If, like many other busy website and small business owners, you find yourself pushing your WordPress updates and maintenance to the bottom of your to-do list telling yourself something like “I’ll get to it later” and then never getting to it.
You definitely are not alone.
What a lot of us don’t realise though, is that this is basically the same as never servicing your car. You won’t really notice things are starting to break down or need replacing or updating until one day the whole thing just stops working.
But don’t worry, it’s not too late!
In this article, I’m going to take you through the 3 most important tasks you should include in your WordPress Website Maintenance routine to make sure your website stays in tip-top shape.
What is WordPress Website Maintenance?
To understand why WordPress website maintenance is so important, we need to understand what exactly we mean when we say “WordPress website maintenance”.
So, here it goes…
“WordPress Website Maintenance is the act of carrying out a number of preventative tasks on a regular basis to ensure your website is running and continues to run smoothly and efficiently into the foreseeable future.“
That may have sounded a little intense so I guess if we wanted to put it a little more simply we could just say, WordPress Maintenance is a bunch of things we should do regularly to keep our website running well and make sure it’s not going to break down on us any time soon. Believe me, when I say all websites break down eventually if they aren’t taken care of, and when they do, it can be a real headache to sort out.
The 3 Most Important WordPress Website Maintenance Tasks
Great! Now we know the definition, what are these “important tasks” that we should all be doing and why do they matter?!
There are a lot of things we can do to keep our WordPress Sites maintained and healthy, but there are 3 key tasks that are non-negotiable when it comes to your website’s health and wellbeing and if done well, will save you from some serious headaches, stress or even a hefty maintenance bill from your local WordPress professional.
The 3 most important tasks you should include in your WordPress website maintenance schedule are:
- Website Backups
- Website Security
- WordPress Core, Theme, and Plugin Updates
WordPress Website Backups
Backing up your WordPress website is without a doubt one of the most important things you can do to minimise downtime and keep your business online. It can get you out of almost any scary situation you find yourself in.
Our clients have dodged some massive headaches and saved some serious time and money when they’ve clicked the wrong button while editing their website, only to find the whole page or even website has disappeared.
Having a backup on hand if something goes wrong can be the difference between rebuilding your website or clicking a few buttons and waiting 5 minutes to be back online.
It’s important to make backing up your website a regular task in your maintenance routine!
Keeping regular backups means that if the worst ever happens, you have recent backups to restore from. If you only backup your website from time to time, you may find yourself restoring your website with a version from 6 months ago.
That’s 6 months of website changes, blog posts, customer information, and client data GONE!
The good news is, these situations are easy to avoid.
Backing your website up at least once a week should get you out of most big problems. If you can back your site up daily and keep multiple backups handy, you’ll be in a very good position!
So where do I start?
There are some great free plugins out there that can help you keep regular backups of your site. A great place to start is UpdraftPlus. It even comes with a scheduling option to help you stay on top of your regular backups. It even has a pro version for when you’re ready to get serious.
WordPress Website Security
Website security is another must-have when it comes to maintaining your website.
Strong security is a key preventative measure in blocking unwanted visitors and protecting your website and clients from malicious attacks, data theft, and more!
Setting up a strong front line before an issue occurs is essential for maintaining trust with your customers and clients. If a breach occurs that puts your customer data at risk or brings down your website, it can be challenging to win back your customers’ trust.
I know this can sound a little overwhelming, but don’t stress!
There are some great plugins out there that can really help make your website more secure and only take a few minutes to set up.
A great free security plugin to get started with is WordFence but there are so many to choose from so feel free to look around.
Once you’ve configured your security plugin, what’s left to add to your maintenance schedule?
While your new security plugin should handle most of the heavy lifting, it’s still a good idea to monitor some of the security logs and malware scan reports to make sure
- They are running and working as they should
- They have not detected anything suspicious that needs further investigation.
Adding this to your maintenance routine at least once a week will massively reduce your risk of being hacked or losing your website and data to nasty intruders!
If you ever need a hand removing some unwanted malware that’s turned up in your security scans, we have a Malware Removal service at Alpere Digital that will have your site cleaned up in no time!
WordPress Core, Theme, and Plugin Updates
The last of our 3 essential maintenance tasks (but certainly not the least) is updating our plugins, themes, and WordPress core versions.
Keeping these up to date with the latest releases is incredibly important for maintaining a healthy, secure, and well-performing site.
WordPress developers add improvements to their code with every release.
With each update you do on your website, you are almost always improving:
- Security and Vulnerability fixes – These help prevent hackers accessing your site through holes in the code.
- Performance and Optimisations – This will help your site load faster, improving your sites user experience and can even help improve SEO
- New Features – With each update, new feature may be added that will allow you to achieve more with your websites or even improve processes for yourself and your visitors
- Compatibility – If your plugins, theme and WordPress core versions are not kept in sync, you may run into issues that cause your site to crash or see error messages appear on your websites pages
- Bug Fixes – Bug fixes are constantly released to fix all kinds of small to large issues that may be bothering your or you users. Having the latest version helps reduce the number of bugs your website has.
To update your WordPress Core, Themes, and Plugins, all you need to do is head to the “Updates” section of the admin panel of your WordPress site. Here you’ll find a list of all the items that need to be updated.
Before updating your website, I strongly recommend creating a backup so if any updates break your site, you can simply restore it back to the version of your site before you made the update that caused the problem.
Scheduling this with your maintenance tasks on a weekly basis is ideal to keep your website running smoothly and to reduce the number of updates you have to do each time.
If you find you need a helping hand to get your site up to date, we offer a one-off WordPress Updates service that will have your site up to date in no time!
Creating a routine to keep your website backed up, secure, and up to date is all it takes to make sure your website and business stays online all year round and could save you huge amounts of time, money, and stress.
If after this you still can’t find yourself making the time for your new maintenance routine, we offer all of this and more as part of our ongoing Care Plan services and Alpere Digital.