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Maintaining your WordPress website – a checklist of crucial maintenance tasks

A website is like an automobile in many ways. For example, it needs periodic maintenance to ensure optimal operation and must be checked regularly to spot and fix any issues early. Here’s a checklist to ensure that your website runs ship-shape for years to come!

Maintaining a WordPress website is not difficult if you do it right. We have created this guide to help you overcome any potential problems or roadblocks as you set out to maintain your site.

Let’s go!

The need for WordPress-driven website maintenance

WordPress is a dynamic, always-changing software. The WordPress team is constantly at work, adding new features, removing problems in older ones and supplying patches for any security issues they have discovered.

Your website must stay up-to-date to ensure that you can take advantage of all the latest features that team WordPress has to offer. Additionally, the security team at WordPress and theme creators such as Elementor keep detecting and fixing any security risks they find. This helps your website to stay safe from malware and other attacks. The same is also true for widgets, plugins and any other software your website uses.

So, to ensure that your website runs the way it did on day one, keep some time aside for routine website maintenance tasks.

How often do I need to maintain my website?

Website maintenance is not a one-time activity. As the internet and software change, your website also needs to be maintained to keep it in sync. There are three basic types of maintenance that you need to perform on your website to keep it updated:

  1. Weekly maintenance
  2. Monthly maintenance
  3. Annual maintenance

I know that this seems a lot of work, but it isn’t. Remember, losing your website’s data is a much bigger problem than maintaining it.

Weekly maintenance

Here’s a list of tasks you need to perform every week.

  • Check the website’s front-end – Visit the main and the most important pages of your website to check that they are loading correctly. You should perform this task manually.
  • Moderate the comments you receive on your blog – This task is essential to do at least once a week to check if Akismet or another third-party comment plugin has removed a genuine comment.
  • Take backups of your website – Have daily, weekly, and monthly backups of your website. You can check with your hosting provider to see how often your website is backed up. Weekly backups help in restoring the most recent update to your website in case of problems. Automate this process so that you do not forget to take backups. Though web hosting providers may not be mandated to take/provide backups, but professional hosting providers such as Pack Web Hosting offer backups as a goodwill gesture to their clients.
  • Update frequently – Ensure that WordPress, all plugins and themes are always up-to-date. A good way is to turn on automatic updates. This ensures that your website is constantly working with the latest and greatest version of this software. Automate this by turning on automatic updates.
  • Check your Google Search Console – If you have Google Search Console installed, ensure that you check it frequently to see if Google has flagged any issues with your website.

Monthly maintenance

Monthly maintenance tasks are as crucial as weekly tasks. It is just that these tasks need data for a month to give you meaningful errors, warnings or other results you need. Here’s what you should do at least once a month:

  • Analyse website traffic – Web traffic can best be analysed using a tool such as Google Analytics. Additionally, Google Analytics can provide you with a wealth of valuable information for monitoring search trends. Analytics can also help you with keyword analysis to monitor your site’s rankings in Google.
  • Run website performance tests – If your website performs well, it will positively affect your website SEO and search ranking. Google lab’s website performance tool can give you essential insights about what you need to improve on your website.
  • Run security scans – WordPress powers over 50% of the websites in the world. This makes it the number one target for hackers. Running security scans on your website can help you catch potential issues before they become significant problems.
  • Optimise your website database – Your website database holds all the data for your website, including themes, content, images, plugins, settings and much more. As your database gets used, it can accumulate clutter over the years. A performance tool such as WP Rocket or WPOptimize can help you maintain your database better.
  • Check for 404s and broken links – There is nothing more irritating to me while browsing a website than a 404 or a page not found error. You can use a plugin to check your website for broken links or even use Google Analytics and search for errors such as “Not Found”.
  • Verify your backups – Last but not least—verify your monthly backups to check if all is well. You can do this by restoring the backup of your website to a staging server. Tools such as Local and DevKinsta can help you verify backups locally.

Annual maintenance

This is the time when you get all your tools out and clear out the garage! A sort of spring cleaning for your website—except that it does not take that long. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Analyse your hosting needs – As your website grows, so do its hosting needs. If your website is slowing down due to high traffic volumes, maybe it is an excellent time to contact Pack Web Hosting or a similar provider for high-quality VPS hosting that can help your website stay on the top charts without breaking the bank. Remember—performance is the leading factor that will ensure your website stays in Google’s top ranks. Here is an excellent article on our blog which details performance impact vis-a-vis Google rankings.
  • Recheck your plugins – Plugins are often not updated as fast as themes are. This is the reason why you should check your plugins on every theme update or WordPress update, or once a year. This helps you to ensure that your plugins are giving you the advantage you installed them for.
  • Password maintenance – Change your passwords for themes, WP installations and hosting periodically. This holds for any login-based system. Even if your password has been exposed in a breach, changing it regularly keeps you relatively safer than not changing your password for years.
  • Recheck your content – Often, your top-performing website content might need an update. Technologies might have changed, or the content that you wrote might not be relevant anymore. Revisiting your content and updating it to match the market’s requirements can help you rank better than before.

Quite a list, isn’t it? We believe this list covers most of the problems any website may face during its lifetime. Additionally, these items can help you keep your website ship-shape and ready to take on the changes the internet throws at it at all times.

The fact that most of these tasks take less than 10 minutes to perform and a lot of them can be automated is a good reason to start working on them. If you need assistance with any of these tasks, contact your web hosting provider or let us know. The web hosting team at Pack Web Hosting is experienced at general website issues and maintenance and can help you keep your website running as well as it should for years to come!