Crucial WordPress Maintenance Tasks you need to Perform On a Regular Basis
Do you want your WordPress site to perform well? Of course, you do! But do you make sure you perform All WordPress maintenance tasks on a regular basis? Most probably not.
Unfortunately, many site owners do perform these crucial tasks when they first start a blog or a Business website and eventually forget about it later on as they get busy or their business grows. But you really mustn’t do that. Starting a website is only the beginning of ongoing tasks of managing your site and keeping it up-to-date, significant and protected.
That being said, let’s look at the things you need to do to manage your site effectively and ensure its smooth running.
Keep your WordPress Site Backed up
The one thing that’s going to help you avoid some major stress in cases where restoring your site to a previous working version is the only feasible option left, is to have a backup file of your WordPress site. This is advisable for cases when someone hacks into your site or even when you are not able to identify/correct the errors causing any harm. To help you with this, many useful WordPress backup plugins like BackupBuddy, UpdraftPlus, BackWPUp etc. even have the option of scheduling these backups at regular intervals. You can then even store these files at a remote location of your choice for example, Amazon, Google Drive, Dropbox etc.
Verify and Update all WordPress files and Plugins
Running on the latest version of WordPress will ensure that your site is secure from latest security threats. All WordPress updates can take place automatically with a click of a button, but significant and safe updates do require some extra work and testing beforehand. You need to make sure that the new updates do not conflict with each other and everything works correctly on the front-end and backend as well. To ensure this, A good Practice followed and recommended is to use a virtual development server like Server-press. In addition to this, To quickly resolve and know the cause of a conflict, If at all it arises, You need to run your updates one-by-one rather than upgrading everything at once.
Fix 404 errors and Broken links
Excessive errors on your site can be frustrating to your visitors and can adversely affect the bounce rate of your site. There are numerous WordPress plugins available that can be used to scan your site for broken links, but this, in fact, is the one case where we recommend you not to use a plugin. The reason being that broken link checking plugins are huge resource hogs that slow down your website and use up all your hosting resources (especially if you use a shared hosting plan). Thus, in this case, using an external tool like Dead Link Checker to scan your site is recommended.
To fix broken links, you can either Update the link to a new source, update the URL to the archived version of the page or remove the link altogether if you don't want them at all. In case of deleting the links/pages entirely, You should keep in mind to use the Google Removal tool offered by Google webmaster. Doing this will ensure that the link does not appear on Google search console and there are no 404-errors whatsoever.
Controlling the comments on your site consists of these three simple tasks that you can perform on a daily basis:
- Responding to comments
- Approving pending comments
- Marking Spam comments
Apart from being common courtesy, responding to comments is also a great way to increase engagements on your site. Whereas, ignoring or not answering questions and leaving spam comments on your posts leaves a bad impression to the users. It may seem to them that either you’re not listening to your audience or you’ve abandoned your blog altogether. It’s wiser to disable comments completely than to ignore them.
Optimize your Database
Database optimization is an essential task that often gets forgotten. All the information required to create and manage your site is stored in a MySQL database, which needs some maintenance from time to time. In due course, the database can end up holding onto a lot of information that’s no longer needed, which leads to slowing down your site.You can use any good database cleaning and optimization plugins like WP-Optimize, WP-DB Manager, WP Clean Up etc. to speed up your Website.
To use WP Optimize just install and activate the plugin, and then click on the new WP dashboard menu option “WP-Optimize” at the bottom. You can use the default settings and click the big blue “Process” button to proceed and optimize your database. Remember to ensure that you have your database backed up in advance, just in case!
Check and optimize your site’s speed
Apart from being great for user experience, faster websites also improve their performance on search engines. This is reasoning enough for you to undertake a thorough performance review of your site regularly. Many users forget about optimizing their WordPress performance after they first do it during the conception of their site. You should run speed tests on your website regularly to check how fast it loads and to find out where you can make improvements to speed up your website. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix and Pingdom can be used to run these speed tests.
Enhancing Your Website security
You may have worked hard creating the best website for yourself. But if you don’t take security seriously, then all your work will go downhill. If you observe that your site is slowing down or its rankings are lowering, then you should check your site for irregularities and confirm that it is not hacked.
There are certain security measures that you can carry out regularly, such as improving your login information, being vigilant about plugin and theme usage, limiting login attempts, employing two-step authentication, etc. Additionally, You should use tools and plugins like Sucuri SiteCheck & Malware Protection, WordFence, iThemes Security etc. that enable you to run regular security checkups to fix potential problems before they get big and pose a threat to your website.
Performing a thorough Content and SEO Audit
Making sure people easily find your website in search engine results require a lot of proactive work & A/B testing. Your site should be built in such a way that it ultimately generates queries, leads and potential customers. Thus it is recommended for you to regularly Audit, update and optimize your content and SEO settings for better quality traffic/audience. A few basic tasks to consider would be to add internal/external links, checking/updating old posts and pages with their metadata, creating more user engagements like different types of opt-in forms sliders etc. and understanding crucial insights from Google Analytics and search console