Are you running a WordPress website for your business? Do you know how crucial is it to maintain your website regularly?
If your answer is YES for the first question and NO for the second question then just stop thinking right now and bring your focus to this blog post as it will answer all your questions regarding website maintenance.
You should start thinking about maintaining your website on a regular basis otherwise it can break your website anytime and leave you scratching your head.
If you already know the importance of maintaining your website then stick with this article because in this article I will cover everything about WordPress website maintenance and provide you with an ultimate checklist of website maintenance.
After reading this blog post you will have a deep idea about website maintenance which you can easily implement on your website to keep it well maintained and up to date from today onwards.
So without taking further time let's get started.
What Is Website Maintenance?
Maintaining a website means keeping your website up to date, smooth, error-free, mistake-free, relevant, up and running all the time without any issues that can break your website and invite huge loss to your business.
Just like other things in our day to day life need regular care and maintenance, such as car, motorcycle, garden, home as well as ourselves, in the same way, a website needs regular care and maintenance.
Why Is Website Maintenance So Important?
Website maintenance is a very important set of activities that help you to save your website from future disasters even before it happens.
It helps keep your website healthy, bug-free and provides a good user experience to your customers whenever they land on your website.
If you have a well-maintained website it also helps you get noticed by search engines like Google and attract free website visitors if it's properly SEO optimized as well.
There are a number of benefits of keeping your website well maintained which I have already covered in my previous blog post thoroughly.
If you have not already read that article, then I must recommend you to click the hyperlink in this paragraph to read that detailed article about the importance and benefits of maintaining a website.
What Does Website Maintenance Include?
There are so many things involved in a website maintenance task which I am going to cover point by point just in the below sections.
I would suggest you get a pen and paper then take notes of whatever you feel like it's important for your website so that you can easily and quickly determine and make a plan to maintain your website step by step.
Complete Website Backup (Local & Cloud)
One thing I want to strongly recommend you to do is, must take all the database and file backups on the cloud as well as on your local computer just for safety purposes.
And I am telling this because if somehow your website broke and you also lost the backups which you had kept on the cloud or vice versa then you will still have the other option to recover your website as it is.
Thus never take this thing lightly and always keep an extra copy of the backup on your local computer for safety purposes so if any disaster knocks on your door then you would be prepared to punch on its face.
Backup The Website Files
There are mainly two types of backup you need to perform in order to keep your website safe, #1 files backup & #2 database backup which I will cover in the below section.
Thus in this section, I will share with you why backing up your website files is so important.
According to WordPress;
Everything that has anything to do with the look and feel of your site is in a file somewhere and needs to be backed up. Additionally, you must back up all of your files in your WordPress directory (including subdirectories) and your .htaccess file.
By default, the files in the directory called wp-content are your own user-generated content, such as edited themes, new plugins, and uploaded files. Pay particular attention to backing up this area, along with your wp-config.php, which contains your connection details. The remaining files are mostly the core files, which are supplied by the WordPress download zip file- WordPress
Thus it is highly recommended to backup your website files on a regular basis because suddenly if some disaster happens then only your backup can get your website back again.
Backup The Website Database
One thing to keep in mind regarding the database, which is that every post, comment and links on your website is directly goes to the website database container.
And this is the most important thing about any website and losing this database is the same as losing your entire website's contents.
That's why it's highly recommended to backup your website database backup on a regular basis and keep that in several places because if any disaster happens then it will be the savior in that situation as it has the ability to bring back your website contents as it was yesterday.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to keep your database backup in some safe place to sleep in a relaxed mode.
Update The WordPress Core
Although it's not the thing that you need to update on every month still whenever WordPress releases an update that needs to implement on your website as soon as possible.
And the reason is many behind this, like the new version of WordPress CMS will always bring new features and functionalities to your website and the second reason is that it will fix any bug or issues that were raised in the last version.
Therefore updating the WordPress core as soon as it's live on the floor, is a must-do task to keep your website safe and up to date.
Update The Installed WordPress Theme
If you're using a good theme for your website then you will receive regular updates every month or two months.
Whenever they release an update one thing to keep in mind that it will fix some issues within that theme and you might not be aware of those issues, also they will introduce some new features with that update.
Therefore, just like the WordPress core, your website theme should also be updated whenever you get an update notification.
Update The Installed WordPress Plugins
WordPress is an open-source platform and most of the time we test so many free plugins on our website to get more features and functionalities.
Although most of the time those plugins are safe at the time of download if you have downloaded the latest version of plugins from the WordPress repository or the other reputed websites.
But if you don't update the plugin as soon as there is a new update is available then it can create some big issues.
And if a plugin is abandoned for a very long time and the developer does not update it then that plugin should be replaced with some similar plugin or it can break your site in many ways.
For example, it could become incompatible with the other plugins codes or some hacker might inject malicious codes into the plugins like that which can be very harmful to your website.
Proper Website Cache Management
Caching is one of the best ways to improve your website performance and loading speed.
If you are facing the issue of slow loading website speed and people are leaving your website due to this issue then you should consider adding a caching functionality to your website.
Although there are many other factors like images, codes, hosting server, and many more that determines your website loading speed and performance still you could get a significant increase in speed when you use a caching solution to your website.
If you are using WordPress CMS for your website then there are some excellent free plugins available for caching in the WordPress repository such as WP Super Cache, WP Fastest Cache.
Also, there are some paid solutions available that have more advantages as compared to the free ones such as WP Rocket, WP Faster Cache Pro.
There are hundreds of cache plugins out there but I have only mentioned a few plugins because I trust and tested some of them and others have been successfully used by some of my clients.
If you want you can use one of them for your website and configure that yourself, but one thing to keep in mind that if you don't set up the cache plugin properly then it can be the cause of some issues.
Therefore learn more about the website caching implementation before doing it by yourself.
The last thing to say is that website caching is a very important part of website maintenance which should be taken care of on a regular basis for fast website performance.
Nowadays spam comments are at their peak, every third person is trying to get a backlink for their website thus they end up commenting on other websites with a bunch of links to their comments.
If you are a website owner then there is a high chance that these kinds of people are also commenting on your blog, and if you are allowing them to do this to your website then you should stop it right now.
Spam comments can hurt your brand reputation because if something not related to your brand but still people are sharing that kind of link to your comment section then it creates a bad user experience.
Thus, it's the most important thing to identify those spam comments and clean them up on a regular basis.
Find & Fix The Broken Links
When clicking a link on a webpage shows an error message it simply means that the link is broken.
And there are two main reasons behind the broken links, one, you might have added a link with misspelled, two, the page link you have added is not any more exists as it might have deleted by the website owner.
Having broken links on your website leaves a negative impact on SEO which can cause not ranking your web page and if your page is already ranking somewhere then this can be a reason for drop rankings.
Because if your website has broken links then it makes a bad user experience and Google's first priority is to provide the best user experience to their users.
So this is a very important part of website maintenance to find the broken links and replace them with the new working links.
You can find those broken links and fix yourself by using a plugin called Broken Link Checker.
Proper Security Set Up & Monitoring
Website security should be the topmost priority for you because if your website is not secure then whatever you do to improve your business strategies will be the waste of time and money.
Now you might be thinking that your website might not worth hacking but believe me hackers are ready to hack even a tiny website as it gives them server access to use it for their own purposes.
They can redirect your pages to some malicious and adult websites to make some money out of it using your web server for free and without getting into any trouble.
Also, they can steal your customer's data and misuse those data to spam them using your website or they also can steal the credit card details of your customers to misuse those.
Thus it is highly advised by many security experts to keep your website secure and not leaving any loopholes for bad people to enter into it.
To keep your website fully secured you have to perform so many things carefully because even a little unawareness can easily get your website hacked.
Even after securing your website with proper and must-do things still you need to keep monitoring your website security on a regular basis to make sure that it's safe and secured at the current moment.
If you want to perform security implementation yourself then click on the hyperlink in this paragraph or if you want some expert's help then you can contact us for security setup on your WordPress website.
Malware Scanning & Clean Up
I have already explained the details about website security in the above section and I can't emphasize enough how important it is to secure your website.
In this section, I am going to discuss Malware scanning and clean up which can happen only if your website is not secure or even if it's secure but somehow hackers found a back door to get into it.
To know if your website has the malware in it or not you need to perform a complete malware scan into your entire website on a regular interval, because even if you have implemented the website security setup still you should always check that if it is still secure or not.
Also, you can ask your hosting support team to scan your account and provide the malware list if there is any as they can provide very reliable data in this situation.
Some hosting companies will charge you some extra money for that and some hosting companies like Bluehost will do that very efficiently and for absolutely free.
After the scanning, if you find that there is some infected file or malware sitting on your website then you should make sure to clean that up immediately or it will spoil your business reputation and break your website forever.
Malware clean up is the most important part of security and website maintenance, one thing to keep in mind that malware clean up should always be performed by a security expert.
I won't recommend you to perform malware clean up yourself if you have less knowledge about it as you could potentially mess it up and break your site very easily.
Optimize All The Unoptimized Images
Images are one of the big reason which can slow down your website loading speed if it is not optimized properly.
Therefore, every time you upload images on your WordPress site, it's highly recommended to upload small sized and compressed images in the first place, and even if after that the images need to be optimized within your website.
There are many plugins free available in the WordPress repository such as WP Smush, Short Pixel, and many more to compress the images that already exist in your website gallery.
Also if you want this job done more efficiently then you must consider one of the paid solutions like Kraken and WP Smush Pro as it will make your website images super compressed without losing the quality which will make your site faster.
Website Performance & Speed Optimization
Website speed is one of the most important features of any successful website because the site of your website determines how people going to interact with your website.
If you have a slow loading website then people will bounce just after the first 3 sec of loading time because you also know that there are a lot of next options are available for them to select from.
Usually, if you have a website in which you are working on a regular basis and making changes as well as adding new contents every other day, then your website speed will be changing all the time.
Therefore if you really want to keep your website loading speed really fast all the time then you need to optimize for the speed by making some tweaks on your website on a regular basis.
Orphan Database Clean Up & Optimization
As you already know that every post, comments, and links directly goes to your website database.
Therefore many useless things like spam comments, transient, orphan metadata, and plugin database tables increase your website database size which affects your website performance as well as it will take more time to perform site database backups.
So what you can do is just remove those unnecessary useless databases and get rid of these problems.
On a running website, the site database will grow every time when something like contents or features will be added to your website thus you should optimize the database at regular intervals.
To accomplish the database optimization task yourself or to learn more about it please follow the hyperlink in this paragraph.
Web Hosting Server Uptime Monitoring
You may have super optimized website with great content and you have a decent amount of traffic on your site.
And just imagine somehow some of your blog posts get viral on social media and suddenly a lot of traffic came to your website. I think this would be the moment that every website owner waits for all the time.
But what if in this situation your website server is down and your site is taking a very long time to load or not even loading, and you have contacted your hosting support team but they are not able to solve your problem.
How frustrating it would just think about it or maybe you are already facing this issue because if this happens then you might lose the golden opportunity which you have got after a very long wait and hard work.
In this case scenario the first thing I would strongly suggest you change the hosting company as soon as you can which I have already covered in my other blog post about the website features.
Also if you ask me which host to choose for the better uptime and best support then I would recommend you Bluehost because it is the best one as per me as I have been using this for all of my sites for a long time without any problem.
Now let's come to the main point which was monitoring the site uptime 24/7,
to do this you would require to add some services to your site which would notify you whenever this thing happens so that you can take action and contact the hosting support in the initial stage when the problem arises.
You may find a blog post useful to get detailed information about uptime monitoring services to learn more please click the hyperlink in this paragraph.
Web Hosting Disk Space Monitoring
Every web hosting provides a certain amount of disk space to store website data and files on it, which you need to check and monitor regularly to know how much disk space your website is taking.
Usually, I prefer to go for a web hosting plan which has unlimited disk space plan, but this may not be fit for you according to your need as it will cost you a good amount of money.
Therefore if you want to invest less money then the web hosting company will provide a limited amount of web disk space which is absolutely fine for a new website initially.
The elements like HTML, Images and all these don't take huge disk space unless you have a huge website with a lot of pages and contents.
But still, you should always keep monitoring your website disk space so that you get to know when to upgrade your hosting plan to get more disk space as your site is growing day by day.
Every web hosting has different options to check the disk space but there are a few easy ways to check the hosting disk space which you can find by clicking the hyperlink in this paragraph.
Also, you can optimize your web disk space to reduce its size by using some useful tactics only if you think that it is not the right time to upgrade the hosting plan.
Remove Inactive & Unused Themes
Nowadays there are several beautiful themes are available to choose from while creating your website, and this is the reason we test many new themes initially just to check which one is best for us.
But one thing we forget after our website is ready and up and running is that we leave all the unused themes sitting on our website's server which can cause some issues for our sites.
The main problem of having unused themes on our website server is that it takes unnecessary hosting disk space and whenever we backup our sites it takes a longer time than normal.
Also, an old unused theme can cause vulnerability which potentially opens the loopholes for hackers to get into your website with the help of that backdoor.
Therefore always delete the old unused themes from your website server whenever performing website maintenance as it can be a lifesaver for you in the long run.
Delete or Replace Outdated & Unused Plugins
Just like the unused themes you should also delete all the unused plugins from your website server because it takes unnecessary space in your hosting server.
But in this case, you also should think about removing the old and abandoned plugins from your website as it can be an open invitation to hackers to get into your website.
Although the unused plugins do not slow down your site still whenever you try to backup your website it will take longer than usual.
And the main reason to remove the unused, as well as old plugin, is that it can be an easy target for the hackers to attack your website by injecting some malicious codes into your website using one of those plugins.
According to GoDaddy;
In 2011 an image resizing utility called TimThumb that was included in many themes was discovered to be vulnerable to attack. If you had a theme that used TimThumb, it was susceptible. Back then there was a massive amount of themes using this utility and all of these were vulnerable - GoDaddy
So never forget to delete a plugin because it could become a nightmare for you by getting your site hacked and spoiled.
Check & Fix Plugins Compatibility Issues
If you are using the WordPress CMS for your website then you might have added and constantly testing so many plugins to make your website perfect which is absolutely fine.
But in this scenario, there is one thing you should always keep in mind that always check plugins compatibility or it will potentially break your site.
So I would share with you two steps to prevent this compatibility issue right now;
Check Plugins Before Installing
One thing to always keep in mind that whenever installing any plugin to your WordPress site never forget to check if the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress or not.
If the plugin developer updates the plugin on a regular basis then it must be a compatible one and trustworthy as well, but if it was updated long back then it simply means now it's abandoned and not maintained by the owner.
Therefore, if you install this kind of plugin then it would be a big security risk as hackers might have injected malicious codes to the plugin to hack your site, also there is a high chance that it would not be compatible with the other plugins.
So always install a plugin to your website which is developed by a reputed brand and they have a good up and running business model behind the plugin, also it should have a decent amount of active installation and a good number of at least 4+ star ratings.
Monitor Plugins Regularly
You might have downloaded the plugin after checking every possible thing that I have mentioned in the above section still sometimes some of the plugins might get abandoned by the owners later on.
Therefore if you want to keep your website smooth and want it to run without any technical problems then it is highly recommended to monitor the installed plugins on a regular basis.
And if you find any plugin which is abandoned then must replace the abandoned plugins with similar good options to avoid security risks and compatibility issues.
Most of the time we upload many media files such as images and GIFs on our websites and some of them stay useless for a long time because either we delete some old pages or we upload an image that we do not use on any of the pages.
And these media files unnecessary stay and increase the website load and most of the time we are not even aware of this.
Therefore, if you don't want these unwanted images to affect your website performance then just clean them up as soon as you found them.
Cleaning up the unwanted media files is not that complicated task, thus if you want you can perform the media cleanup yourself.
Remove Inactive WordPress Administrator Users
Sometimes website owners might add some developers as an admin to fix issues on their website but after the job has been accomplished most of the time they forget to remove that developer from the admin profile.
Same things happen as well as with the old ex-partners or ex-employees, we just forget to remove them from the admin profile.
Although most of the time they wouldn't harm your website still your safety should be your first priority and anything can happen in this world.
Therefore, it's highly recommended to remove inactive admins immediately.
Therefore you should optimize these 3 things on a regular basis, especially if you create content and make changes to the old content every other day.
Although it seems like it's very simple to optimize and minify these pieces of stuff but believe me a simple mistake can break your website because every website has a different theme and set of plugins therefore it requires a lot of experimentation.
Replace Old Passwords with New Ones
Most of the time we set up website years back and forget about changing the password which is not safe and secure for any website.
Sometimes we share our website passwords with other people like our staff or a 3rd party developer and currently some of those staffs may be left our company and we have no more contact with that developer as well.
Although they might not harm your business still you should change the passwords of your website over the time period of every 6 months to keep it fully secured.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), mentioned by LastPass, there are a few situations when you should change your password.
- After a service discloses a security incident.
- There is evidence of unauthorized access to your account.
- There is evidence of malware or other compromises of your device.
- You shared access to an account with someone else and they no longer use the login.
- You logged in to the account on a shared or public computer (such as at a library or hotel).
- It’s been a year or more since you last changed the password, especially if you don’t have multi-factor authentication enabled.
In all these cases, updating your password is a smart precautionary step. A new password ensures that someone can’t abuse your account even if they have the old password.
Cleanup The Auto Draft Posts & Revisions
Whenever you work on a page before publishing, WordPress saves that page several times for you so that you don't lose any data while editing, and this thing works automatically and it is known as the auto draft.
Also after publishing a post whenever you make any changes on that page and hit the update button then that old version of the content stays in WordPress as a post revision.
Although these things are helpful still there is no use in keeping that months-old auto-draft and revisions on your WordPress database.
Therefore, those things need to be cleaned up regularly to keep your WordPress website smooth and lite over time.
Cleanup The Unnecessary Trashed Files
If you work on your website on a regular basis then there are high possibilities that you deleted some irrelevant posts, comments, and templates that are useless at some point.
But you might not be noticed that WordPress has a recycle been like feature called trash, therefore whenever you delete something from your website those directly go to the trash folder and capture a space over there.
Hence cleaning those trashes will keep your website lite and smooth.
Although they don't take a huge space still they're garbage and need to get cleaned up as soon as they're there.
Although I have covered all the 25 must-do things of website maintenance in this blog post as I promised to you still I am going to share with you some bonus website maintenance tips that are minor yet very useful and should not be ignored.
Whenever you perform complete website maintenance don't forget to check all the contact forms on your site by sending a text message using those forms and check your email id that is associated with that form.
In this way, you will get to know if the forms are properly working or not because sometimes it happens that your potential customers are sending you messages but somehow that does not reach out to you.
Therefore checking this on a regular basis will allow you to find and fix this little problem which can save you from losing a lot of business opportunities.
Bonus #2: Check If The Opt-in Forms Are Working or Not
Just like the contact form you should also check out your newsletter opt-in form that if it is properly working or not.
Because your audience may be subscribing to your newsletter using the opt-in forms on your site but somehow the forms are not working and you are losing the opportunity to increase your email list.
As you know that the email marketing is still the best marketing channel over there thus you should always monitor the opt-in forms to find and fix the issue if you find any.
According to expert's reports about email marketing;
- According to McKinsey, email marketing generates 40 times more revenue than Facebook and Twitter – combined!
- Email marketing can generate an ROI of 3800% and $38 for every $1 spent.
- In fact, you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email than from a tweet.
Therefore always keep monitoring your opt-in forms and never lose any opportunity to build email list for your own email marketing campaign.
Bonus #3: Check If The Download Links Are Working or Not
You might be selling an ebook or giving away some cheatsheet as a lead magnet to your audience but even after giving you the payment or their email address, they are not able to download the file as the link is broken.
In this case, you need to fix the issue immediately because this could frustrate your audience and shake their trust in your brand.
Therefore if you don't want to face this kind of issue that could hurt your business and brand reputation then must check the download links regularly and fix the issues right at the moment if you find any.
Bonus #4: Check If The Social Links Are Working or Not
You may have your social media profile's links somewhere to your website so that people can follow those links to follow you on their favorite social media.
But how would you feel when you get to know that the social media links are not working for the last 3 months thus whenever people are clicking on those links they found nothing but a 404 page.
Hence you must monitor your social media links at regular intervals just to assure that everything is working properly.
Bonus #5: Check If The Navigation Menus Are Working or Not
Although there is a very low chance that your site navigation menu might not work because this is the thing that you use frequently to navigate the other pages, still you should keep an eye on the navigation menu as well.
I am telling this because it's possible that somehow your navigation menu stops working due to some problem and your site users are facing problem to navigate other important pages of your site.
Thus, must check all your navigation menu links just to assure if everything is working properly or not.
So in this article, I have shared with you all the best practices to maintain your WordPress website but still, if you think there is something missing then I would request you to share that using the comment box below.
Also, if you have any questions or confusion regarding the WordPress website maintenance then feel free to ask that using the comment box.
And if you want to get your WordPress website maintained by us then you can check our service for the further detail just by clicking the hyperlink in this paragraph as we provide out of the box website maintenance services.
I hope that you like this article and found it helpful, if yes then consider sharing this with your friends and community through your favorite social media website.
Thank you so much for reading this article, I really appreciate your effort towards learning.