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How to maintain a website using WordPress in 9 easy steps

Step by step approach on how to maintain a WordPress website

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A website’s maintenance is as important as its content and look. This is because it enhances its speed, visibility, and functionality. According to research, websites with quick load time get more engagement from readers and ranking preference from Google. Such outcomes are a result of proper website maintenance because running a website without constant maintenance could quickly turn sour. Knowing how to maintain a website using WordPress (since a large portion of sites is hosted by the CMS) is a needs must.

How to maintain a website using WordPress
How to maintain a website using WordPress – Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels

For starters, poor maintenance could lead to a cloggy website. When this happens, it is only a matter of time before traffic starts to drip. Visitors would tolerate your site less and unfortunately, the rate at which visitors engage your website directly affects its ranking. For this reason, you need to prioritize maintaining your website. Also, you can read more on the different types of WordPress builders here.

Why WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system that acts as a tool to help you easily maintain your website. With this tool, you can manage your site’s content with little or no knowledge about programming. WordPress makes it easy for you to build and maintain your website even if you are not a developer.  Due to the fact that it has the largest host of websites on the internet, it is important that you know how to maintain a website using WordPress. Read more on how to build a small business website using WordPress.

There are two official versions of this software. The first version is WordPress.com while the second is WordPress.org. To use the .com, you need to begin at a place where you already have a functioning site. On the other hand, the latter allows you to build your website from scratch including installation of important files and plugins.

According to experts at W3Techs, WordPress powers 43% of the total websites on the internet. This percentage includes those websites without a content management system (CMS).

How does WordPress work?

WordPress works with PHP and MySQL components. PHP is a language that runs on your server before a page shows to the browser. MySQL is an open-source database management system that uses spreadsheets to file data under multiple headings. Essentially, the whole system works by combining a database, some core files, files that you install, and a dashboard that allows you to manage everything.

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How does WordPress work? – Photo by fauxels from Pexels

The dashboard is the “Back-End” of your site. It is what gives you access to maintain your site. Basically, WordPress is divided into the Front-End and the Back-End part. The front end is what visitors see when they visit your page. On the other hand, the back-end is where you manage everything about your site including its content.

Why do I need to maintain my WordPress website?

Every successful website needs a level of maintenance. Basically, this is because WordPress comes with important updates that every site needs to stay on top of important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) criteria.  Here are 6 reasons why you need to maintain your website:

1. Security

Due to its popularity, WordPress websites are a major target for hackers and data thieves. Hackers can crash your website. Also, WordPress is open-source software. This makes it easy for anyone to study and learn the code, including hackers. To secure your site from hackers, you need to update WP themes, core, and plugins.

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Why do I need to maintain my WordPress website: Security – Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

2. For maximum User Experience

Your visitors are another important aspect of your site because they increase its visibility. Nobody likes a site that looks outdated, confusing, or broken. If you are using an outdated version of WordPress, it can cause your site to misbehave. Consequently, its issues will turn off your visitors and your site’s ranking will decrease.

3. For Health checks

You can tell how well your site is doing by maintaining it regularly. Checking the tiniest details and fixing the smallest issue does your site many good. Knowing how to maintain a website using WordPress is very vital to the successful running of your business.

4. Long Term Cost Savings

When you maintain and update your site regularly, it decreases the chances that your site will misbehave. Some errors can cause damages and fixing them may take a lot of money. Hence, regular site maintenance is necessary to save costs in the long term.

Long Term Cost Savings
Long Term Cost Savings – Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

5. To protect your Brand’s reputation

Your website is your brand’s public identity. Therefore, you must protect its reputation at all costs. A website with broken links, outdated information, and dead pages is unprofessional to the public. Visitors will not like to return to your site if there are too many errors. You must do a checkup regularly to identify and fix all issues.

6. Speed

Speed is one of the most important factors affecting SEO. Therefore, you need to make sure your site’s speed is as fast as possible. Performing regular site maintenance has positive effects on how fast its pages load.

Basically, this sums up a few reasons why you need to know how to maintain a website using WordPress and do it at regular intervals.

How can I simplify WordPress maintenance from the get-go?

If you want to maintain your website properly, you need two basic things. Here are the tips that will help:

1. First, you need the appropriate tools and tactics that will make monitoring and backing up your site easy.

2. Next, you need is to inculcate good habits. This will ensure that the maintenance process does not take up more time than necessary.

What are the best WordPress maintenance tactics and tools?

The right tactics and tools that can help execute a WordPress maintenance strategy include the following:

1. Backup your WordPress website

Your website is a valuable asset. Hence, you need to create a backup so that you can recover it if there is a crash. You can back up your site using several ways. Your web host’s cPanel can serve as a great way to back up your website. However, the simplest way you can do this is by using a WordPress plugin like BackWPup. First, you have to download and install the plugin to your site. Thereafter, making a backup of your site will be as easy as clicking a few toolbars.

Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels
Backup your WordPress website – Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels

2. Clear your WordPress database

To ensure that your site functions efficiently, you need to clean up its database regularly. A simple WordPress plugin can do this job for you. WP Optimize is a good cleanup software that handles your database. Basically, it removes stale posts and deletes accumulated post trash.

3. Find out if your site is listed in the search engines

For maximum visibility of your website, you need to make sure that it is indexed in search engines. Some popular examples of search engines include Google, Bing, and Yahoo. To check if your site is listed in search engines, simply type “site:yoursite.com” into the Google search bar.

Alternatively, you can use the free Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool to analyze your WordPress website. This software helps you to identify broken links and duplicate content. Additionally, it helps you to perform some important SEO-related tasks. These tasks will ensure that your site is search engine favorable and give users an optimum experience.

4. Do a security check

Try scanning your site for malware regularly. Although it might seem unimportant at first, this simple step can save your site from hackers in the future. Malwares are very harmful to websites and their effects can be disastrous. You can use the free Sucuri WordPress plugin to execute this maintenance task.

5. Switch to maintenance mode

When working on updating your site, ensure that you enable maintenance mode. Basically, the maintenance mode makes your website temporarily unavailable to visitors while you improve it. However, this is only necessary when you want to update your design theme.

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Switch to maintenance mode – Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

A plugin like WP Maintenance Mode can help you to execute this job efficiently. It is very easy to use. It also allows you to display a nice temporary screen that will be visible to your visitors while your site is under maintenance.

6. Monitor your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

This task comes after you have listed your site in the search engines. However, your website’s SEO task never ends. WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO can help you with this task. This plugin scans through your content and shows you which of them you can better optimize to increase your website’s visibility.

How can I make WordPress maintenance as easy as possible?

Now that you have the necessary tactics to maintain your website, you need another thing. Essentially, the next thing you should do is learning on how to make maintenance as seamless as possible. Below are a few suggestions on how to make maintenance as easy as possible:

1. Execute your website’s maintenance regularly

You can use tools like Google Calendar to set a reminder for your site’s maintenance. When you regularly maintain your site, it will function at optimum capacity.

2. Set and monitor your Keyword targets

Monitoring your keyword targets will increase your site’s visibility to visitors. You can use Google Analytics to help you with this task. Install and monitor the software during your site’s initial setup. Thereafter, check how you are performing compared to your keyword goals.

3. Test your site’s forms

It is important for you to test your site’s contact or order form to ensure it is functioning. To test it, submit a dummy entry first so you can have a backup if it goes missing.

Sounds too technical? Take advantage of our free website evaluation tool today to get an insight into the current state of your site.

How can I maintain a WordPress site?

Maintaining your site will increase its visibility and earn you more visitors. There are several ways you can execute this task. However, below is a summary of 9 steps you can follow to maintain your WordPress site:

1. Update your WordPress site

Updating your site to the latest version regularly is an important aspect of its maintenance. There are various types of updates available for you. Core updates, themes updates, and plugin updates are the basic ones you need to focus on. Installing all available updates will help you avert hack attempts.

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Update your WordPress site – Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

Additionally, you need to eliminate any WordPress theme or plugin you are no longer using. By doing this, you are optimizing your site’s database.

2. Monitor your website’s page loading speed

Your page loading speed refers to how long it takes to appear fully on screen. Experts at Akamai have stated 53% of visitors leave a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. From this statistic, you can see that a considerable number of people do not wait too long for a page to load. This implies that your site is likely to lose visitors if its pages take too long to load.

You need to check and fix any loading errors so that your visitors can have an optimum experience. Ensure that you fix all outdated links, broken images, as well as slow loading pages. Additionally, you need to clear all redundant files and delete all spam comments to improve your site’s speed.

3. Backup your website

Your most valuable asset is your content, so do not forget to back up your site. Schedule automatic backups for everything on your site. Having a backup will help you to recover without stress if your website crashes. You need to back up your posts, affiliate links, and plugins in case of any emergency.

4. Check for errors and fix them

Errors like 404 errors, unoptimized images missing Meta descriptions, and titles are not good for your site. You need to check and fix them at regular intervals. Also, you can test your website’s compatibility with various devices like desktops, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You should test its compatibility across different browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

 5. Monitor your WordPress site’s security

The importance of making sure that your suite is secure should not be underestimated. Scan your site for threats, viruses, and malware every day. Also, ensure that you check your web hosting information regularly to prevent downtime. Monitor how much space your site is consuming on the server that acts as your host. Read more on building a WordPress website and hosting here.

6. Ensure your website’s content stays fresh

To keep your content fresh, review all on-page SEO requirements regularly. This will mitigate any harsh penalty from google.

7. Change all your passwords

Passwords act as a defense against intruders. Ensure that all your passwords are strong and unique in order to strengthen your defense. You also need to change your passwords at regular intervals to ensure your site is safe.

8. Troubleshoot Maintenance Tasks

Some WordPress maintenance tasks may make your website slow. Tasks like running an image optimizer plugin and checking for broken and outdated links can cause this. You can avert this by troubleshooting any WordPress error that you encounter.

Troubleshoot Maintenance Tasks
Troubleshoot Maintenance Tasks – Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

To troubleshoot errors, follow the steps below:

a. First, you need to create a backup for your website.

Troubleshooting requires you to delete a lot of files and cache so your backup will help you recover them. You can install a backup plugin to do this task for you.

b. Next, you need to clear your browser cache.

Sometimes, your browser may not know that you changed a WordPress post and will load it from the old browser cache. Consequently, you will view the older version of that post. To solve this problem, just clear your browser cache. This will ensure that you see the latest version of a post.

c. Clear existing WordPress Cache.

Some WordPress plugins allow you to see a cached version of your site. To solve this problem, simply clear your WordPress cache. Basically, this ensures that your site is not serving the cached version.

d. Deactivate all plugins you installed on your site.

There are plugins that can conflict with each other thereby causing errors. Deactivating all your plugins will fix this issue. Thereafter, you can check for what plugin is causing the error.

e. Lastly, switch to any default WordPress theme.

Your WordPress theme may be the major cause of an error. To find out if your theme is the problem, switch to any default WordPress theme.

9.  Optimize images on your site

Images load slower than text. This implies that they are likely to decrease your website’s loading speed. If your images are too large, your site’s pages will take longer to load. Therefore, you need to optimize overly large images to boost your website’s speed. This task will greatly increase the SEO of your website.  

When should I perform WordPress Maintenance Tasks?

You need to start performing all maintenance tasks on your website as soon as it is up and running. These tasks keep your website in good condition. Also, it ensures that your site functions at optimal capacity.

How often should I perform WordPress maintenance Tasks?

According to a 2016 research by Sucuri, an outdated WordPress software causes 51% of websites to be hacked. Hence, you need to update and maintain your website as often as possible.

How often should I perform WordPress maintenance Tasks?
How often should I perform WordPress maintenance Tasks? – Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you own a busy website with many visitors, you can perform maintenance at least once every month. However, if you own a small website you can carry out maintenance once every six months.

However, for the best results, you can reach out to us at Iconic Digital World today to carry out full website maintenance for you. Also, check out our free website evaluation tool here which would give you insight into what may be wrong.

Bottom Line

The most important type of website maintenance is preventative. In simpler terms, this means that prevention is better than recovery. Dutifully perform all maintenance tasks at regular intervals to avert hacking.

After you plug in all the necessary tools to maintain your site, the process should be seamless. Lastly, do not forget to adhere to a thorough maintenance schedule at regular intervals. Basic tasks like backups, security and SEO checks as well as data cleaning are beneficial for your site. 

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