8 Tips to DIY Your WordPress Maintenance
Building a website on WordPress is a quick, easy and fairly inexpensive way to start building your business’s brand online. It’s an attractive option for business owners because WordPress offers endless customization and automation possibilities that will help you sell services and products online compared to its competitors.
However, just like a car, websites should be viewed as an investment and they need frequent maintenance to keep them running smoothly and effectively. Websites that are not updated regularly can lead to broken parts, inaccessible content and the worst case scenario – security breaches that lead to hacked websites!
If you’re a DIY website owner and you want to keep your website safe, healthy and secure, here are 8 tips DIYing your WordPress Maintenance so you can give your website the TLC it deserves.
Update WordPress, Plugins & Themes
Keeping all the little add-ons (known in the WordPress world as “plugins”) that power your website up-to-date is the single most important task in maintaining your own website.
WordPress and the plugins that run your website are always being updated to provide you with tools to better create, market and maintain your website, but these updates will often have to be initiated by you. It’s as easy as clicking a button, but remember to backup your site first.
Performing these updates will keep your website safe from vulnerabilities and will help keep hackers out!
Manually Back-up your Website
Before you make any changes to your website, you’ll want to protect your precious work and make a copy of it in case anything goes wrong. Once you have a backup, you can easily restore your site to a previous save point if an update goes wrong and causes an error.
Most reputable website hosting companies will provide you with daily backups of your site, but it’s never a bad idea to have a tangible, secondary backup just in case! I recommend using a free plugin like All-in-One WP Migration to easily create a backup and download it to your computer for safekeeping. I create manual backups of my own business website once a week and store the file in Google Drive so it’s always at my fingertips if I need it!
Change your WordPress Login URL
One simple change you can make to ensure your website is more secure is to change the login URL you use to access the backend of your website. By default, WordPress sets all login page URL to www.mywebsitename.ca/wp-login.php. Because everyone knows that, those URLs are easy targets for hackers.
Use a plugin like Siteground Security or WPS Hide Login and change that “wp-login.php” URL to any phrase that’s easy for you to remember (and unguessable by hackers!)
Use a Security Plugin
Why worry about all this security stuff on your own when you can install a plugin to do all the hard stuff for you?
Plugins such as Wordfence or Sucuri will help by monitoring your site for vulnerabilities, inform you when site updates are needed, can help prevent brute force login attempts by hackers and can perform simple malware scans. Both plugins are completely free and have a paid upgrade as well that will give you even more security and in-depth scans of your site.
Keep page content up-to-date
Want to keep your website healthy and ranking as well as possible in search results? Keep the content on your website accurate and up-to-date as frequently as possible. If Google recognizes that your site isn’t being updated, it will hurt the rankings of all the pages on your site.
Keeping your site up-to-date could be as simple as sprucing up the wording on a page, adding a new blog post or a new photo to a gallery.
Review and fix broken links on your website
Have you ever visited a website and noticed a link doesn’t work? Maybe an entire page or an image isn’t showing? These are called broken links and they can happen when you update plugins, change content or clean up your media folder.
Unfortunately, these broken links can hurt your website’s SEO ranking and we don’t want that! An easy way to monitor your website and fix broken links quickly is with a plugin like Broken Link Checker. This plugin will monitor your website and send you an email if it finds any links that need fixing. Easy peasy!
Optimize and Clean up media gallery
Are you constantly uploading new pictures to your site? Chances are you’re uploading full-resolution photos that are large sizes – if you’re uploading iphone photos, this is especially true.
Large image files can slow down the loading speed of your website and can lead to a decrease in your SEO ranking as search engines penalize pages that take too long to load.
Before uploading a photo to your website, use a site like Image Resize to compress your photos so they retain their quality, but their file size is much smaller.
Make sure you’re also cleaning up your media gallery and deleting any old photos that aren’t being used any more. Your website will be much easier to back up when it’s smaller in size. This maintenance task also helps keep your website as small as possible – many hosting companies have a limit on how large your website can be.
Remove spam comments
Do you allow comments on your blog posts or pages? If you do, chances are you’re receiving a lot of spam comments. These can build up over time and can add to the size of your website. Remind yourself to delete these at least once a month.
Want to prevent them entirely? Install a free plugin like Zero Spam to filter those pesky spam bots so you stop getting all those annoying emails.
Websites aren’t a set and forget marketing tool. They’re an ongoing investment that thrives with a bit of TLC. Set aside an hour once a month to perform these maintenance tasks and your website will thank you. Add a recurring event in your calendar so you never forget to keep your site up-to-date!
Want to learn more about the plugins mentioned in this article? Head over to my Resources page for a full list of these downloads and more information about how I can help you maintain your website with a monthly WordPress Maintenance Plan.
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