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7 Step Monthly WordPress Maintenance Guide

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Written by Ratnesh

When you’ve installed WordPress, selected a theme, and some important plugins, it’s time you get practical and keep vigilant about maintaining all of them.

A routine operation that’s critical for the functional performance of your website, WordPress maintenance ensures that all aspects of your installation are up-to-date and secure.

If you can’t make time for routine operations, then it will cause performance issues that might negatively impact your digital footprint. In the worst-case scenario, your site might even get compromised to hackers and malicious parties who further damage your online reputation.

Now that you understand the importance of maintaining your WordPress site, it’s time we answer the question of where you can start with the maintenance process.

This article is aimed at providing you with the seven steps you can take to fully maintain your WordPress site.

These steps are in no particular order. That being said, if you haven’t performed any of what we’ve mentioned below, it’s better to start from step one.

The Seven Steps To WordPress Maintenance

Performing maintenance is a tough task when you don’t know where to begin. To put the interested reader at ease, we’ve created a roadmap on how they can maintain their WordPress site efficiently.

So, let’s begin with the first step.

1. Keep Your Website Backed Up

The general rule of thumb is to backup your site once a week or somewhere in the middle of the second week. However, if you’re doing it once a month, then that’s fine as well.

Ideally, you should save your website to the cloud on a regular basis so that in the event of something going wrong, you can have a working copy of your site available that you can recover from.

Besides the danger of hacks, we can’t pinpoint a specific position from where a critical error might occur. It could be a human error, or an incompatible site installation. This is why backups are highly recommended.

Popular Backup Tools:

● BackWPup
● Updraft Plus
● VaultPress

2. Keep Your Plugins and Themes Updated

Themes and plugins are two important components of your WordPress site. To keep them functional, and secure, you need to keep them updated.

Safely Updating Your Plugins and Themes

You can update the plugins and themes on the fly directly from the plugin menu. However, if you’re updating your WordPress installation, you need to consider compatibility issues as well.

To avoid this, you can take your site to a staging environment and then update the WordPress core, the theme, as well as plugins.

Updating in this manner ensures that you don’t fall into the issues mentioned above. Once you’re finished with that, you can take your site live and keep it running functional while having everything updated.

Updating in this order reduces the chances of compatibility problems by prioritizing your critical website components first, and smaller add-ons second.

Remove Irrelevant Themes and Plugins

If you’re using a plugin and theme that’s not useful anymore, then it’s time you get rid of it. All these plugins do is take up space, and worse, if you’ve not kept them updated, hackers might employ malicious code on to your site through those plugins.

3. Clear Website Cache

Once you’ve backed up your site, and updated your plugins, it’s time to optimize your site for load times. You can do that by clearing the web cache.

A cache is a storage of your website’s data. While the cache is beneficial for return users since it promises quicker load times, it can be very counterintuitive when too much cache is stored. Too much storage can mean slower load times.

This is why it’s important to have a caching solution at the ready. When you feel that your site is loading slow, you can clear the cache to ensure faster load times.

Try to ensure that you clear your cache once every month to ensure optimized load times.

Popular Caching Tools:

● W3TotalCache
● WP Super Cache

4. Remove Junk Data

Cleaning up your database once in a while is an essential part of your WordPress maintenance efforts. Junk data usually consists of things like settings from previously used plugins, spam comments, post revisions, etc.

Popular Database Cleanup Tools:

● Advanced Database Cleaner
● Smart Cleanup Tools

5. Enable Security Monitoring

This is the most important section of this article. Improving or establishing security protocols during WordPress maintenance, and in general, can give significant benefits to your site.

Here’s why? Because of its popularity, WordPress is subject to numerous hacks by malicious parties. Many websites are targeted on a daily basis. While some have established their protection, others have not.

But you don’t have to worry, you can use plenty of methods to ensure WordPress security. From phishing attacks to brute force attacks, WordPress has got you covered with various top-tier security plugins like:

● WordFence
● Sucuri
● All In One WP Security & Firewall

6. Optimize for Performance Speeds

Seeing how fast your site is important during the latter half of the maintenance process. It’s a quick check that can bring forth significant insights.

There are plenty of free tools available that you can use to take a quick check of your website. Google PageSpeed Insights, and GT Metrix are good places to perform a site check like that.

7. Auditing Your Website

Once you’ve done all of the maintenance tasks mentioned above, it’s time you start perform a site audit to ensure that everything is working properly.

This process involves reviewing code, testing the design from the user’s end, finding out broken links, and making sure all your business operations are functional.

Depending on the urgency, a website audit can be thorough or relaxed. Either way, it’s an essential tool to help you in finding out design flaws and improve them to further improve the user experience.

Conclusion:

To wrap things up, here’s a little run-down of all the actions you have to perform during the site maintenance process:

1. Keep Your Website Backed Up
2. Keep Your Plugins and Themes Updated
3. Clear Website Cache
4. Remove Junk Data
5. Enable Security Monitoring
6. Optimize for Performance Speeds
7. Auditing Your Website

Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, we hope that you will take things step-by-step and perform your site maintenance without running into any problems.