The web development industry is ever-changing and full of terms and acronyms that are commonly misunderstood. To some, it can feel like a foreign language so we do our best to explain through the layers and terms in a way that our audience understands.
Your website, for example, is just a collection of files living or “hosted” on a large, shared computer, called a server. This is essentially the foundation for your website. A website built with WordPress then uses a standard subset of files to build an “environment” for your website content to exist. You access that content through a dashboard where you can create posts and pages that create the content you see on your website. There’s much more to this story, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll leave it at that
A common misconception is that once your website is built, it’s “done.” However, due to their nature, the WordPress files that we discussed above actually need to be periodically updated to fend off malicious activity and ill-intent. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of WordPress maintenance and the steps you should be taking to keep your website up-to-date.
Why WordPress Maintenance Is Important
Just like proper maintenance to your home or car, it’s crucial to carry out routine care to your website. With more than a third of active websites powered by WordPress, there’s constant maintenance going on to keep them up and running. Like on any website platform, things can go wrong and knowing how to fix issues may be out of your control. Whether that be performing backups, dealing with a security breach, or even technical issues due to user error, it’s important to have a qualified professional on deck to get a handle on things.
How to Keep The Website You Have Running Smoothly
Websites are never done. There are small tasks you can accomplish everyday to improve your site, as well as large tasks that need to be executed less frequently. Ongoing website maintenance is important because it allows you to avoid a lot of problems that could arise if they were left untouched for too long. Here’s a list of common daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks that every website should prioritize. For the curious, many of these are tasks are included in a basic level White Ox Creative maintenance plan.
Daily website maintenance can include uptime monitoring, security monitoring, and website and database backups.
> Uptime monitoring. Website downtime can be extremely detrimental and costly to your business revenue, online presence, and search engine optimization. Monitor your website’s uptime daily so you always have a strong online presence on the web.
> Security monitoring. With an up-tick in website hacking over the past few years, daily security monitoring can save you from data breaches (for you and your customers), financial loss, and even a damaged reputation.
> Website and database backups. By saving all website files on an external source daily, you’ll always be able to restore your website instantly, should something catastrophic ever happen.
Weekly maintenance should include plugin and theme updates, malware scans, and a visual inspection.
> Plugin and theme updates. WordPress is constantly being improved and developed, which is why weekly updates are important to ensure your website has the latest features, bug-fixes, functionality, and security.
> Malware scans. Keep your website free of malicious malware by scanning for them weekly.
Monthly maintenance tasks include cleaning the database, performing a loading time test and searching for broken links and may include reporting of traffic and search engine ranking and search engine console errors and issues.
> Clean database. By getting rid of extra, unused data such as spam comments, revisions, and old plugins allows you to decrease the size of your WordPress database, resulting in smaller and faster backups.
> Load time testing. Don’t let a slow loading site drive customers away. By testing weekly, you are making sure your website is loading as fast as it should be.
> Broken links search. Having broken links to your site throughout the internet won’t only mislead your customers, but may also cause inaccurate ranking and indexing from search engines.
> Traffic and search engine ranking reports. See where your website ranks in traffic and search engine queries to better understand how your content is performing
> Search engine console errors and issues. Errors that inhibit a search engine from adding your website to their databases are important to address because they can have a negative impact on your website’s rankings, visibility, and organic traffic.
Website maintenance on an annual basis should include a review of your WordPress setup, a check for content updates, and renewal of your hosting, domain, and licenses.
> Review of WordPress setup. An audit of your WordPress setup will help determine what’s still working and what’s not. As your business grows and adapts, certain aspects of your site may not make sense anymore year after year and will need updating.
> Review for content updates. As your WordPress website setup changes, so does your content. This is the time to update any photos, copy, branding, and links.
> Renewal of hosting, domain, and licenses.
These renewals are vital for keeping your website running and cannot be missed.
Let Someone Else Maintain Your WordPress Website
As you can see, there are a whole slew of regular maintenance tasks that need to be performed to keep your WordPress website running. Most business owners, especially those who outsource the design and development of their website, don’t feel equipped to handle everything that goes into maintaining it.
Hiring a WordPress professional can take the pressure off and give you the peace of mind that your website is being maintained efficiently and effectively. Maintenance tasks that can take 15 minutes for a WordPress expert can end up taking hours for the average person. Their experience and expertise allows them to not only identify critical issues, but to also have the capability to fix the problem. Stop stressing and delegate these tasks to a WordPress professional so that you can maximize your time and focus on what you do best in your business.
Let’s chat about your maintenance needs and how White Ox Creative might help! Click below to book a free discovery call.
Download The Maintenance Checklist
Get a checklist of my best practices for WordPress website maintenance by clicking the button below.