How can you maintain a WordPress website effectively?
Creating a website is one thing but ensuring that the website is delivering results is another ball game. To ensure your WordPress site is providing excellent load time, SEO ranking, user experience, and is secure, it is necessary to maintain your website regularly. Websites today are far more complex than they used to be due to technical complexities, numerous functionalities, business needs, and an evolving digital ecosystem.
Through this article, we will provide you a comprehensive picture regarding the importance of support and maintenance of your WordPress site, things you should keep in mind while doing maintenance, and various other aspects of it.
Factors to Consider for WordPress Website Maintenance
Backing Up the Database and Website
Backing up of website and related databases is always considered as a mandatory practice when it comes to website maintenance. This backup should be stored at multiples places for example the hosting server and the owner’s computer. One fact to note here is that almost every website owner takes backup of their website but not all of them keep the backups updated. The time and frequency of backup may vary depending on the content addition and website modification frequency and should be followed accordingly. Another important advice is to take a backup before any and every upgrade. This can be achieved in the following ways
- Using cPanel X
- Using phpMyAdmin
Checking Website Security
The first defense to keep your website live by preventing it from getting into the wrong hands. To achieve this, you need to keep your website equipped with the latest security updates, the right user access permission depending on the role, and strong access credentials.
These security updates work as a shield to your WordPress website against hackers. The longer you will ignore these updates, the higher is the risk as it is easy to find the weak points on an old software for any intruder. Also, the credentials for admin access should be changed at regular intervals to ensure the privacy of access. These updates should include passwords of the admin area, FTH and SSH accounts, and the database password.
Upgrading WordPress Plugins
Plugins add functions and features to your WordPress website, so it is also important to have the updated ones in place. Outdated plugins can reduce the performance and also can compromise the security of your website. You should make it a practice to update the plugins every month. Sometimes, it is also good to use alternatives as they might be more efficient in terms of performance. To update them, go to Administration > Plugin Screen and there check for the update notification banner below each plugin, and if available click the “upgrade automatically” link, or the “Download” link to do it manually.
Along with upgrade or swapping plugins, it is equally important to remove the outdated ones. To do that,
- Go to the Plugins screen.
- Find the Plugin.
- Click Deactivate.
- Click Delete.
Both will help your website's users to have a better user experience.
Along with the plugins, it is recommended to look for new WordPress releases. These updates bring new and improved features, make your website match the industry standards and fix many bugs that might be facing the current release to improve the overall performance and security. You should also check for PHP versions compatibility while doing a WordPress update. To check for the latest release visit wordpress.org.
Ameex’s 24/7 Multi-skilled Website Support & Maintenance Services is what you should look for while going a WordPress upgrade.
User Experience (UX) Audit
To cut a long story short, User Experience (UX) the key which drives conversions on any website. It ensures that the users have proper navigation throughout your website and can find what they are looking for, without having much difficulty in searching for the right page. The general steps you should follow to have a better user experience of your website are
- Understand the Userbase
- Take Outsider’s Opinions
- Analyze the Pain Points
- Ensure Website Responsiveness
- Test the Navigation
- Bring Modifications
Checking For 404 Errors
This is the most common issue faced by most websites today where a link on a webpage takes you to nowhere. This results in the user getting a “404 - Page Not Found” error. Dead link mostly generates when a web link is closed or changed to some other address. It is strictly advised to change all the relevant link mentions when going for permanent link structure change or modification. Otherwise, all such links should be redirected to the home page for better navigation.
Content and SEO Audit
The aim here is to assess the quality of available content on your website to see how it is performing on the SEO front. A well-managed content audit gives you immense and invaluable information about the grey areas like unoptimized meta-tags, lack of focus keywords, outdated content, topics along with obvious SEO benefits. This information will help you focus and form a strategy to revamp the website from the content’s end. Here are the steps which you should follow while doing this
- Create a Spreadsheet of All Content Pages
- Collect Data
- Using Tools like Screaming Frog
- Review and Customize Data
- Images, Videos, and Infographics
- Meta Tags
- Number of Internal and External Links
- Length of Posts
- Keyword Density
- Readability Score
- Blank Space
- Heading and Sub-Heading
- Consistency in Content
- Outdated or Poorly Written Posts
- Relevance of Content
- Analyze Likes, Shares, and Comments
Ameex’s Free Site Audit is another handy service for you to have a one-time audit of your complete website, covering all major performance-related aspects of a website. Optimizing Database
Any and every traffic-intensive site may act sluggish if the backed database is not properly optimized and might also result in poor delivery of user experience. Your database stores all the content including pages, blogs, forms, links comments, themes, plugins, and website settings. Any negligence may cause an interruption in access to any of these. Optimizing the database will not help you prevent these but also can improve website performance and reduce server load. Things you may keep in mind while optimizing the database are
- Spam Comments
- Post Revisions
- Expired Transients
You may also use tools like WP-Optimize to perform an automized optimization process.
The Maintenance Mode
WordPress maintenance tasks are usually quite harmless. However, sometimes some result in decreased performance temporarily due to certain various dead link checks and optimization plugins. Here, the admin should do these checks on either staging website (if available) or should put the website in maintenance mode while undergoing the maintenance but since WordPress websites do not have a separate staging website as such, they should go for the maintenance mode option.