Although building a new website these days has become much easier and affordable than ever.
Especially, with the help of an effective CMS platform such as WordPress, you possess the power create a website quickly and save more than 40% on your web design cost.
But that’s not the end of the story. Every power in this world comes with a responsibility and so is the case with your WordPress website too.
In order to maintain the freshness & security of your WordPress website, you do need to maintain it regularly.
Of course, managing a WordPress website doesn’t require any special skills, but if you don’t want to spare your time to manage your website, you must hire a web developer to do this job for you.
Whatever the case, you do need to maintain your website.
In this blog post, I have shared 8 essential items that you must maintain for your WordPress website. And if you are going to hire a WordPress developer to maintain your website, then you have to make sure that they do take care of these essential items.
Let’s dive in.
#1 Update WordPress core
Keeping your WordPress website secure & healthy is perhaps your foremost responsibility. And when it comes to securing a WordPress website, updating its core to the latest available version is very important.
How you will come to know when you have to update the WordPress core of your website?
Don’t worry about it. WordPress will keep you notified about the latest version available along with a link to update.
However, it is strongly recommended that you must backup your entire website before you update its WordPress core, just in case your website or some of its parts break after the update.
#2 Update WordPress plugins & themes
Just like updating the core version of your WordPress website, you have to update all the plugins and theme of your website to their latest versions too.
Failing to update the plugins & theme of your WordPress website may result in serious consequences such as below:
- Incompatibility issues which means your website may stop working abruptly.
- Slow loading speed of your webpages.
- Damage of reputation among your website users.
- Damage in SEO rankings.
- Your website could be hacked because of the security issues due to outdated plugins.
I am sure you can’t afford to face any of the above listed consequences just because of not updating your website regularly.
Even if it costs you a bit to hire a WordPress developer to update your website, it’s really worth it. Believe me!
#3 Optimize Loading Speed
The loading speed issue on WordPress websites is not very uncommon. While there could be several reasons of a WordPress website to slow down, but below are some of the major ones:
- Too many plugins installed
- Lack of optimized images
- Outdated WordPress core
- Absence of Gzip compression
A slow loading website can affect your business in 2 major ways. Firstly, it can damage your SEO rankings if you have and secondly it can affect the user-experience on your website badly.
How to check the loading speed of your WordPress website?
There are several free online tools that you can use to check the loading speed of your website such as https://tools.pingdom.com or https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
How to fix your WordPress website loading speed:
- Install a cache plugin and do the necessary settings recommended by the plugin developer (you can do it yourself).
- Activate Gzip compression (you can ask your hosting company to do that).
- Update WordPress core & all the plugins (you may need the help of a WordPress developer)
- Optimize the images on your website (you can do it yourself with the help of a plugin like “EWWW Image Optimizer”
#4 Check broken links
Broken links are the links that lead to nowhere. In other words, when you click on broken links, they show a page with the error “404” or “page not found”.
How broken links are formed?
For any website that has dozens or hundreds of webpages, it’s normal to have broken links. Having broken links is not a problem but not fixing them could be a huge issue.
Broken links can affect your website in majorly two ways:
- These links affect the user-experience on your website badly. When the users find errors like “page not found” on your website, they may quit immediately and never return back again.
- Search engines like Google don’t like a website with broken links. So, if your website too has broken links, chances are that they can affect your SEO rankings.
Is there any tool to find out all the broken links on a website?
The answer is “Yes”. You can use a free tool like “https://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/” and find out all the broken links on your website. Once you find them, you must either fix all such words that are linked to non-existing pages or redirect them (with 301 status) to the homepage.
Perhaps, hiring a website developer would be good if your website has too many broken links and you are unsure how to resolve them.
#5 Website Security
The security of any website is as important as its development. It doesn’t matter how good your website looks and how many features your website has, but if there is no security on your website, it’s of no use.
Why security is so important?
If your website is not secured, it can affect your business in 2 major ways:
- Firstly you may lost the trust of your users who would see the security warnings on your webpages. Once they lose the trust in your website, it may take months or even years to get it back.
- Secondly, search engines hate those websites that has security breaches. Which simply means that if your website is not secured, you may not be able to get enough traffic to your website because you may eventually lost your SEO rankings.
What you can do to secure your WordPress website?
- You must install a security plugin like “All in one WP security & Firewall” on your website and configure the recommended settings.
- You must keep changing the passwords of important access areas such as admin, FTP and control panel.
- Never leave the username as “admin” because everyone, including hackers know that the default username of WordPress websites is “admin”.
- You can also consider changing the admin URL of your website from “wp-admin” to something else. Using the plugin “All in one WP security & Firewall”, you can easily set a custom name for your admin URL.
- You need to upgrade the WordPress core, theme and all the plugins of your website regularly in order to ensure your website’s security.
- Disallow the permissions of important files such as “wp-config”. Again, “All in one WP security & Firewall” plugin can help you to do this as well.
The best part? You don’t need to hire any website developer to do any of the above listed activities.
#6 Website backup
No matter how secure your WordPress website is, you do need to ensure that you always have the latest & functional backup of your website with you.
Because it’s not only the security that can break your website, but sometimes your website may also stop working because of the server issues.
Here are some reasons why you must backup your website regularly as a part of its maintenance:
- You get additional security when you backup your WordPress website regularly.
- You don’t need to spend hours in order to backup your website. Using some of the great WordPress plugins such as “UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin” you can easily automate the backup process.
- You can save your web development cost that you may have to incur to rebuild or fix your website, in the absence of a proper backup.
How frequent you must backup your website?
- If you have a simple informative website that you don’t update regularly, you must backup it on monthly basis or whenever you make any changes to it.
- If you have a blog and you publish blog posts regularly, you can consider to backup your website every week.
- If you have an e-commerce store and you get new orders almost everyday, you must backup your website 2-3 times a week.
#7 SEO Check
A website without any traffic is useless. And when it comes to getting quality traffic on any website, SEO (search engine optimization) is perhaps one of the best, effective yet affordable medium.
While it’s true that most of the WordPress websites are SEO-friendly because of the WordPress framework however you do need to take care of few things in order to ensure that your on-page SEO is in place.
Below are some of the SEO items that you must keep a check on for your website:
- Meta tags: Make sure that each and every page of your website has unique meta tags (title and description). You can also consider integrating Yoast SEO plugin with your WordPress website.
- Image alt tags: Ensuring that all of the images on your website have proper alt tags according to your primary keywords will also help you in SEO.
- Loading speed: If it takes more than 6 seconds to load your website, you must fix it. Search engines don’t like the websites that take forever to load.
- External links: If your website has several external links, it may be passing too much of the link juice to other websites. The best way to fix this issue to put ‘nofollow’ attribute with the anchor tag of those links.
All of the above SEO checks must be carried out regularly because any new additions to your website may affect them over time.
#8 Random Testing
Website development is not a one-time thing. You can’t set it, shut it and forget it.
You may be required to upload additional content or incorporate additional features to your website. But with the each addition of a new feature on your website, some of its existing features may get disturbed.
What’s the solution?
You must do a random testing of your website regularly. While, your random testing may include checking several features, below are some of the essential features that you must make sure to test:
- Responsiveness of your website
- Functionality testing of your forms
- Loading speed of your webpages
- Cross browser compatibility
- Third party plugins functionality
- Broken links
- Website downtime
- Server security
- Important trackers such as Google Analytics, Remarketing tag, Google webmasters etc.