It’s one thing having a website but once it’s there what on earth are you supposed to do with it now. So many people ask me how to maintain a WordPress website, keep in up to date and secure and generally what should you be doing each week or month to keep your website going.
Leaving your website sat there doing nothing not only affects your rankings in the search engine but can also leave your website open to security issues.
5 ways how to maintain your WordPress website
1. Theme and Plugin Updates
WordPress is open source software and on it’s own it doesn’t do much. We add themes to make it look pretty and plugins to add more functionality. These are all made by other developers for use on WordPress. If you’ve got a phone and computer you will know that you regularly get notifications for updates. These can be feature updates where new features or improvements or added or often you get security updates. It’s the same on WordPress, you just get a few! To update your website though is simple! When you have an update it will show under the updates on your WordPress dashboard. Click updates then select the updates available and click update. Plugins can also auto update so it’s even easier for you. Simply go to the plugins page and next to each plugin you will see the auto update feature, just enable and your done! If done manually you will need to be doing them at least once a month. Most people who come to us with site glitches or things going wrong usually haven’t done their updates for months.
2. Backup your website
This is one of the most important ways how to maintain your WordPress website. If you’ve ever worked with technology before, you will know just how much stuff can go wrong! If you’ve spent time and money on your website can you imagine if something went wrong and it all got deleted? I remember once getting a notification that someone was trying to hack my website and by the time I got to it it had all gone. But as I had a backup it was restored within minutes. It’s not just hackers there could be an issue with something going wrong on your website or things could have been messed up when you add a plugin or edit a page and you need to go back to another version from before things started to go wrong. Backups can often be taken by your hosting company (although sometimes there is an extra charge) but you can also backup using the free Updraft Plus plugin. Simply install and go to settings, select a daily, weekly or monthy backup (depending on how often your site changes) and selct a cloud storgage option and connect. Google Drive and Dropbox are available in the free version. It will then automatically back up your website at the specified timings.
Did you know that around 30,000 WordPress sites a DAY are hacked? It’s not just the fact that themes and plugins are made by many different developers but the biggest reason is that around 65% of all the worlds website are built with WordPress. The next platform, Shopify is 6.7% and Wix 2.9% with other platforms lower so you can see that with the majority of sites being built using WordPress why so many get hacked. I use a free plugin called Wordfence that not only provides my site with a firewall but also weekly scans for any vulnerabilities or malicious code on the website. Think of it as a burgler alarm, Wordfence then sends you an email after each scan to let you know so you can take further action. Once set up you don’t need to do anything unless alerted.
4. New Content
Whatever platform your website is built on it’s new and updated content that keeps it going. Just having a website sat there that’s never updated isn’t good for search engine rankings as Google can see when you add new content when it crawls your website. How annoyed do you get when you land on a website and the information is really out of date, so you click off. Visitors clicking off the website also shows Google something is up. At the end of the day Google is a business just like us and their business is to give us relevant results for what we are searching for. If it’s out of date it’s not good for business. To remedy this go into your site at least once a month and make sure content is up to date. A blog is also a really good way to keep adding new and fresh content to your website.
5. Health Checks
Is your website in need of an MOT? WordPress has a built in Site health function (under tools) this will let you know if there’s anything that could be hindering your site performance and useability. Take a look to see if anything comes up on your health check. It’s also good to pop into your site at least once a month to make sure everythings working and have a plugin clear out every six months, as the more plugins you have the slower your site can become (and the more glitches can happen). If you no longer need the plugin then deactivate and delete!
So that’s 5 simple ways how to maintain your WordPress website. All of these can be done for free but some people worry about doing anything with their website. In that case there are people like us who can help! In our monthly membership site The Tech Tavern we have weekly Q&As and SOS Zoom calls so you can ask questions or get things done as a group with my help.