Once you’ve got your website online and running properly, the work has only just begun. In addition to studying, analyzing and increasing traffic, you’ll need to keep up good technical maintenance of your website. In this article you’ll discover the key points to keep in mind.
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Key Points for Maintaining a Website in WordPress
Here I will explain the key points for maintaining a website produced with WordPress. If you’re going to hire a professional to maintain it, you should be aware that there are still certain aspects for which you will need to take responsibility. I will explain below:
For a good WordPress maintenance plan it is vital that you keep permanent and recurring backup copies. Should your current website encounter a problem, you will always be able to recover a previous version of it thanks to these copies.
There are various plans in all shapes and sizes, but the most common are weekly or daily backup copies. Companies that maintain websites through WordPress usually keep backup copies in the cloud for a month, but I believe that it’s important to keep copies on a permanent basis.
Fix Broken Links
Broken links are one of the on-page SEO factors that can have the greatest negative impact on your positioning. It is important to regularly monitor these elements.
Keep Your Database Clean
There are a large number of factors that could cause your database to fill up with junk and slow down your website’s loading time, thus affecting the user experience and your positioning. The most common cause is installing and deleting various plugins over time.
It is vitally important to keep your database clean and perform maintenance on a regular basis. To do this you can:
- Clean the wp-options table
- Empty the trash
- Delete old versions of posts and pages
Although it might seem harmless, spam can cause serious issues on your website. One of the most common types of spam on a website made with WordPress is through comments. If you don’t keep a constant eye on this, and also have a strategy for preventing it, you will give the impression that your website has been abandoned, making it very likely to be infected with some kind of malware.
Update Plugins and Themes
According to many studies, the main area in WordPress where a security breach can lead to some type of attack is via plugins. That’s why you should use safe plugins and themes, and also make sure they’re up to date.
Update WordPress Core
It is also very important to keep your WordPress up to date so you can implement all the improvements from the most recent version.
Be Careful When Updating
You should bear in mind that an update may lead to incompatibility errors, or even cause a bug that developers have not anticipated. That is why you should always make a backup copy before performing any kind of update.
There are also times where you should wait a bit and avoid installing the new version right away. This may protect you from potential problems, as they will have been fixed before you end up installing the update.
Keep a Log of Updates and Modifications
It might seem like an overkill, but we’re going to bring up backup copies again. If you discover some kind of error on your website, you can determine which update or modification caused it by checking the log and looking at the date where it occurred. This will enable you to recover your website from a previous time where you’re sure it was running smoothly.
Clear Unused or Unnecessary Content
No maintenance company will do this as they will not be responsible for fully managing the backend of your website. Therefore, as you install plugins and themes, and make modifications, it’s a good idea to also delete every element that you no longer need. These elements may include the following:
- Coding for unnecessary functions
There is also a lot of content that may be unnecessary. For example, one good practice may involve:
- Defining categories well to avoid creating too many
- Considering whether it’s necessary to use labels, and if not, avoiding using too many
Pay Close Attention to the Security of Your Website
There are a lot of security plugins available that you can use on your website. For advanced users there are many different options you can use to improve your security, such as creating an extra security layer by using a ReCAPTCHA on your WordPress login.
No external company you hire will take responsibility for changing your passwords. It’s important that you change your passwords on a regular basis and always make sure they are as secure as possible.
WPO stands for Web Performance Optimization. For Google it is important that your website comply with a series of performance requirements, and there are many updates and implementations that can affect it directly. As such, you need to maintain constant control of this to avoid your positioning going down on search engines.
What will happen if you don’t maintain your WordPress website correctly?
There can be many consequences, but the most common include the following:
- You may find incompatibilities
- New improvements may not be implemented
- Your website may be hacked
- You could get infected by malware
- Broken functions
- Slow loading times
- SEO problems
These issues can usually be resolved, but it can be a problem if you don’t have the sufficient expertise and your website encounters problems that you don’t know about. That is why we recommend hiring a professional with the relevant expertise to take care of your website maintenance.
Plugins you can use for maintaining your WordPress website
You can use a wide range of different plugins to help you develop a good maintenance strategy. The most common are:
- Plugins for creating backup copies
- Plugins for cleaning databases
- Plugins for logging activity in WordPress
- Security plugins
- Spam plugins
- Cache efficiency plugins
You can see that I have listed 6 different maintenance plugins here, but, while each one serves a specific purpose, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest using all of them. What I would strongly recommend, though, is to manage your website manually and on a constant basis, as no plugin can replace this.
Should I hire a maintenance technician for my WordPress website?
If you don’t have the relevant expertise then I would recommend hiring these services externally. This can also be beneficial in a variety of ways.
Benefits of Hiring a Maintenance Technician
Hiring a maintenance technician from an external company like WebHeroe can offer a wide variety of benefits. For instance:
- External responsibility
- Maintenance managed by experts
- Constant support
- Time savings
- Improvements to website security
- No need to worry about logging and implementing updates
- Access to detailed reports
- And, most importantly, the peace of mind you’ll have is priceless
What to Bear in Mind When Hiring a Maintenance Technician for Your WordPress Website
To achieve the best level of maintenance, you’ll need to assess what their services offer and make sure that their strategy covers the majority of the points mentioned above. Obviously the price for WordPress maintenance is a significant factor. But, in my opinion, the most important thing is that the service includes constant manual monitoring. By manual monitoring I mean that they review your website to check for errors, and that this is done by a person and not an automated process.