Thankfully, when it comes to WordPress maintenance, there isn’t too much for you to think about. With each new version of WordPress, things have been getting simpler and simpler. There are, at a minimum, five essential WordPress maintenance tasks that you need to add to your routine.
Here’s a guide to the five main areas you need to take care of:
1) Backing Up
Backing up may not technically be a WordPress maintenance task, but when you’re relying on servers to host your site, you’d better have a backup in case anything goes wrong.
There are two elements to your WordPress backup. First, you need to backup the database. This contains all your settings, posts, pages and so on – but not your files, your design/theme(s), and uploads. To backup your database you can make use of plugins such as WP-DB-Backup to send you your database file via email each week (https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/). It is so simple that there’s no excuse for not doing it!
The second part of your backup covers the design, your plugin files and anything you’ve uploaded to the blog (post images and so on). To backup this part of the blog, log in to your hosting account via your regular FTP program. Within the folder you installed WordPress on, find the “wp-content” folder and copy it to your local computer. Simple!
2) Updating Your Blog
Keeping your blog up to date is the number one most important WordPress maintenance task. If you fail to keep your blog updated to the latest version of WordPress you could leave it vulnerable to security risks. The good news is that it’s simple and quick to update your WordPress blog – just click the notification that appears at the top of the WordPress dashboard when you’re logged in (remember to back up your blog first).
3) Organizing Your Plugins
When WordPress gets updated, plugin creators will often need to send out updates, too, to make sure they still work. Newer versions of WordPress also make it very easy to update your plugins – WordPress will notify you of updates on your dashboard.
You should also occasionally go through your plugins list to deactivate and delete the ones you no longer need. Keeping unnecessary plugins running on your blog can reduce its performance and make it slower to load for your visitors.
4) Broken Links
If you’re linking to affiliate products then you’ll want to check periodically that none of your links have stopped working. Sometimes vendors can remove products or pages meaning your visitor would end up on a 404 error page – you certainly don’t want that! Thankfully there are plugins like Broken Link Checker (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/broken-link-checker/) that can check for broken links automatically. (Here is something important to consider – this plugin is resource intensive and uses a lot of resources on your server. Because of this, only activate the plugin when you check the links. Once it is finished, deactivate the plugin so it is not always running).
5) Extra Security Measures
The number one security tip is to make sure you choose a password that’s hard to guess. Don’t re-use a password you use anywhere else, and make sure you avoid using the default “admin” username on your blog. You can also take advantage of free plugins such as iThemes Security (there is a pro version you can purchase, and the free version is great by itself) (https://wordpress.org/plugins/better-wp-security/) that make a number of automatic adjustments to protect your blog against hackers.
As you can see from the points above, regular WordPress maintenance doesn’t have to take hours of your time to perform. The truth is that most things can be done automatically with the use of a plugin. It’s well worth making the effort to perform these tasks. After all, if anything should happen to your blog, your income will dry up too!