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WordPress Website Maintenance, Updates and Security

WordPress Website Maintenance – a crucial part of running your website that is often overlooked and sometimes even avoided.

However, in order for your WordPress website to run smoothly while side-stepping security risks, maintaining your website should be as important to you as your business itself.

wordpress maintenance & security

By including WordPress Website maintenance tasks in your monthly budget, you avoid having to spend time on attending to issues when they show up, because they will inevitably show up.

Compare your website to your car; you don’t wait for your car’s engine to completely seize before trying to fix it. Instead, you check your oil and water regularly, you fill it with the right fuel, you pump up your tyres and every now again you give the exterior a good polish.

As they say, prevention is better than cure and, in this article, we explain why WordPress maintenance is your best online ally against website hacking and dysfunction.

WordPress Website Maintenance

Maintenance includes but is not limited to:

  • plugin updates
  • theme updates
  • core WordPress updates
  • uptime monitoring
  • website backups
  • security

Why is WordPress Maintenance Important?

Your WordPress website is made up of several parts which include your software, hosting, themes and plugins to name a few.

In addition, you add your own content made up of text, images, videos and more. So, in order to keep your website running smoothly, you need to make sure that each of its individual parts are taken care of.

Now, we know that when it comes to your business, you are inclined to want to manage and monitor everything yourself so you can keep a close eye on it all.

However, by using maintenance and support services for your WordPress website, you free up valuable time that can be used to focus on your customers and other important things like growing your business.

Important WordPress Maintenance Tasks

The first and most important step in maintaining your WordPress website is improving its security so it stays protected from hackers and other forms of malware.

Once you have properly locked down your site, you can start focusing on the general maintenance tasks:

Change your passwords

Because your passwords are the first line of defence against unauthorised access, they should always be unique and most of all strong.

However, even the strongest passwords may become vulnerable. Therefore, it’s important to change them on a regular basis. This includes passwords for every area of your site from admin, to SSH accounts and your WordPress database.

The best way to stay on track with password changes is to ensure all users of your WordPress website make use of a reputable password manager.

Update WordPress

Although WordPress has a built-in system which manages updates, there may be a chance that you miss an update due to an expired plugin or theme license.

Therefore, always use the latest version of WordPress, keep all themes and plugins updated and run a manual update check every now and then to make sure you never miss an update again.

Back it up

Easily one of the most important maintenance tasks is performing a backup of your website. We hate to say it, but every website is a potential victim of hacking or a complete server crash.

So, in the event of one of these digital disasters, you have no reason to sweat as long as you have a complete and recent backup of your website.

Yes, there are many excellent backup plugins for WordPress and yes, you should still perform a manual backup once in a while.

Lastly, always (and we do mean always) check that your backup files have been properly stored in your designated location and make sure that location is secure. Make sure your backup actually works!

Fix your links

Any good website contains a number of external links to other websites. However, links and websites are not immortal; some may move to new locations and others simply disappear, rendering your links broken and ineffective.

Broken links, broken images or poorly formatted links all cause bad user experience, often resulting in an increased bounce rate.

However, external links that work properly play a major role in improving your website’s SEO by increasing your site’s relevance and boosting its value.

Monitor your comments

Spam is an unfortunate reality in the digital world. Luckily there are plugins that help you keep spam away from your website.

However, as no moderating robot is perfect, there is the chance that legitimate comments may be marked as spam.

Therefore, it’s important to take a look at your spam comments to make sure that all comments marked as spam are indeed spam before deleting them.

Perform thorough security audits

A thorough content and SEO audit using the relevant analytics can help you see where your visitors are coming from and what exactly they are doing during their visit to your website.

This in-depth information on user activity can help you improve your content in such a way that your visitors are converted into subscribers or buyers.

Furthermore, this information allows you to update your content by using the highest-ranking keywords, adding new images or information and creating useful, internal links.

Check your performance

Your website’s performance is affected every time you install a new plugin or add new content.

Ongoing performance checks help you ensure that your website and all its parts are functioning together and as they should.

A website that performs well doesn’t only improve user experience but also improves search engine ranking, and for this reason it’s one of the most important maintenance tasks you can perform.

Optimise your database

Your WordPress database contains all your comments, content, settings and users. This is all necessary data that needs to be stored.

However, as unnecessary data gathers over time, the size of your backup starts to increase which in turn affects how easily you can download, upload and restore your backups.

Optimising your database ensures that your database performs well while keeping it free from unwanted digital clutter.

Test your forms

There are many form-builder plugins that help you create forms on your website which are there to help you collect payments, distribute surveys, send emails and generate leads.

However, some misconfigurations on your hosting server may cause the forms to stop sending the emails and so communication between you and your visitor is lost.

Thorough WordPress maintenance includes checking on a regular basis that all your forms work properly and fixing them if they don't.

Perform a visual inspection

Taking a visual tour through your website is a fun and easy way to check that your website looks exactly how you want it to look.

This allows you to make the necessary changes which improve the visual appearance and user-friendliness of your website.

Remember to do this inspection on different browsers and also different devices from desktop computers to android and iOS phones.

Remove obsolete users

Unnecessary users who are still active on your website poses a serious security risk. These users could be former employees, employees who have switched divisions or technical support teams that have come and gone.

Either way, these users should be removed as they may provide thoroughfare for hackers and other malware.

Delete unused plugins and themes

Unused plugins and themes are not only a security risk but can also saturate your website with unnecessary data which can negatively affect your website’s performance.

Once you have deleted them, it’s important that you clean up your WordPress cache immediately to ensure that your website loads only with the necessary plugins.

ITM – Website Design Cape Town

WordPress maintenance is an integral part of online security and one simply cannot exist without the other.

As part of our comprehensive online services, we perform all the necessary WordPress maintenance tasks, ensuring that your website not only runs smoothly but is also safe from digital danger.

For more information about our services, or to find out more about the importance of regular website maintenance, please contact us.

We also provide a comprehensive Security Audit Service for WordPress websites, that includes the above and a lot more - Get a quote here.
 

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