Performing regular WordPress maintenance is essential to maintaining your website. Remembering to do that in the midst of all the other tasks you have to keep your clients and business happy is another story. Performing regular WordPress maintenance doesn’t need to be hard or time-consuming! You can automate much of your WordPress maintenance to keep your site up to date and keep the impact maintenance tasks have on your schedule to a minimum.
WordPress Maintenance 101
WordPress maintenance falls into 3 categories: Updates, Backups, and Quality Assurance. Updates are essential to your themes, plugins, and WordPress itself to stay up to date. Up to date plugins, themes, and WordPress files will help you keep your site running well and secure. Backups are essential to protect yourself should the worst happen. Problems happen whether it’s from hackers or server errors and having up to date backups will ensure you are never stuck with lost site files wondering how you are going to recover. Quality assurance is the last category, and one of the most important for your site visitors. Quality Assurance means that you are checking your site for errors and fixing any you find. You need to make sure everything works like it should and all your information (especially contact info) is correct.
WordPress has two main segments that make up your site: the files, that includes the images and styling that make up your site, and the database, which is where all of your settings, blog posts, and information reside. It’s important to back up both the database and the WordPress files. Failure to do so could leave you with missing posts should you not have your database backup, or all your posts but missing images if you don’t have your site files. Fixing those situations is time-consuming and frustrating, so avoid it by regularly backing up your entire site, files & database.
There is an easy way to do this, it’s through the free plugin Updraft Plus. This is my favorite plugin to easily backup and restores your website. You can set your own backup schedule, and determine where you want your backup files sent, and how many backups should be kept on hand. This means all you need to do is set up the plugin and let it work! No more having to remember to back up your site!
There is one other time that you should always backup your WordPress site, that is before any time you make changes to your site. That includes updating themes, plugins, and WordPress files! Before you update anything to make sure you run a backup, just in case!
WordPress updates are essential to your site. By keeping your themes, plugins, and WordPress core files up to date you are protecting your site from known vulnerabilities and adding new features. By default, WordPress has automatic site updates enabled. This gives you the most up to date minor updates. Larger updates, however, will require your action. Some hosts will run updates for you. If you installed your WordPress via Softaculous it will try to run all updates if the option is enabled for your site.
How can you tell if you have that enabled?
Go to your host’s cpanel and then got to your Softaculous installer. Then go to “Installations”. From here you can manually update your WordPress installations or enable that feature. Softaculous also has built-in backup abilities too. No plugin required! You can enable that ability here as well. If you enable backups from Softaculous or any other automatic backup service your host might offer you there’s no need for a backup plugin. (Of course, having two backup sources ensures you’ll always have a working backup should you need it.)
If you don’t have auto updates no problem! Updating is easy and all you have to go is from your Dashboard go to the WordPress updates page and click the update button the plugin or theme that requires an update. I like to update my site anytime I log in and see updates are waiting, but you can also do it once a week or month as suits your needs.
Ensuring your site is fully up to date and working will require you to visit your site and go through each page to make sure it’s working right, but there are plugins that can help you out! One of the most common issues sites have is broken links! This is not only harmful to your SEO but also an annoyance to your visitors. Instead of combing through your posts and pages searching for every single broken link you can use a plugin to do that for you!
I recommend the plugin Broken Link Checker. It’s simple & easy to use and will constantly scan your site looking for links that are no longer working. Once it finds a broken link it will alert you with a notification and give you the option to update it or remove the link. No coding needed!
WordPress maintenance doesn’t need to be time-consuming! By taking advantage of free plugins and services offered by your host you can make sure your WordPress site is up to date, backed up, and error-free with minimal impact on your valuable time. Still, don’t have time for that, or would you rather outsource that stress to a pro? I’ve got monthly retainer services and developer hours which can be used at any time to help you make sure your WordPress website gets the care and maintenance it needs to keep running well.