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The Essential WordPress Maintenance Checklist

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The Essential WordPress Maintenance Checklist

Nov 27, 2023

By, Editorial Team

WordPress

As a complex content management system, WordPress requires vigilance to keep it running optimally. Like any other complex machine, it needs regular maintenance and care.

Without ongoing upkeep, problems creep in:

  • Pages load slowly due to bloated databases and cluttered files.
  • Bugs and quirks multiply as themes and plugins age.
  • Security holes open up as vulnerabilities emerge.
  • Content becomes stale and rankings drop as sites neglected.

But with a rigorous maintenance plan, you can swat down these problems before they spread and cause real damage.

Think of WordPress maintenance like changing the oil in your car. You schedule regular check-ups to catch small issues early, keeping everything running smoothly for the long haul.

In this guide, we’ll cover the key tasks that make up a bulletproof WordPress maintenance checklist.

Why WordPress Maintenance is Important

Before we jump into the checklist, it’s worth reviewing exactly why ongoing maintenance is so critical for WordPress sites.

BY NOT PERFORMING WORDPRESS WEBSITE MAINTENANCE

  • Performance decreases – images bloat, databases swell, and caching disappears. Sites slow to a crawl.
  • Bugs multiply – conflicts between themes, plugins and WordPress core lead to strange errors.
  • Security holes crop up as vulnerabilities emerge in outdated plugins and WordPress core.
  • Rankings sink as content becomes outdated and SEO best practices fall by the wayside.
  • User experience suffers from odd glitches, slow page speeds, and downtime.
  • Technical debt piles up and small issues turn into huge headaches.
But with a solid maintenance plan, you avoid these pitfalls and keep your site running like a well-oiled machine.

Essential WordPress Maintenance Checklist

Weekly WordPress Maintenance Checks

Some tasks need to be done on a consistent weekly basis:

  • Scan site for malware – Use a trusted plugin to check for any new vulnerabilities or malicious code.
  • Monitor site speed – Check for performance drops using PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom. Diagnose and optimize any issues.
  • Review updates – Scan the WordPress updates list and install any crucial bug fixes or security patches.
  • Check errors – Review error logs for fatal PHP errors, 500 errors or other major issues. Seek help with fixes if needed.
  • Backup site – Create a fresh backup of your database, themes, plugins, and uploads. Make sure it restores properly.
  • Check forms – Test contact forms, registration, payments etc. to ensure they are working and capturing data.
  • Review spam comments – Check the comments marked as spam by your anti-spam plugin. Tweak filters as needed.
  • Analyze new content – Review new pages and posts for SEO opportunities – titles, meta data, keywords, alt text.

Monthly WordPress Maintenance Jobs

Important tasks to tackle on a monthly basis:

  • Update WordPress, plugins & themes – Download and install the latest versions to stay on top of bug fixes and new features.
  • Audit users – Remove any suspicious, outdated or spam user accounts. Adjust permissions if warranted.
  • Tweak SEO – Expand keyword targeting, optimize content, improve site structure and internal linking step-by-step.
  • Compare site speed – Review monthly speed tests for changes or drops. Troubleshoot decreases.
  • Check analytics – Scan Google Analytics and metrics software for changes in traffic, conversions, rankings etc. Respond appropriately.
  • Validate HTML & SSL – Recheck site’s HTML validity and SSL certificate expiration. Renew cert early if needed.
  • Update internal docs – Make any changes needed to WordPress tutorials, manuals or documentation used by staff.
  • Assess content – Identify outdated, underperforming or irrelevant content that needs to be refreshed or replaced.
  • Test backup restoration – Download a full site backup and restore it on a staging environment. Refine backup procedures as needed.

Yearly WordPress Maintenance Tasks

Bigger maintenance jobs that should happen annually:

  • Audit all plugins – Deactivate and remove unnecessary plugins to improve performance and limit security issues.
  • Review themes – Consider switching to a more modern, well-supported WordPress theme.
  • Change passwords – Update WordPress login, hosting, FTP and database passwords to improve security.
  • Evaluate site architecture – Assess if site structure could be improved or migrated to multisite for easier management.
  • Migrate to HTTPS – Purchase an SSL certificate and move site to a secure HTTPS protocol.
  • Update permalinks – Refresh site permalink structure to optimize for SEO and site changes.
  • Clean up database – Remove spam comments, orphaned data and other database clutter to improve performance.
  • Switch web hosts – If site has outgrown current hosting resources, research and switch to optimized WordPress hosting.
  • Test accessibility – Use online tools to find and address any accessibility issues.
  • Refresh internal docs – Fully update WordPress tutorials, manuals and documentation.

Automating WordPress Maintenance with Plugins

Thankfully, you don’t need to handle every maintenance job manually. Take advantage of the many WordPress plugins created to automate common maintenance tasks:

  • ManageWP – From one dashboard, it can handle updates, performance monitoring, backups, uptime tracking and more.
  • UpdraftPlus – Offers extensive backup options including scheduled backups and offsite cloud storage.
  • Wordfence – Scans site for malware and alerts you to emerging security threats.
  • WP Optimize – Cleans up bloated databases by removing spam comments, stale data etc.
  • WP Maintenance Mode – Runs pre-scheduled maintenance routines including updates, backups and more.

The right maintenance plugins can significantly reduce the burden on your team. Do your research to find the best fits for your WordPress site needs and budget.

WordPress Site Maintenance is Essential

In conclusion, maintaining a WordPress website is akin to regular check-ups for a well-functioning machine. Neglecting upkeep can lead to performance issues, security vulnerabilities, and a subpar user experience. A structured maintenance plan, as outlined in the comprehensive checklist, acts as a safeguard against potential pitfalls, ensuring your site runs seamlessly for the long term.

In the realm of flawless web maintenance, our tailored WordPress maintenance packages stand out. We understand the intricate needs of WordPress sites and offer solutions that encompass regular updates, security audits, performance optimization, and more. Our commitment is to keep your website running like a well-oiled machine, preventing technical debt and ensuring a smooth user experience.

Explore our WordPress maintenance packages to discover how we can enhance the health and performance of your website. Whether you seek a basic plan or a comprehensive solution, we have tailored options to suit your needs. Don’t let your website fall victim to neglect—partner with us for reliable, proactive maintenance.

Ready to elevate your website’s performance and security? Get in touch with us today for tailored solutions that ensure your WordPress site operates flawlessly, delivering an exceptional experience to your users. Your website deserves the best, and our maintenance services are designed to provide just that.

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