WordPress Website Maintenance: A 10-Step Checklist of Crucial Tasks

Website maintenance is necessary for a healthy, long-lasting WordPress website. It allows you to spot issues early on, fix them, and make sure that your website remains operative and beneficial. Follow our checklist to successfully maintain your WordPress website.

As there are lots of reasons for building a website, and its success depends on many factors. Proper maintenance is one of the most looked over aspect.

All WordPress sites require at least some level of maintenance to keep them secure and well-functioning. To help you in this endeavor we’ve compiled a WordPress maintenance checklist that will guide you and help you ensure that your WordPress website is updated, secure, and running smoothly.

While this may seem like a daunting task, don’t despair! We’ve divided these tasks by the frequency that you should perform them, ranging from weekly tasks to monthly and yearly ones.

So, let’s get started with keeping your website well maintained.

Why You Should Maintain Your WordPress Sites

wordpress website maintenance

A WordPress website is kind of like a car. If you keep it maintained, it works for decades. But if you stop maintenance, issues pile up and your website might even stop working.

WordPress is constantly changing. The core team is always adding new features, fixing bugs, patching newly-discovered security issues, etc. The same holds true for all the plugins you’re using, and the web as a whole.

Your website itself is also always changing. You might be publishing new content, switching up the design, adding new features, and more.

In order to avoid these nuisances, it’s important to put in a little maintenance work.

WordPress Maintenance Tasks

1) Website Monitoring – This one seems simple. But just visiting your site’s front-end and clicking around to a few key pages is a great way to catch any potential issues. With that being said, it’s easy to forget about this and spend all your time in the WordPress dashboard.

So, once a week, just head to your site and browse a few of the key pages to make sure everything is still working as you expect it to.

2) Comments Moderation – If you allow comments on your site, you’ll need to spend some time moderating them each week to make sure you approve real comments and flag/delete spam comments.

To help you save time on comment moderation, you can consider using an anti-spam plugin such as Akismet. That way, you just need to check in once per week to approve human comments and see if Akismet accidentally flagged a real comment as spam.

3) Website backups – Having a recent backup is essential to secure your site’s data. So, if your WordPress host isn’t already taking care of backups for you, you need to back up your site yourself. For most sites, weekly backups are a good frequency.

keep wordpress updated

4) Update regularly – If you want to secure your website and keep it functioning, promptly applying updates is essential. Every week, you should check in to see if there are any updates for the WordPress core, plugins, or themes.

5) Check Google Search Console – If Google encounters any issues with your site’s SEO or mobile optimization, it will share alerts in Google Search Console. For that reason, it’s important to frequently check-in to see if Google has flagged any issues with your site.

6) Analyze your Traffic – To understand what’s happening on your site, you should be using some type of web analytics tool such as Google Analytics.

7) Database optimization – Your site’s database is what stores all of your content, theme settings, plugin settings, etc. Over time, it can generate a lot of clutter via things like post revisions, transients, spam comments, etc. It’s good to periodically optimize your site’s database to remove all of this junk.

Read our guide on 5 Best WordPress Image Optimization Plugins in 2021

8) Check for Broken Links – Broken links or 404 errors are horrible for user experience on your site because they get in the way of visitors finding what they’re looking for.

broken links checker wordpress

While broken links and 404 errors are separate things, they go hand-in-hand because a broken link will usually lead directly to a 404 error. If you’re not familiar with what a 404 error is, it’s the error that your website displays when a visitor goes to a URL that doesn’t exist.

To check your site for broken links, you can use a broken link checking plugin.

9) Consider Whether You Need New Hosting – As your site grows, it’s easy to grow so much that you outgrow your current hosting. This is a good problem to have, but it might necessitate upgrading to a higher-tier plan at your host or maybe even moving to a better host.

10) Audit your Content – A content audit is a great way to improve your site’s SEO and user experience. With it, you can double-down on your site’s top-performing content and also fix its weakest content.

website audit

Essentially, your goals with a content audit are to:

  1. Update and improve your top-performing content to help it keep its rankings or perform even better.
  2. Remove ineffectual content and either merge its content into other content or redirect it to other content.

It will also help you understand what content works best for your site so that you can focus your strategy going forward.

wrapping it up!

This checklist is not set in stone and you might want to adjust the frequency for your website. You can tweak and add more pointers and maintain your website with more efficiency. Once you get in the flow, your maintenance tasks should only take a few minutes per week and your website will be up to the mark!

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