A lot of people set up their WordPress website, add new content every now and then, and ignore the rest of it. This is a mistake.
WordPress maintenance is a crucial part of your online presence. Without it, you’re vulnerable to hackers, plugin conflicts, outdated code causing trouble with newer browsers, and – ultimately – your ideal clients or customers going elsewhere, because your site just doesn’t work the way it should.
Today, I’ll share with you three areas where you need to perform regular WordPress maintenance.
WordPress maintenance: updates
Plugins, themes, and WordPress itself need updating from time to time. And WordPress is clever enough to tell you when you need them. Cool, huh?
The easiest way to find your updates is the little ‘update’ icon in the top admin bar. It’ll also show you the number of updates available. Click on that to go to the main Updates page.
This will break down for you what needs updating. At the top of the page, WordPress will tell you if the core files need to be updated. Below, you’ll see sections for Themes and Plugins.
You can do all themes (or plugins) at once, or choose to do one at a time. I’m not sure there’s a difference in how much time it takes either way.
WordPress maintenance: housekeeping
Remove any plugins or themes you’re not using anymore. Often, hackers use these to get into your site. Plus, they take up space that you could use for other things.
Go through your Media Library and remove any images you’re not using. This will free up disk space on your hosting account.
Check for dead links using the W3C Link Checker. This does take a while, but it’s worth the effort!
Check that all your opt-in and contact forms are working, and that your e-commerce pages (if you have them) are working as well. I learned firsthand that if a customer tells you your online shop isn’t working, they won’t come back, even after you fix it!
WordPress maintenance: keeping hackers out
Oh, hackers. The scourge of the Internet.
You know you don’t want them in YOUR site. So protect it.
I’ve written about this a couple of times before (here and here), because it’s so important. If you don’t have time to go back and read those posts, everything I’ve mentioned already in this blog post will help, and the suggestions below.
Never have a user on your system called ‘admin’ – this is the first way hackers will try to get in.
You gotta back up your site. How often? At least as often as you add new content. You can do this with a plugin like VaultPress or Backup Buddy, or set it up on your web host.
Get a good security plugin like Sucuri or iThemes Security.
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