Updated June 22, 2016
WordPress is an outstanding system for creating a website or blog. And every site needs regular maintenance. The key to maintaining a WordPress website or blog is have a system to make it easy. I recommend you go to your calendar system and pick a date or day of the month. Make an entry that says “website maintenance” and give yourself 30 minutes. If you do this monthly, it should not take that long. Doing it weekly is even better these days. Here’s what you want to do during your “maintenance time”.
- File and Database backup. You’ll want a backup of all the images and files you upload and the site itself. There’s several ways to do it. If your site is hosted with BlueHost, most likely they are doing regular backups. You’ll want to confirm this with your hosting provider.
- Plugin updating. When you see a number on your Dashboard next to the Plugin list, then there’s a plugin that needs to be updated. Plugin updating is easy, but it’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the update may implement important security fixes. On the other hand, it might conflict with another plugin. It’s smart to check out the plugin home page before updating, to see what’s new and different, and see if anyone else has had any problems. If it looks ok, then update the plugin and choose “upgrade automatically”. This will deactivate the plugin, upload new code, and then activate again automatically.
- WordPress updating. WordPress also updates its software frequently. The process is similar to updating a plugin. Here’s what I do. I update all of my plugins first, and then I update WordPress. I want all of my plugins to be compatible with WordPress. Occasionally they are not and they will “break” and I might need to find another plugin to do the same function that works with the upgraded WordPress. Make sure you have a recent backup before you upgrade your WordPress version. I have been updating more frequently recently to keep security at a maximum.
- Check for spam comments. Easy: from your Dashboard, scroll down to Comments. Click on the Spam button and delete all. I don’t waste any time checking to see if any marked spam might be real, they are few and far between, and consist mainly of “Great post!” comments which don’t add value. Be sure to keep your spam blocker for Comments plugin active. For most sites I have installed Spam Blocker for you, Akismit is outdated if you still have that one.
- Check stats. While traffic to your website fluctuates daily, over the course of weeks and months, your traffic should be relatively smooth. For most websites I try to install a Google Analytics plugin because it’s simple, effective and informative. You can check your stats from your Google account or right on your website. In addition to the traffic counts, you want to know which sites are referring users to your site and what keywords are users typing that bring them to your site. Make sure you incorporate those keywords into your posts and pages to bring more traffic to your site. If you have questions on this, let me know.
- Check your links. Sometimes, plugins can interact in strange ways with each other. You should check critical functionality any time you change the configuration of your site or blog, say, by installing a plugin. If you don’t check it after you install a plugin, then check it during this regular maintenance time. Make sure your links work. If you have a contact form, fill it out and send it to yourself. You should not have any problems, but you should make sure you don’t have any broken links. You know it’s frustrating when it happens to you on other sites, so try to keep yours up-to-date. **I now have a plugin that I recommend to check links automatically. You will be alerted when one breaks. ** Add Broken Link Checker plugin.
- Reciprocal links. Along with regular marketing strategies for your blog or website, don’t forget to ask for reciprocal links, commonly called link-backs, to grow your “mindshare”. For example, if you are a member of an organization and you put their logo and a link to their website on your website, make sure YOU are listed as a member on their website too. Same goes if you frequently recommend a product or service, and they recommend you, ask them to put your logo and a link to your site on their blog or website. It helps build traffic. Try to inventory your links and link-backs when you do this routine maintenance. Think to yourself, “Have I joined any clubs or organizations lately or do I regularly recommend another site where it might be beneficial to add them to my site and ask they add me in return?”.
As always, if you have questions about maintaining your WordPress website or blog, give me a call at 952-484-6015 or send me an email.