find errors, you can use Google Search console. Google Search Console have a dedicated section for error handling and is very helpful. Just go to Crawl and then to Crawl Errors to find out the error. Fixing the error will bring your website to optimal health.
b). Using 3rd Party SEO tools
Another way of getting your website up to the Google standards is to utilize 3rd party SEO tools.
SemRush is a great tool for anyone. It let you use the full software features for first few days as a trial. You can do a complete website audit and check if everything is working fine. Once the trail is over, SemRush sends regular reports on your website to your email address offering an overview of site health.
For a website owner without technical knowledge, it may sound right not to do website maintenance after it is built. But, ignoring the fact that you don’t have to maintain your website is not a great sign. Maintenance is a must for any website out there, and if your site happens to be business related, the importance of support increases tenfold.
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