Pretty much everything you have in life requires maintenance. If you don’t stay on top of caring for your car, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. If you don’t maintain a healthy diet, you could end up paying for it in medical bills. And so on and so forth.
What’s this got to do with WordPress? Well it turns out that WordPress sites are just like anything else and, without careful maintenance, you could be leaving yourself open to all kinds of catastrophes, from cyber attacks and hacking to slow loading times and decreasing web traffic.
So how can you protect yourself? If you follow these eight steps and apply each of them regularly, your chances of suffering from hackers and other online threats can be dramatically reduced. So let’s get into it.
- Back Up Your Files Daily – A lot of maintenance tasks can be scheduled monthly, but this is a big one. You should backup all your website’s files every day, including the WordPress database. This can seem like a time-consuming chore, but there are plenty of apps and plugins on the market which can automate this process for you. Just browse through the WordPress Plug-in Store and find the one that suits your needs!
- Update Everything! – When you log into your page, you can easily get overwhelmed with all the little notifications and exclamation points, particularly if you have a lot of plug-ins. Even so, a lot of these updates shouldn’t be ignored. Make sure you don’t just log-in and push past the barrage of update notifications. Try to set time aside at least once a week to go through and update all your plug-ins, layouts, and WordPress itself.
- Scan for Malware – This is something you should also take time to do on a weekly basis. Malware attacks can be sneaky and incredibly damaging. Without constant vigilance on your part, they can destroy your site, infect your visitors, and just generally wreak havoc. On the other hand, with all the plug-ins available to combat them, scanning for malware can take just a couple minutes of your time.
- Visual Check-Up – Although we all love to rely on plug-ins and apps, sometimes we have to actually do a good, old-fashioned visual once-over of our website. Even if you don’t think anything has happened, you should make sure to look through your website at least once a week and check on everything. Look especially for formatting problems, broken links or images, and make sure everything is loading quickly and properly. Any one of these things can drive down your page’s SEO score and cost you valuable site traffic!
- Change Passwords – I know, I know… we all hate changing our passwords. It’s frustrating having to remember a whole new string of letters and digits to get into our important stuff, but remember, passwords exist for a reason! Rotating your password can provide you with a vital layer of security and help keep ill-intentioned people out of your business.
- Delete Unnecessary Stuff – A lot of us can fall into the trap of becoming digital hoarders. From un-used plugins and themes to all those post ideas you started but never got around to finishing, you might have a lot of unnecessary stuff clogging up your WordPress. Delete them! I know it can be hard, but just like going through the closet and finally admitting to yourself that you’re just never going to wear that sweater that Aunt Patty gave you, it’s important. It can speed up your site and make your general workspace cleaner and more efficient. Just do it!
- Check Your Site Speed – I know we’ve already suggested that you check your site speed by just loading your site and going through all the pages, but sometimes a formal speed test can be helpful as well. There’s a lot of plug-ins and tools which can give you an actual number on your site’s speed and recommend solutions to anything that may be slowing down its load time.
- Update your Personal Info – Hopefully your site has an “About Us” page or something like that. If so, you want to make sure to update it no less than once a year. Make sure that it accurately reflects who you are as a company, add in any new achievements, or alter your mission statement to more properly show where your company is headed.
It might sound like a lot, but trust me, it’s worth it. And, like anything else, if you stay on top of it, it’ll take a lot less time than if you actually suffer a cyber attack. So take a few minutes out of your busy schedule each day to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to protect your site and your business, it’ll be time well spent!
We have created a checklist that you can use FREE of charge to stay on top of your site maintenance – CLICK HERE to email us and request your copy.