Maintaining your WordPress site is time-consuming and a little tedious. After all, isn’t your site there to serve you? Why does maintenance matter? A WordPress site is not merely a one-time build that’s ready to sustain itself throughout the life of your company, brand or blog. Just as a physical building you might make for a brick-and-mortar location requires regular maintenance to repair breaks, clean up messes and spruce up the landscaping from week to week, your website needs some routine care to keep it in tip-top shape. Your WordPress site should ideally grow and improve as your business does. After all, it’s your primary platform for promoting your brand and connecting with your customers. Neglecting any one component of your website maintenance for too long results in an adverse impact for your customers, security and overall performance.
Side effects of an infrequently updated site
If you go too long between updates or have been putting them off because you are overwhelmed with the amount of work that goes into regular updates, your site begins to show signs of neglect. Here are some of the indicators of an infrequently updated WordPress site.
Page load problems
Leave your site unattended for too long and bloat, like buggy plugins and unnecessary content, will bog your pages down. Long page-load times and crashing pages make your user experience unpleasant, and these issues may deter customers from learning about your brand or shopping with you in the long term if the problems are left unattended.
Poor SEO performance
In addition to harming the user friendliness of your site, page bloat, crashes, and posts that contain broken links and other irrelevant information hurt your SEO over time. Your search rankings fall if unattended pages continue to cause problems with user interaction and page views on your site.
Run a better business
Clearly, no one wants to deal with the problems we just covered. And the solution – regular WordPress site maintenance – is a relatively straightforward one. Below are some of the biggest areas that you should focus on for your routine maintenance checks.
If you sell products on your site, update product pages regularly to reflect the information and pricing that you assign to them. Product updates, photos and prices are all things you should monitor and update regularly for the best representation.
Boost social media shares
Not only does updated product pages keep your customers apprised to the most relevant information about your products, but they can improve the likelihood of getting social media shares and keeping your clients in the loop on commonly asked questions. Products that speak for themselves help capture more sales as you spend less time answering emails about product questions or outdated pricing.
Since your WordPress site acts as your portal to the vast world of web customers, it’s imperative that you keep your brand information in top shape on your site. Keep logos and other relevant brand information updated regularly. Take time to look through your content to ensure it remains with your brand identity. Making a concerted effort to unify your brand identity across your WordPress site helps you to better connect with your desired audience and help you achieve better SEO rankings.
Neglected WordPress sites are a wide open target for the safety threats of all kinds. From hacking attempts to transaction vulnerabilities, security threats lurk around every broken link and outdated plugin embedded into your site. Keeping your site regularly updated, as we’ll address in the next section, may deter potential security breaches and keep your information and customers safe.
Areas to regularly check
Now that you know the potential problems that an infrequently updated WordPress site can pose, and some of the tangible ways that updates can support your brand and online business, let’s look at some of the areas of your WordPress site that you should update frequently. If you maintain these key areas of your site, you will have happy customers, a highly functional site, and reduced security threats.
WordPress updates are vital to the health of your site. Programmers release updates when they detect security threats, and WordPress developers create a new way to make your site more functional. Updates typically don’t take a ton of time to install, and they can make a night and day difference in the functionality of your WordPress site. When administrators release an update, you can access it and learn all about what it’s supposed to do from your admin dashboard. Follow the steps to ensure the update is properly installed and applied to your WordPress site.
Your plugins provide a lot of added functionality to your site. But when they’re out of date or infrequently updated, plugins can bog down your pages and expose you and your customers to potential security threats. You should regularly check for plugin updates as they’re released. Similar to WordPress updates, plugin updates patch security flaws and add functionality to your plugin performance. These updates, in turn, add new functionality and security for your WordPress site.
Reworking the website
Depending on the number of your plugins, searching for updates and installing them can take up a significant chunk of time. You may also come across overlap in the functionality of your plugins or ones that haven’t been updated in such a long time that they probably shouldn’t remain on your site. As you dive into plugin maintenance, you may need to rework certain portions of your website to remove redundancy or outdated plugins. Overall, this improves your site performance and user experience, but updating your plugins may entail a tedious task at the outset.
Have you changed your password since you began using WordPress? Many users overlook this simple but crucial component to WordPress site maintenance. Using an old password increases your vulnerability, in particular against brute-force attacks. Set a password change reminder on your phone or add it to a to-do list so that you don’t forget to update your credentials from time to time. Whether you want to do it monthly, quarterly, twice a year or yearly, your frequent updates make your site even harder to hack. Stumped on coming up with unique passwords over and over again? There are plugins that you can find that will generate random passwords at your specified intervals to help you stay on track.
Sprucing up your WordPress site involves more than behind-the-scenes maintenance. Keeping your pages fresh and presentable makes visitors more likely to come by and click around your site. A well-maintained site is more likely to have favorable SEO rankings as well. Perform general maintenance regularly, even daily, to keep things from piling up. Even combing through your site for a few minutes each week makes a huge difference long-term. Have a dedicated service take care of regular cleanups, so you have peace of mind about the performance of your WordPress site.
Steps for cleanup
First, look through your posts and find old drafts that need to be deleted. If you haven’t worked on a post in a while, let it go. If you have a significant amount of work or you update something to be released at a later date, store the in-progress file elsewhere on your computer to lighten up your site load. Examine your live posts and pages that have comments and weed out irrelevant or spammy comments. Make sure to continually engage with interested readers and customers by replying to their comments and answering their questions. Remove any other content that you feel is no longer necessary or detracts from the purpose of your brand or site. This helps you to present your best face on each site page and improves your user experience.
Backups are essential to running your WordPress site. If you’re not already backing up your site, run – do not walk – to the nearest backup service that you can find! Regular backups store your hard work, site information and customer data in a secure location for later reference or reboot in the event of a site crash or loss. Since your site is such a large and important part of your brand and may be your primary shopping platform, you absolutely cannot afford downtime due to improper backup maintenance. If you have a backup plan in place, regularly review your backup periods and ensure that your content is where you know how to access it. If you’re uncertain about how backups work or what you need to know about your backup plan, get in touch with your backup provider to learn more.
These maintenance recommendations may seem like a lot to handle, and it’s true that WordPress site maintenance is not the simplest of tasks. If your plate is full or you are uncertain about one or more of the above aspects of WordPress maintenance, let us know!
We offer WordPress website maintenance solutions for businesses of all sizes and budgets, but starts at $14.99/month.