You’ve built a brand new WordPress website, and it seems like the hard work’s over and you can just sit back. Well, not quite. Now is the time for the one thing most WordPress users don’t do: maintenance.
Don’t fret. Keeping your website maintained is a pretty simple task. It requires only 15-30 minutes a month. Below, I’ve detailed the 7 most important parts of keeping your site maintained. Follow each of these and you’ll keep your site secure, protected, and performing at optimal levels.
1. Keep it up to date
From time to time, updates will be released for your themes, plugins, and WordPress core files. These updates include new features and security & bug fixes.
It’s important to keep your site up to date. If you don’t, your site is more likely to become infected with malware or crash during future updates.
Log in to your site at least twice a month and perform any needed updates.
2. Back it up
You never know what can happen to your site. I’ve seen instances where a user accidentally deleted their entire site.
It’s better to play it safe and keep your site backed up in a secure location separate from your server, and to run a backup regularly.
The easiest method for performing a backup is to use the paid plugin Vaultpress. Just install the plugin and Vaultpress will begin backing your site up to a secure server.
3. Make it secure
Sadly, we live in a world where hackers are constantly trying to break into websites, no matter how small the website is.
To keep hackers out, we need to secure our websites.
First, you should use a security plugin, like iThemes Security. With just a few clicks, it will harden and secure your website from attacks. Making it much more difficult for hackers to gain access.
Secondly, you should use a service to monitor your site, like Sucuri. It does two things: First, it scans your website regularly for any malware that may have gained access to your site. Secondly, if malware is found, you can request their team to go in and remove that malware.
With these two tools, I know all my sites are secure.
4. Know when your site goes offline
To make sure my site is online, I use an uptime monitoring service, like Pingdom. These site monitoring services constantly check to make sure your site is online. And if it finds that it has gone offline, it will notify you via email, text, or twitter.
This way, you’ll be the first to know if there is an issue so you can fix it fast.
5. Keep your database optimized
WordPress stores all of your website’s content in a database. This includes all of your posts, pages, settings, and more. As your site grows, so does your database. Along the way, it begins to get bloated, which can start to slow down your site’s performance.
To keep your database running at peak speeds, it needs to be optimized from time to time.
WP-Optimize is a free tool which makes database optimization easy. With the click of a button, it goes through your database and clears data that is no longer needed. For instance, it’ll remove old post revisions, old post drafts, and spam comments.
6. Know your load speed
A faster website is a better website. Users stay on your site longer, and your pages rank higher in search.
So you’ll want to know how fast your site is loading, and how you can improve it.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights provides a tool that will grade your site’s load time, and then provides tips to improve it.
7. Remove unnecessary plugins
When you have too many plugins installed, your site starts to slow down, it becomes harder to update your site, and you open yourself to security vulnerabilities.
Instead, you only want the plugins you absolutely need. Find the plugins you don’t need anymore and remove them.
As you can see, the 7 rules above aren’t complicated or time intensive. Yet most users still aren’t implementing them, which is why you hear about users whose sites get hacked frequently or have slow loading sites.
Keep your site maintained, and you will find yourself in a much better position.
Let me know if you have any maintenance tips in the comments below!
Brandon Yanofsky is a freelance WordPress developer and troubleshooter. He also shares WordPress tips, tricks, and tutorials at www.mywpexpert.com. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.