How to Maintain Your WordPress Website in 2017
Websites, much like any other business, require maintenance. Without it, your site can become irrelevant and outdated and drop in the rankings. Maintenance keeps your website fresh, secure, and functional for users and lets you remain competitive in the rankings.
Keep the WordPress Core Updated
To begin the list, one of the most important tasks you can do is make sure that your WordPress installation is up-to-date. By making sure that your WordPress website is using the latest release, you can be reassured that your website is taking advantage of any current enhancements that have been made to the WordPress core. In addition, many of these updates contain security updates that will enhance the security of your WordPress site.
Keep Your Plugins Updated
Along with keeping your WordPress core installation up-to-date, you will want to make sure your WordPress plugins are up-to-date. When a new version of WordPress is released, usually, WordPress plugins will be updated by their authors to ensure they are 100% compatible with the newly released version of WordPress. If you are using a premium plugin, you may need to renew your license on a yearly basis for that plugin specifically to receive all of it’s updates year after year.
Check for Dead Links
Here’s something that has happened to all of us, we click on a link thinking we will land on the page that will contain the information that we are seeking, and boom, a 404 error page comes up. This is annoying for both your users and search engines and can hurt your search engine rankings as a result. 404 errors are a result of a link that simply goes to a non-existent page. This can happen if the page existed in the past and then was deleted or if the link url was misspelled. Take time to search for any 404 errors that your website may be producing to have them fixed. You can find them by using a 404 error check tool online such as W3C Link Checker, or even Google Search Console.
Keep Your Content Updated
With website content, it's easy to set-and-forget it, however it is probably one of the most important aspects of your website. At the end of the day, users are on your website because of the content that you are providing them. Depending on your business model and goals, schedule time every week, every 2 weeks, or even once a month to add new articles, update current posts, or enhance the imagery on your website. Adding this to your WordPress maintenance tasks will ensure that you remain current and relevant.
Regularly Backup Your Site
Regularly creating backup versions of your site is essential to site maintenance, but it's easy to ignore, because you don't really notice the lack of a backup system until you need it. Having a recent backup of your site at all times, allows your site to avoid disaster when site-breaking errors are working against everything you've built. When it comes to backup systems, most are automated and only need the occasional test to ensure they're functioning correctly. Also, make sure to create backups in multiple locations, because the best backup plan is another backup plan.
Upgrading Your Site Security
Site Security, you're gonna want it. Maybe you think you're site is too small of a target to warrant any site security, but these days malware can simply crawl sites looking for chinks in the armor without any regard for the size or relevance of the site. Having a protected site, can help you avoid the risks and headaches that come with being hacked. There are plenty of plugin options and site scanners to keep your site safe, like Wordfence, or Sucuri.
The Take Away
Site Maintenance is often tedious, but well worth the time investment. When you take the steps to update, backup, secure, and optimize your site, you are able to avoid the stresses of dealing with data loss, security breaches, and falling rankings. Maintenance keeps your site updated, functional, and relevant so that it offers value to, both, new and old visitors.