WordPress Maintenance: 6-Step Monthly Checklist in 2021

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WordPress is the goliath of the Content Management System (CMS) industry.

Built for anyone who wants to make their voice heard in the digital world, WordPress is the number one website creation platform. Used by multinationals, governments, and startups alike, creating a general website or an ecommerce platform with WordPress is very easy.

But here’s the thing:

A WordPress website is like a piece of real estate. Though it’s not as easy to construct a house, but once you have it set up, you have to keep it maintained.

In this post, we’ll be discussing the six steps you can take to keep your WordPress website maintained and clean.

So, let’s begin.

1. Update Your WordPress Core and Extensions

To keep its software secure and in tune with modern practices, WordPress releases regular updates to its codebase.

But here’s the thing: these updates are only for WordPress. Plugin and theme developers have to adjust to the core WordPress updates.

All these updates are being released to ensure maximum security and safety of your WordPress site. The user, in turn, should also focus on keeping these plugins and themes updates to make it work in the most seamless manner as possible.

In the event you don’t update your WordPress core, plugins, and themes, you’re making your website perform poorly while also making it vulnerable to hackers.

Updating your WordPress is relatively easy. The platform has a built-in module for updating your WordPress core and regular updates. As far as the themes and plugins go, you can update them through visiting the plugins and themes section.

If you haven’t updated your plugins and themes, WordPress will give you a notification on the dashboard or sidebar indicating that you should.

In general, these updates are harmless, but sometimes, they can cause issues with your WordPress installation. For example, major WordPress updates can cause some functionalities of your site to stop working.

In such a situation, you should create a staging site, update the plugins and WordPress core over there, and then take your changes live.

Ideally, you should update the plugins and themes before you update the core of your WordPress site.

2. Remove Spam Comments and Junk Files  

When you start fresh, things seem very clean. Overtime, however, your WordPress site accumulates a lot of junk data. Such data can cause serious clutter on your website.

The junk can include unused data, post-revisions, spam content, and other files. These ultimately lead to performance issues on your website in the form of slow loading speeds.

Think of this maintaining your home. Unless you’re extremely lazy, a messy room can, overtime, become bothersome.

Check on your website once a month to see whether junk is being accumulated. If indeed it has, then you should definitely remove it.

Doing this keeps your site clean, and your performance high in the long run.

Another thing to mention is that you should keep your website cache cleared. The cleared junk can accumulate on the browser as well so be sure to keep it cleaned.

3. Optimize Page Load Speeds  

As we’ve already discussed, having too much data piling up on your website can negatively affect performance. One of those roadblocks is slow loading speeds.

There are users who keep adding new data to their WordPress files without optimizing their site. The end result is that their site takes forever to load.

This has negative implications not only for your customers, but to your search engine ranking as well. You see, Google prefers fast loading websites and gives precedence to websites whose load speeds are faster than those who don’t.

If you’ve not kept your site optimized, not only are you sacrificing your user base, but you’re also losing a major part of your search engine ranking.

Using sites like GTMetrix, Google PageSpeedInsights and others, you can analyze, and then fix the issues with your website. GTMetrix, in particular, is quite useful since it provides you useful tips on how you can keep your website perfectly optimized.

In addition to optimizing the front-end, you should also focus on optimizing the backend as well. You can use tools like Wp-Sweep to clean up and optimize your WordPress database.

If you’re adding links to your website, you need to see if they are redirecting to valid locations. Sometimes it can happen that the pages connected with the links are deleted, and thus are rendered invalid.

Broken links are a serious problem and can cause bounce rates to rise significantly.

To solve this issue, you can install a plugin called Broken Link Checker to see which links on your website are leading to 404 errors.       

5. Perform Manual Testing

One of the best ways to check problems within your WordPress is to perform a manual scan of your website.

We’re not saying technology and WordPress plugins don’t matter, but oftentimes, you can identify serious problems on your website.

Usually, manual testing is done for WordPress forms. It is used to check whether or not the forms are working on the site. Through this form of testing, you can test which forms are malfunctioning, and which ones are working properly.

But ideally you should check every aspect of your website manually as well. Make it a regular habit to manually analyze your website, identify pain points, and solutions to them.

6. Keep Your Content Maintained

Keeping your web content updated is an important activity. While it’s difficult to update content on a daily basis, it’s important to ensure that you publish content weekly or a few times a month.

This not only has SEO advantages, but also keeps your site active.

If you want to keep user revisiting your website, you should roll out content regularly. It allows you to keep in touch with your clients, get feedback, and improve your site operations quickly.

Ideally, you should make your content useful, engaging and informative. This keeps the audience to come back for more.

Nowadays, content is not just limited to blog articles. In fact, podcasts, blog posts, infographics, and others are all parts of content which you can use.

Conclusion

With these six steps in consideration, you will be able to keep your site maintained.

But while these tips are for general users, there are some websites that are rather complex in their functions. In that case, you should always consult a WordPress developer to make sure that all aspects of maintenance are carried out without many snags.

We hope you enjoyed reading.

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