Website maintenance is a lot like maintaining your own home. You’ve just spent a lot of time, energy, and money to build your beautiful website, so why do you have to continue maintaining it? Some maintenance tasks are to keep the space clean and orderly, while other tasks are preventative in nature.
Depending on your website platform, your maintenance needs will vary. However, every website needs some amount of maintenance to keep it functioning optimally. Here at Fresh Take Productions, we build our websites with WordPress, the most popular open source content management system (CMS).
Every WordPress website needs ongoing maintenance once it is complete to avoid security breaches, and fix anything that breaks or visually changes from your sites norm. Your WordPress site should grow and improve as your business grows. After all, it’s your leading platform to promote your brand and communicate with your customers. When you fail to maintain any element of your website, it will result in a negative impact on your customers, security, and overall performance. Regular maintenance is the most important thing you can do for your website.Regular maintenance is the most important thing you can do for your website. Click To Tweet
With approximately 75 million websites created with WordPress, it’s safe to say that most people are already familiar with WordPress. WordPress is so popular because it allows you to create a flexible framework that doesn’t limit your design or content expansion.
However, just like your own business vision, WordPress seeks to improve its platform consistently, which leads to the need for upgrades. These updates then ripple to all the other elements used to build your website, thus requiring ongoing monitoring.
WordPress developers are always on their toes to make things faster. Each new release includes many performance improvements that make WordPress more efficient for its users. Speed is a critical factor for SEO, so you need to keep your WordPress up to date to maximize performance.
Another reason why it is essential to perform a consistent WordPress maintenance is to prevent any security breach. When updates are installed, changes to your files make your site vulnerable to hacker attacks. WordPress is a frequent target for hackers, code distributors, and data thieves because of its vast popularity. By keeping the WordPress website up-to-date, adding updated plugins and themes, your website will no longer be vulnerable to malware and external attacks.
Because your WordPress site is a gateway to the vast world of Web customers, it is essential that you keep your brand information in top condition on your website. Keep related logos and other branding information regularly up-to-date. Take the time to review your content to make sure it stays true to the identity of your brand. A concerted effort to protect your brand identity through your WordPress site allows you to achieve better SEO positioning.
Plugins are independent software designed by different developers outside of WordPress. When WordPress publishes updates to its leading software, it is the developer’s responsibility to keep his plugins up-to-date. That’s why, before choosing to install a plugin, it’s essential to look for it, read the reviews, and check for the latest updates. Once installed, it is important to continue updating the plugin while developers update to ensure compatibility with WordPress.
Now that you know why it’s crucial to maintain your WordPress website continuously let’s look at some of the most important maintenance tasks to perform on your site.
WordPress is a rapidly evolving platform, and new features are added and regularly improved. If Core WordPress is obsolete, your website will gradually become less secure and less stable and will no longer work at the desired level. This will not only create a negative experience for your visitors but can also hurt search engine rankings.
Themes are the structure that gives your site the same look and feel. As with WordPress Core, themes are often improved and updated for security and performance reasons. Using an unmodified theme limits the security, function, and form of web presence.
Plugins are tools that are added to your WordPress site to add features and increase its functionality. There are many different plugins to help you create modules and add visual effects. Plugins are created by various authors and continually updated. If the author updates the plugins, but they are not installed on your website, you may lose advanced features or cause security issues and malfunctions on your website.
Your website database is a structured, organized set of data that refers to the software used to store and organize the data that makes up your website. Think of it as a file cabinet where you store data in different sections called tables (aka, the files within the cabinet). When you need a particular file you look into that particular section (table) and get the file (data) you need. WordPress uses MySQL as its database management system and it requires updates and upgrades to keep it running smoothly and securely.
Malware is malicious code that is injected into websites and can cause havoc to your website’s infrastructure. While some security plugins like WordFence do provide protection against malware, we highly recommend checking with your hosting provider to see if they offer malware scanning tools as part of your hosting package. This both saves space on your site’s database and provides a more secure and complete scan at the hosting level. Siteground, for instance, has a daily tool that searches for errant code in your website. They also provide a direct connection to your website for other optimization tasks.
The WordPress platform is stable, but that does not mean that it is invincible. In the event, your website is broken or not working for any reason, offsite backup (on a remote server) can help you avoid the devastating effects of rebooting. Offsite backups of your website often need to be done, most notably when you publish more and more new content. Again, check with your hosting provider, as most hosting accounts now come with weekly backups.
A blog on your WordPress site can be a great way to drive traffic and reinforce your brand. Feedback on your blogs can also be beneficial for providing more information and generating discussion on essential topics for your visitors. Unfortunately, like e-mail, comments can be used to convey spam. If comments are visible to other visitors, your reputation can quickly improve. Spending the time needed to remove these spam comments will keep your visitors happy and busy.
If you are actively publishing content, running promotions, or launching new products and services, chances are, you might be changing up your link references. It’s important to test your links and be sure none are broken (and if so, making sure they are corrected). Using a tool like Broken Link Checker can help you zero in on any that might be lurking on your site.
Your WordPress website maintenance should be an ongoing process. If you do not update plugins and themes and do not respect the security of your site, you risk being hacked. Even a well-coded WordPress theme and plugin can be vulnerable to attack if they are not kept up to date. Updates often include security enhancements and bug fixes or vulnerabilities. Unless you want your site to be hacked, keeping your WordPress site is not just an option, it’s critical.
Website maintenance may not be as exciting and revolutionary as building a new site, but it is essential. You will need to perform maintenance activities on your WordPress site on a monthly or even weekly basis. Though it sounds boring and monotonous, it does not take long and, in the long run, it will save you a lot of time and headaches. Your site can continue to prosper for years if you take care of it.
Lysa is a digital producer who helps service-based entrepreneurs fulfill their business vision through creative ideation, technical solutions, and relationship marketing. With 19 years of diverse experience in broadcast and digital media, she provides a wide range of opportunities to work with a variety of clients and teams, both virtually and in-person.