OK, so I know that having to maintain a WordPress website is not exciting. Let’s be honest, it’s downright dull. The thought of it even puts me to sleep.
But I promise that getting into these 5 tips will not only save you time in future but they’ll keep your readers happy too. Now doesn’t that put a better spin on it?
Happy readers become loyal customers who keep coming back for more.
If you get into a routine and keep on top of it, I promise it won’t take up much of your time. It’s when you neglect it for a while that you might need to take some time out to get it back under control. Luckily for you, I’ve got you covered, with these habits to maintain a WordPress website.
I know I’m like a broken record when it comes to talking about backups, but honestly you have no idea how important they are when it comes to maintaining a WordPress website.
Why do I need to backup my website?
I recently helped out a blogger who was in a terrible situation where she needed an income but for various reasons couldn’t get a ‘normal’ job. She’d stopped blogging a couple of years ago, but knew that it was possible to create a business from a blog. So she managed to find a backup from about 2 or 3 years ago which meant that I was able to restore her blog back to that point in time.
Not everyone is going to find themselves in that kind of situation, but it proves my point. Backups are really important and you never know when you might need them.
How often do I need to backup?
How long is a piece of string? It totally depends on how often you make changes. When I say making changes I mean anything from fixing typos to adding new posts, pages and services. I suppose you need to ask yourself, how much work am I willing to risk losing?
It’s also important to backup your blog before you update or add new plugins, so if you have any problems you can reset your blog back to the way it was just before you made those changes.
I make changes to both my websites almost daily so I back up both blogs every day and I’ll also do an extra backup before I make any major changes to WordPress or my plugins.
How do I backup my website?
You can either back up your site yourself, or you can check to see if your host does it for you. Personally, I like to do it myself, for peace of mind more than anything else. I like to know exactly how often my backups are done and where they’re saved, so they’re close to hand if I need them.
I use the plugin UpdraftPlus (free version) for my backups. The free version lets you set how often you want the back up to run e.g. daily, weekly, fortnightly but not at a specific time, which the paid version does. You can set it up to save your backups to a few places, I keep mine on my Google drive.
Keep your website up to date
This is right up there with backing up as one of the top 2 most important things you can do to maintain a WordPress website. 30% of the whole internet is powered by WordPress. Which makes it a prime target for hackers. Heaven forbid that you ever get hacked but anything is possible.
And don’t think that because you don’t get much traffic/are not a household name in blogging that it couldn’t happen to you. Hackers don’t do Google searches to find targets.
I’m not trying to scare you, just make you realise that this kind of thing can and does happen. I don’t want it to happen to you.
WordPress updates often include security updates, as the most recent version at the time of writing (5.1.1) did. If your host doesn’t automatically upgrade WordPress for you, make sure you do it as soon as you see the notification in your WordPress dashboard. After you’ve taken a backup, of course 😉
Hackers can also find holes in plugin security too, so always make sure you keep your plugins up to date too.
Check your social media sharing buttons work
As bloggers and small business owners, our main aim is to get our content out there and seen by as many people as possible. And a great way of doing that is via social media, which brings us to your social media sharing buttons. If you don’t have them on your blog posts you should. I like to use the Social Warfare plugin for my site.
Using social media sharing buttons goes a long way to help with that – if they work. You should regularly check that your sharing buttons work and that your Twitter handle is included in tweets.
Sharing buttons not working will annoy your readers and means that less people get to see your posts. You might also find that other bloggers are less likely to share your post if your Twitter handle isn’t included in the generated tweet.
I personally like to thank people who share my blog posts after they’ve read them. Having your Twitter handle in the tweet means that you’ll know when someone shares your post.
Check for broken links
Broken links in your blog posts can harm your Google search ranking and irritate your readers. A broken link is a link to a page or website that doesn’t exist any more. Checking for them is really easy to do, and fixing them can be a really quick job if you keep on top of it.
Using an online link checker
You can use a website to check your blog for broken links. You enter your URL and it will then scan your site for any links pointing to pages that don’t exist.
I like to use the online broken link checker because I like the way it shows my broken link results. I’ve not tried the others yet, but I will do at some point if only to report back here.
Plugin – not recommended
I’m only including this here so that you have the full picture. Using a plugin to check for broken links can make your website run slowly. A slow running blog means a worse user experience for your readers and it can also harm your Google search ranking.
Delete spam comments
If you use a spam filtering plugin like Akismet you probably don’t notice spam comments left on your blog posts, because they’re blocked. But those comments are still saved on your blog’s database, taking up room until you delete them. The WP-Optimise plugin tells you how many you spam comments you have on your site and lets you delete them.
So there you have it, 5 tips to maintain a WordPress website. Admit it do you do these things as often as you should?