Many WordPress website owners may think they can build their site and leave it “as-is” without having to worry about touching it ever again.
Without maintenance, your site can become irrelevant, outdated, or drop in rankings. Regular WordPress 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.
These updates can help your website run faster and give you new functions when creating content.
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. This is an essential part of regular WordPress website maintenance.
When a new version of WordPress is released, usually, WordPress plugins will be updated by their authors to ensure that 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 its updates year after year.
Lastly, consider deleting any unnecessary plugins as these can potentially affect your website's loading time. Websites with slower loading times tend to be ranked lower in Google's search results.
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 it 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. While completing your regular WordPress maintenance tasks, take the time to search for any 404 errors that your website may be producing and have them fixed.
You can find them by using a 404 error check tool online such as W3C free check link free utility, or even Google Webmaster Tools.
Keep Your Content Updated
With website content, it is 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 checklist will ensure that you remain current and relevant.
Respond to Comments
Engage with your users and respond to comments. Providing value to them with quality content is the first step, but engaging with them and bringing them into the conversation starts that relationship.
Regularly BackUp Your Website
Backing up your website is one of the easiest WordPress maintenance tasks that can save you a whole lot of time, money and headaches.
Backing up your website allows you to simply roll back your website to a previous version should an issue arise.
Ideally, you want to backup your website every week or two weeks, especially if your website posts lots of updates or fresh content.
You can ask your hosting provider to set your site up on a backup schedule or you can back it up by using a WordPress plugin.
Either solution should allow you to set up a backup schedule so that you won’t have to remember each month or week to complete a backup of your website.
Check Your Website Analytics
Google Analytics should be installed on your website starting from the day your website is launched. If it is not, install it ASAP - Google Analytics.
Having the data to determine how your website's traffic is performing is critical to figuring out which efforts are working and which are not.
Spend time each month at the minimum to review your website’s traffic to determine if your strategy is on the right path.
While keeping up with your WordPress maintenance can feel like a cumbersome task, it is completely essential to the correct functionality of your website and it will also help with your search engine rankings and overall positive user experience.
When you take the steps to update, backup, secure, and optimize your WordPress website, you are able to avoid the stresses of dealing with data loss, security breaches, and falling rankings.
WordPress maintenance keeps your site updated, functional, and relevant so that it offers value to, both, new and old visitors.
Some digital marketing agencies even offer web development services to take care of your website maintenance for you!
So, if you are currently running a website on WordPress right now, give it a go and start running your essential maintenance tasks.