A Beginner’s Guide to Essential WordPress Maintenance
Your blog is dragging when someone tries to load it. Your site is losing ground fast on major search engines. You are starting to worry about hackers and strange comments and other issues on your site you built using WordPress.
When is the last time you did any site maintenance?
Doing this regularly will help keep your site fresh and running just the way you need it to in order to generate good traffic and stay near the top on those search engines. Maintenance sounds like a daunting chore but in reality it is a task that takes only a little bit of time and save you many potential and much more time consuming issues down the road.
Choose the Right Host, and Backup Regularly
The first step you should take when getting ready to run a series of maintenance tasks is to back up your site. Should any problems arise during the maintenance process you will have the files necessary to restore everything to good working order. There are many plug-ins available that will automatically back your site up by sending files to a specified location.
It is also a good idea to back the site up to an external source such as a hard drive or a large flash drive. Some web hosts automatically back up websites for their clients. You should check to see if this is a service that you are being offered and take full advantage of it if you can. However, it is recommended that you still do your own backup before maintenance as it is best to have two sources for rebooting the site, “just in case.”
With backups completed it is time to move on to making sure WordPress updates have been installed. A WordPress site has to be kept up to date or various elements of the site may become obsolete, code conflicts may arise, and hackers may easily breach your security.
Always do WordPress Core updates first. Then do any theme updates. Once these are fully downloaded and applied you should do any updates for plugins one at a time. Should a conflict arise you will know exactly which plugin s update has caused the issue and you will not need to embark on a lengthy trial and error process to figure things out.
Dealing with Spam on WordPress
Make sure you have installed anti-spam plugins to keep others from self-promoting junk websites or making frivolous comments that add nothing to your website. Of course, you can also opt out of comments and not allow readers or users to post anything.
While disabling comments seems like an easy way to keep the purveyors of junk off of your website, it may also keep legitimate readers or participants away as they will fell less a part of your project. You should carefully weigh the decision to stop all comments because traffic is often generated by good reader comments and points of view.
Now is the time to check on your websites metrics. Look for slower than usual loading times, check to see that the site does not have too much downtime, look for broken links and make sure they get repaired. There are good online tools for checking these things provided by major players like Google. Check these metrics regularly and not any small changes and get them taken care of in order to avoid larger and even catastrophic website issues in the future.
Does your web host handle site security for their clients? If so, that is a huge plus. If not it is pretty simple to just install a plug in that can handle this task for you. There are some solid free plugins and some excellent relatively inexpensive ones as well. Keeping your security standards high and making sure any plugins you use for this purpose are kept updated is vital in keeping out hackers.
Tools for Popular Blogs and High Traffic Websites
Just how busy and data rich is your website? Do you have new content posted daily? Is your site a high traffic one that attracts lots of new and loyal readers or users regularly? If the answer to these questions is yes then your site would benefit from downloading one of the free and highly rated data-optimizing plugins. These little gems do a series of things that will help keep your site loading smoothly and quickly and keep data base errors from detracting from your site’s overall performance.
Maintenance must be done regularly either by the site owner or by someone designated to handle the job. WordPress updates must be downloaded and applied regularly or a site will become obsolete. Intending to do maintenance in the future or putting it off or ignoring it will be detrimental to the whole purpose of running a high visibility, high traffic, well-optimized website.
Regular maintenance is not all of that time consuming once a routine is established and helpful plugins are in place it is actually not at all difficult and the results mean a website that runs optimally for its owner and all who try to use it.