Why is website maintenance important?

  • Sites get hacked: 61% of hacked WordPress sites are running outdated software.
  • Only around 43% of WordPress websites are running the most current version of the software. Hackers know this and that makes WordPress websites an easy target.
  • Surveys show that plugin vulnerabilities represented 55.9% of the known entry points reported.
  • Software updates often include new features. If your software isn’t up to date, you’re missing out on that.
  • If you can protect yourself against plugin vulnerabilities and brute force attacks, you are accounting for over 70% of the security problem, according to WordFence.
  • Sites run slowly without proper maintenance.
  • Sites break due to incompatibility between plugins, themes, etc.
  • Google ranks outdated sites lower.
  • When your site is outdated, it’s slower, ranks lower on search engine results and ultimately, visitors stop coming to your site.

What Does The Ideal Maintenance Schedule Look Like?

Daily

Backups
You should have a process in place to automatically create daily, off-site backups. This is an essential part of website maintenance. Off-site means you need to be sure these backups are saved on a server separate from your host. While many hosting providers include backups in their managed WordPress hosting plans, it’s important to have a second backup stored elsewhere.
Uptime Monitoring
You should have automatic alerts in place to let you know if your site goes down. And then you need a response plan in place so that you know what actions to take if it happens: Contact your host, locate the most recent back-up, etc.
Security Monitoring, Malware Scans and Removal
You should be monitoring the security of your site on a daily basis. With daily security monitoring you are taking a proactive approach that will prevent you from needing to take a reactive approach if the unthinkable were to happen.

Malware scans need to be run daily. If installed, malware does harm in a variety of ways: defacing the website, destroying data, committing cyber attacks from the user’s computer, modifying settings, and much, much more. Of course, it goes without saying that with daily malware scans, you must then remove any detected malware before it’s able to do harm.

Weekly

Core, plugin and theme updates
Installing updates in a timely manner is vital to maintaining a secure website and taking advantage of new features. Please note that if a plugin or theme releases a security fix, it should be updated immediately. You should also keep in mind that it isn’t uncommon for these updates to have unintended consequences on your site. So make sure you give your site a good look after applying updates to make sure everything is in order.
Moderate comments
If your site allows users to leave comments, it’s important that you moderate them in a timely manner. You can do this weekly, taking the appropriate action on each comment whether it is to Approve, Reply, Spam, or Trash. A lot of times, comments are your means of communicating with your audience. You should be doing so with regularity and consistency.
Test forms
A clean database goes a long way in making sure your site loads super fast. Junk data that needs cleaned includes spam comments, plugins that were uninstalled but not deleted, post revisions and more.

Monthly

Monitor traffic and search engine rankings
Your site can be the most beautiful site running in tip-top shape but none of that matters if no one is visiting. The most important gauge of your site’s success is search engine rankings, traffic and conversions. Knowing this information has a great impact on marketing decisions, SEO strategy and so much more. Look for trend lines. Did something work well? Did your bounce rate change?
Optimize database
Search for broken links on your site
Broken links are links that go nowhere and give an error message. Not a great user experience and perhaps more importantly, they can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings.
Check for search console errors/issues
Google Search Console is a free tool that gives you lots of valuable information about how your site is performing. It’s important to check if there are any errors on your site like indexing errors, content that can’t be found, and more.
Search for broken links on other websites
Websites come and go. Some great websites full of content have died. If they are gone, you can still do something with their expertise:

  • Find a dead site
  • Use Archive.org to find what the dead site looked like
  • Find one of their well linked articles.
  • Write an article that covers the same topic.
  • Go to the editors of those linked sites, tell them about the dead link. then offer your article in that articles’s place
Test Site Speed
People who visit your site expect it to load fast, and so does Google. You need to be aware of your site speed and, if necessary, take the steps to make loading time faster.
Review back-end
The WordPress Admin Panel is the backend of your site. You should go through the Admin Menu along the left and look for any important messages or actions that need to be taken.
Review front-end
The frontend of your site is what your site users see. As you can guess, it’s important that everything on the front end is in tip-top shape. Go through the pages of your site on at least one computer and at least one mobile device to make sure everything is in order.

Annually

Review WordPress Setup

Once a year it’s good to take stock of your entire setup. This means taking the time to:

  • Review your hosting provider. Does it still fit your needs? How does it compare to other options on the market?
  • Review your theme and, if needed, check for alternatives that might look better, load faster and be easier to use.
  • Review your plugins and search for alternatives that might perform better.
  • Review any 3rd party services you’re using and make sure they’re still your best option — CDNs, analytics tools, CRMs, email marketing tools, etc.
Review Content For Updates

Use this opportunity to dig into your analytics and see which pages and posts are performing the best. Then optimize them with better calls-to-action and/or opt-in forms. You can also go into blog posts and update the content so that everything is current. This will be more appealing to readers and also to Google.

Renew Hosting, Domains, and Licenses

Goes without saying that you’ll have to renew these annual plans. Take this opportunity to determine if all these services are still your best options or if there are better services out there.

Declutter Plugins, Themes, and Media

Review what plugins and themes you have installed on your site. If there are unnecessary ones, deactivate them and then delete them. Same goes for files in your media library.

Optimize Images

Your site does not need large images, in most cases. Large image files slow down your site and take up space on the server. Resize images to reflect the size you actually need them displayed at. It’s good to aim for around a 250KB file size. You should be using a plugin like ShortPixel that takes care of correct sizing when you upload the image.

 

WordPress Website Maintenance Best Practices

  • Don’t apply major updates immediately. When WordPress releases a new core update, or a major plugin like WooCommerce or Yoast release major updates, wait a week or so before applying it. There are often bugs that require fixes that will be released in new versions the days immediately following.
  • Ensure backups are stored securely off-site, not with your host. If your host goes down, you won’t have access to your backups.
  • Always make sure you have a recent backup before applying updates
  • Use visual regression testing when applying updates to check for aesthetic discrepancies.
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Summary
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Why Is Website Maintenance Important?
Description
WordPress sites gets hacked every day. Some easy to follow steps can keep a website safe.
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Wev321
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