Last updated on August 1st, 2018 at 06:18 pm
You started a WordPress site because you either wanted to blog or use it for business purposes. The last thing you want to worry about is WordPress maintenance tasks.
If you’re managing your own sites, then you need to at least know about the basic WordPress maintenance tasks that can’t be overlooked.
Think of WordPress like your car that’s parked in your driveway. You love the reliability of knowing that , it will get you from point A to point B.
It’s only reliable because your mechanic performs routine checkups. If you neglected those checkups long enough, eventually, your vehicle would leave you stranded on the side of the road.
When you took it back to your mechanic, you would end up paying a lot more for neglecting the minor things. You could’ve saved yourself money and headaches if only you would’ve performed the routine checkups.
WordPress is no different. It’s a software platform that requires updates from time to time. These updates are required in order to patch old bugs or introduce new features that will make your life easier. If you’ve never updated it before, read this tutorial.
If you neglect to update your site, it leaves it vulnerable for hackers to inject it with malicious code. You will then have to pay someone to clean and remove malicious code from your site. Or worse start your site over from scratch.
Learn How To Maintain Your WordPress Site
You’ve decided to maintain your own website because you either don’t have the money to hire someone or you are a DIY’er. Regardless of why you’ve chosen to learn WordPress, it’s important to realize that it’s not always hands off.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to have to get your hands dirty with code.
Almost all of the basic WordPress maintenance tasks will be quick and easy implement. If you’re lucky, you won’t run into any type of technical errors.
But the truth is that every self-hosted WordPress blogger will encounter some type of technical issue when working on their blogs. Unfortunately, that’s just the way that it is.
What Happens If I Neglect My Maintenance?
If decide not to maintain your WordPress website, you may notice that it won’t load as fast as when you first installed it.
The site that you’ve been working so hard on will also become vulnerable because the software is out of date.
Why It’s Vital To Maintain
A client of mine neglected to maintain their own website. When they contacted me, their site was down because they had acquired some PHP code in the footer of one of their files. If they had just taken the time to update the WordPress core, maybe they wouldn’t of had to deal with these issues?
I really don’t know for sure if these technical issues occurred because they didn’t update their site. I do know that if when you take the time to implement the maintenance, you will be much happier. Your website will run much smoother and you can focus on building your business and not dealing with technical errors.
While these maintaining WordPress can be a headache at times, the great news is that you won’t have to do it every day.
Must Do Tasks
I am going to share with you some of the must-do tasks that shouldn’t be avoided. These are the same tasks I do for both my personal sites as well as the websites I maintain for my clients.
1. Automatic Backups
Most of my clients do not understand the importance of having a website backup. They just assume that they won’t ever have to worry about getting hacked or needing a backup. If you have a WordPress blog or website, you need to ensure you make a backup of it on a regular basis.
Many hosting companies now offer backup services as an incentive to sign up with them. This makes it easy for someone who doesn’t want to invest in a paid plugin or backup subscription service.
Managed WordPress hosting takes care of all this and ensures that your site is backed up every night.
Two companies that I always recommend to my clients are:
Both of them make nightly backups. Isn’t it nice to know that someone is watching your back?
If you don’t have a backup plan in place but are happy with your current hosting account, contact their customer service and ask them if they are backing up your site nightly.
I consider this one of the most important things you can do to maintain your site. If something does happen and you lose your site, you can easily restore your website and pick up from where you left off before the tragedy hit.
WordPress is constantly updated to patch bugs and improve features. Most of us choose to use it because it is easy to learn and makes our lives easier.
There are 3 types of software on a WordPress site that need to be updated on a regular basis. Themes, plugins and the WordPress core. So let’s run through each one and show you how to tell if your site needs to be updated and get started updating.
Updating The WordPress Core
At the time of this writing
WordPress 4.6 WordPress 4.9.6 is the current version. So if you are using an older version, now is the time to update it.
The best way to do that is to use setup your site on your local server and do the update locally. This will help you determine whether or not you will have any conflicts with your live site.
Does My Site Need An Update?
The only way to find out whether your site needs to be updated is to log in to your dashboard. If it needs to be updated, you will see something like this. I took a screenshot of one of my client’s sites to show you where you will find the update message.
Plugin and Theme Updates
Just like the WordPress core, you never want to neglect to update the plugins and themes. Updates for themes and plugins are vital because they patch bugs and make your site more secure.
Log into your main dashboard and head on over to the plugins section. As you can see from the image below, you get an update message telling you that you need to update to the newest version. If you are unfamiliar with working with plugins, be sure to read this complete beginners guide to WordPress Plugins.
Delete Unused Themes and Plugins
When I first started using WordPress I was guilty of leaving all the pre-installed themes and plugins that came with an installation. I’m not really sure why I did it.
I guess I wanted quick access to another theme if I chose to change the look and feel of the site.
Some of my clients do this and then they wonder why their website is slow. Here’s a screenshot of a client’s site that has several unused out-of-date themes installed.
If your dashboard looks like this, please take the time to delete all the inactive themes.
Unused plugins and themes don’t make your site run any better. In fact, if you have too many themes and plugins installed, your site will act sluggish and will take forever to load. All this unnecessary software makes it vulnerable to hackers.
Only keep the plugins and themes that you’re using. If you’re not using them, it’s time to delete them.
Optimizing Your Database
Chances are you just learned how to create a database when you started blogging. Now it’s time to optimize it? As your site starts to grow, your database begins to get cluttered with post revisions, spam comments, and fragments that get left behind when you delete plugins.
There’s a great plugin that makes this extremely easy and it’s called WPOptimize. Just install it and click a button. Let me walk you through the process of how it’s done.
Let’s Optimize A WordPress Database?
I haven’t optimized my database in a while, so let me optimize it and show you how easy it can be done.
Install the WPOptimize plugin and activate it.
Once you activate it, head on over to it and the plugin will show you whether or not your database needs to be optimized.
As you can see from this image, my database needs to be optimized. The plugin will even go as far as to tell you how much space you can save simply by optimizing the site.
Click the process button.
Once the database has been optimized, the plugin will give you a quick overview of what was deleted.
Uninstall the plugin from your dashboard. Whenever you need to optimize your database again, you can always re-install it. I created a more in-depth tutorial that walks you through on a WordPress database cleanup.
Checking Errors And Cleaning Them Up
As your website starts to grow and you add more posts and pages, it may start to get crawl errors. These errors are invisible to the naked eye. Your site may still function perfectly and will make it difficult to know that you are getting penalized.
The only way you will notice something is wrong, is you may start to see a drop in organic traffic.
The Google Search Console will help you find these errors. I recommend logging into your dashboard at least once a month to see if you have any errors. Log in and head on over to Crawl and then click on Crawl Errors to see if your site has any errors.
If your site does have some errors, it’s important to take care of them right away. Most likely it will be something simple like a broken link or a category tag that you no longer use.
Either way, it’s important to become familiar with the console as it will help you monitor your website.
If you don’t want to deal with all these WordPress maintenance tasks, then you can also migrate your site to a managed hosting account. They will take care of all the vital updates so you can focus on growing your website.
You will still have to monitor your site for crawl errors. But the search console makes it easy to manage and take care of any errors.
Hand Picked Articles For You
- WordPress Database Clean Up
- 35 Things To Do After Installing WordPress
- 6 Crucial Blog Configurations
If you’re running a WordPress site, do you take the time to perform these WordPress maintenance tasks? If so how much time do you spend on these tasks?
Hand Picked Articles for You:
- Is WordPress Easy to Use What You Need to Know and How to Fix It
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As a new blogger, you won’t know everything about WordPress when you start. The important thing is to just start your blog and figure it out as you grow. The truth is that no one knows everything about WordPress when they get started.
Did you do you own maintenance for WordPress when you started? If not how did you handle it? Let me know, I’d love to read about it in the comments below.
Recommended Blogging Resources:
- Free 12 Day Blogging Bootcamp
- Article about using Yoast SEO for optimizing your blog posts and how to do it.
- SEMRush Free Trial to Gather Low Competitive Keywords
- Quiz: Which theme is best for your blog?
- If you want to build an email list and send newsletters, I recommend ConvertKit (starts at $29)