Anyone who has ever built or managed a website will be familiar with the name WordPress. Until today, the content management system remains one of the top ways to run a dot com. The latest numbers show that WordPress now powers 38.8% of websites all over the world.
As powerful as WordPress can be, it still needs the attention and care necessary to keep a website fully optimized and ready to receive viewers and turn them into client customers. As simple as that may sound, most brands lack a WordPress maintenance checklist to help keep their websites functional and ready for use.
Here are 8 crucial WordPress maintenance tips and tasks that every website owner or manager should perform regularly:
1. Update all WordPress files
One task that should be part of any WordPress maintenance schedule is to update all WordPress files, including plugins, themes, and the WordPress core itself. Failing to update these files can cause the website to stop functioning or cause problems to its performance and security.
Regularly log in to your WordPress accounts and review all installed plugins and themes to ensure they are all on the latest version. If they aren’t, go ahead and deactivate your plugins and update them. As soon as they’re done, you can activate them again. When updating WordPress core files and themes, there’s no need to deactivate anything.
2. Audit your website’s pages
A website’s web pages provide visitors with all the company and organization information they need. So it’s important to keep all contents on pages updated, such as contact details, bio, awards, products, services, and other information. Building websites can factor into the more significant website maintenance costs. Still, it becomes completely worth it, especially when you don’t want to confuse people about old information that might be lying around on your website.
When auditing your website’s pages, also account for the loading time for each page. Studies show that almost 50% of users will leave a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Try lessening images and remove any unnecessary heavy media like videos or audio files that can slow down website loading speeds.
3. Create a complete backup of the site
Losing data or having your site crash isn’t something that happens all the time, but it can be a massive headache when it does. To have a plan B for such scenarios, keeping website backups is one of your most essential WordPress maintenance tasks. You can use a WordPress plugin to perform a backup. Some of the most common tools include UpdraftPlus, VaultPress, BackupBuddy, BlogVault, and many others.
4. Check all the links
Link building is an important search engine optimization activity that gets your website better search results on Google and other search services. Ninety-two percent of marketers believe that link building will remain a necessary part of marketing for the next five years.
This means that checking links for 404 errors and malicious redirects is an important task for marketers and website managers. Links on your website pages are the absolute priority, with links on your blogs being the next. There are also a variety of WordPress plugins available to check for broken links automatically. A few good examples will include plugins like Broken Link Checker and Link Checker.
5. Optimize your images
One of the factors that affect a website’s speed most is the use of images. Graphics in JPEG or PNG format can take up considerable space. So website owners must optimize a website by regularly optimizing images by compressing their file sizes. Most WordPress website users will use a plugin called Smush.it.
Aside from optimizing your images’ file sizes, another activity that helps with website performance, especially on the SEO side of things, is filling up alt tags with important keywords. When running SEO campaigns on your site, checking your website media’s alt tags and descriptions can make all the difference if you want to apply great white hat SEO techniques to your website.
6. Update passwords and security
Website security is another important factor to having a highly successful and optimized website. Scammers, spammers, and bots are always scouring the internet for websites and accounts with poor security functions. Keeping your security up to date on your site will be the deciding factor in keeping your site free from any malicious activity or takeovers.
One of the simplest ways to beef up your WordPress maintenance plans with the right security protocols is to perform regular password changes to your WordPress backend dashboard, hosting and domain providers, and any other third-party apps connected to the website, such as e-commerce tools or webpage builders.
Using a password storing service like LastPass helps as well, allowing managers to keep track of passwords. When creating passwords, make sure to avoid using easy to crack passwords. Using number and text combinations and adding special characters in your passwords helps keep your website extra secure as well.
7. Moderate Comments
Engagement is often the name of the game when building sites, especially those driven by blogs. Getting comments can bring a lot of joy to a company, but the reality is that not all comments are good news. Many times, comments can come in the form of bots or spam that can actually be harmful to a website and a company brand.
Taking time to moderate comments and carefully filter and weed out the spammy ones and approve the genuine ones can do a lot of good to your website. It also allows for great community building, which can help increase visitor frequency rates as well. Turn to comment to manual approval as much as possible to avoid any spammy comments from pushing through and manually screen each one.
8. Check forms and emails
The most frequent call to action to any website is to get visitors to either subscribe to an email newsletter or send a message via a contact form to inquire about a company’s products or services. So it can be a problem when website owners don’t check integrations on a WordPress website to an email management system or contact forms on the site.
When emails don’t send, we could be leaving money on the table by not communicating with leads and clients via email. Using an SMTP service helps avoid email disconnections. But even with an SMTP, it should be common practice for website managers and content creators to manually test out all opt-in forms and contact forms on a website as often as possible.
9. Publish Content Regularly
Apart from all the technical details, content is an important aspect to any business. Make sure you post regular and relevant content on your website.
If you manage content on multiple WordPress Websites, you can use a tool like Contenteum to take care of regular content updates and streamlining your content production pipeline.
Building and Maintaining WordPress Websites for Optimal Performance
Building a website for your company or brand adds a lot of benefits to your company. But an outdated or faulty website could actually do more harm than good. One of the best aspects of WordPress as a CMS is that it allows constant updating with very little work. When learning about how to use and maintain websites, it’s good to be aware of as many of the features and details as possible. CompareCamp offers tips about website builder software that you can check out.
For better website performance, stewardship and maintenance are key. When websites stay updated and up to shape, they can do amazing things for your company, including increasing awareness, building your brand, and even bringing more customers.