I will cut to the chase: launching a website is the tip of the iceberg. WordPress maintenance takes more time and resources than building does. Website maintenance is about improving the user experience. No one will stay on your site if you don’t ensure the perfect user experience. Therefore, you have to constantly tweak your site to delight your visitors.
You can hire a team to do WordPress maintenance, but you can do it yourself by carefully checking the following tips. Without any further ado, here are the steps to follow to properly take care of your site.
Regular Site Backups
You aren’t the only one who doesn’t care about performing site backups, but you should change your mind. Managing a site without making regular site backups is like driving a car without insurance. You may have driven the car for months without issues, but you never know when bad things will happen, and you’ll need insurance. The same is true for backups: you could run a site for years without a problem when suddenly, you need a backup copy. Instead of asking the hosting provider for the latest backup, you can revert to a previous state with a simple backup plugin.
Once you install, activate, and set up a backup plugin, you will have a reliable safety net for your site. No matter what happens, you can simply restore a previous version of your site, and everything will work fine.
Luckily, there are many backup plugins that satisfy countless users.
UpdraftPlus is the most well-known backup plugin with 3+ million active installs. You can use the free version for basic needs, but there is a premium version for webmasters who need extra features.
Less well-known than UpdraftPlus, BackWPup is a serious option for backing up your site. It has a free version that allows users to save copies in multiple locations, such as Dropbox, Microsoft Azure, SugarSync, RackSpaceCloud, or the site directory. The premium version packages more features, such as even more places to store backups and an encrypted backup archive for improved security.
Updating the WordPress core, your theme, and your plugins is a simple but important aspect of WordPress maintenance. It’s an elementary task that doesn’t take much time, but people overlook its importance.
Developers strive to make their products more powerful and more secure every day, and they constantly release new updates for their products. Some of these updates fix bugs or security breaches, which is vital for your site security. You get better products and enhanced security by updating your theme, plugins, and WordPress core.
WordPress added automatic theme and plugin updates, starting with version 5.5. Enable auto-updates for your theme and plugins to avoid wasting time.
Audit Plugins and Themes
It’s not enough to constantly update your theme and plugins. You have to check everything you’ve installed on your site and decide if you still need it.
Any theme and plugin you don’t use slows down your site. Nowadays, speed is everything. Besides that, every theme and plugin is another potential security breach. In this context, it doesn’t make sense to keep themes and plugins that aren’t useful anymore.
Audit the plugins and themes on your site and delete anything you don’t need.
Audit the Security
A more secure site doesn’t directly bring in more revenue. However, a secure site makes buyers trust you, and trust is more important than revenue in the long run. Strengthening your site security is a time-consuming job, and a site will never be 100% unbreakable. Still, there are a few measures that considerably complicate hackers’ work.
Start with reviewing each account and role. Delete unused accounts and limit privileges when possible. Fewer accounts and privileges make a site more secure.
Strong passwords are capital for site security, and website admins should force the users to periodically change their passwords. Complex passwords are golden against brute force attacks, so require every account to use complex passwords.
Would you buy something from a site that doesn’t have a valid SSL certificate (a site that doesn’t show a padlock icon in the address bar)? I don’t think so. Hence, getting an SSL certificate should be a top priority. Most hosting providers package free SSL certificates for their customers.
Site security is certainly a complex and challenging thing. Fortunately, many powerful plugins aim to make your site as impenetrable as possible. I hardly believe that there are webmasters out there who genuinely care about site security but don’t have a security plugin configured. We recommend the following plugins.
Wordfence is the leading WordPress security plugin. It comes with impressive and useful features, even with the free version. The built-in firewall protects the site from malicious traffic and limits the login attempts. The scanner checks the site’s files and the integrity of the WordPress core, theme, and plugins. You can block hackers by IP, hostname, user agent, and referrer.
Sucuri Security is a reliable solution for strengthening your site security at no cost. You’ll have to pay to benefit from a powerful firewall and other premium features, but you can get tons of useful features for free, such as:
- Active security audits
- Malware scans
- File integrity monitoring
- Post-hacking actions
Your site will never be perfect, but it shouldn’t disappoint you. Performance improvement isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it job. You need to constantly tweak the site code, publish new posts, rewrite content, offer a new service, install plugins, and so on. All these actions impact site performance.
Performance improvement refers to
- Reducing HTTP requests
- Optimizing images
- Caching content
- Minifying and combining files
- Cleaning up the database
- Prioritizing above-the-fold content
- Reducing the number of plugins and replacing them with lightweight alternatives
Improving a site takes a lot of work, but luckily, there are a few powerful plugins that help a lot in this respect. W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache, WP-Optimize, and Autoptimize are just a few free plugins that will boost your site’s performance.
Test All the Site’s Forms
The huge majority of articles related to WordPress maintenance skip this step, and that’s a huge mistake. Some of your potential clients will want to communicate with you through the site’s forms. A form malfunction is a missed opportunity, and it’s shameful for your brand. Hence, check your site’s form by sending yourself a message and seeing if it lands in your inbox.
Over to You
Running a site requires solid commitment and many hours spent making it better. It’s a never-ending process, but you don’t have any choice if you want to be competitive. Following the above steps will considerably grow your chances of running a successful site. However, the list isn’t exhaustive, so we are deeply interested in hearing your thoughts. Did we miss an important tip related to WordPress maintenance? Leave a comment with your idea, and we will update the post.