For your WordPress website to be a success, you’ll need to focus on more than just its content and design. Regular maintenance is also required, to keep your site secure and running smoothly. Over time, however, these maintenance tasks can start to accumulate and feel a bit overwhelming.
The good news is that there are a handful of simple tactics and tools you can use to make performing these critical WordPress maintenance tasks easier. You can even automate and delegate certain parts of the process, streamlining the work and lessening your burden.
In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of maintaining your WordPress site. Then, we’ll introduce the top five tasks you’ll want to tackle regularly. Let’s get started!
The Importance of Maintaining Your WordPress Site
WordPress is constantly evolving and introducing new updates. Staying on top of these upgrades is an important part of site maintenance. The longer you put off maintenance tasks like this, however, the faster they accumulate.
When a site isn’t well maintained, it can lead to:
- Slow loading times
- Broken elements on the site (such as links)
- Security threats
- Poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Proper maintenance is necessary to a secure, well-functioning website. Regularly tending to your WordPress maintenance makes keeping your site in tip-top shape more manageable.
5 Key Maintenance Tasks for Your WordPress Website
Once you understand the importance of WordPress maintenance, you’re ready to prioritize the most critical tasks. Here are five key elements of any strong WordPress maintenance plan.
1. Monitor Your Site’s Loading Times
If your site’s pages take more than a few seconds to load, it impacts the user experience, especially on mobile devices. According to Google, the majority of mobile site visitors will leave a page if it doesn’t load within three seconds.
Therefore, monitoring your site’s loading times can help minimize bounce rates. To test your site’s current performance, you can use a tool such as Pingdom:
Simply copy and paste your URL, select a country, and click on Start Test. Pingdom will produce a results page that looks something like this:
The results page gives your site a performance grade and tells you its loading time. It also provides specific suggestions for what you can do to improve page speeds.
Another method you can use to improve site speed is by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights:
Just as with Pingdom, you can enter your domain into the search bar to test its performance. However, PageSpeed Insights also estimates how many seconds each potential improvement would increase your performance by.
2. Update Your Plugins and Themes
Plugins and themes enhance and expand the functionality of your website. However, when they’re outdated, they can cause security issues that negatively affect site performance.
Part of proper WordPress maintenance is making sure your plugins and themes are updated whenever their developers release a new version. In addition to offering additional features and functionalities, this can also improve security.
One way to update plugins and themes is to do so manually. You can go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Installed Plugins. Then, select which plugins you want to update, and click on Update from the Bulk Actions drop-down menu:
The more plugins and themes you have, however, the more tedious and time-consuming this manual method becomes. To make it easier, you can consider using services such as 24×7 WP Support:
This service offers an all-in-one self-hosted WordPress package that covers many WordPress maintenance tasks for you, including managing plugin and theme updates. This frees you up to focus on other areas of your business.
3. Schedule Regular Backups
Backing up your site is another critical part of WordPress maintenance. In the event that your website crashes or gets hacked, it’s important to have an offsite backup to restore your files. Doing this will make the recovery process significantly smoother.
You can usually create backups manually in your web hosting account. However, a simpler and more practical method is to use a WordPress plugin to automate and schedule backups. One option is the very popular UpdraftPlus:
Once you install and activate this plugin in WordPress, you can locate it under Settings in your WordPress dashboard. By clicking on the third menu tab (Settings), you can choose a backup schedule for your files:
This also lets you choose a remote storage location. Once you select your preferred backup schedule and storage location, save your changes.
4. Optimize Your WordPress Database
The more you add content and make changes to your WordPress website, the bigger your database becomes. This can bog down your site. By cleaning and optimizing your database on occasion, you can improve site performance and free up storage space.
To optimize your WordPress database with ease, you can consider using a plugin such as WP-Optimize:
This plugin, which is built by the same team that created UpdraftPlus, is an effective tool for cleaning up your database and compressing images. Once you install and activate the plugin, you can visit its settings to select which database optimizations you want to run:
It’s recommended that you create a backup before optimizing your database. If you’re using UpdraftPlus, WP-Optimize has an option to do this just by checking the box next to Run all selected optimizations.
5. Find and Fix Any Broken Links
Broken links on your site can negatively impact the user experience. They can also hurt your search engine rankings. Therefore, it’s important to make checking and fixing broken links a WordPress maintenance priority.
However, doing this manually can be incredibly time-consuming. It’s much more efficient to use a tool such as Dead Link Checker:
This free solution lets you paste in your site’s URL, and scan either the entire site or a specific page for broken links. It then produces a report telling you how many URLs were checked and which, if any, aren’t working. Then, you can head over to your site to fix them one by one.
In order to effectively maintain your WordPress site, it’s imperative to stay on top of routine tasks. Otherwise, the security and performance of your site could become compromised.
To recap, here are five key WordPress maintenance tasks to prioritize:
- Monitor your site’s loading times.
- Update your themes and plugins.
- Schedule regular backups.
- Optimize your WordPress database.
- Find and fix any broken links.
Do you have any other questions about WordPress maintenance? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pexels.