If you’re like me, and you like to ‘clean up’ and reorganize your business for the new year, then this article is for you. You may have the best-built website that money can buy, but if you’re not maintaining or outsourcing to have it maintained, then you’re at risk for website meltdown. No scare tactics here…just part of running your business efficiently. If you haven’t already cleaned up your website or blog, now is a good time to complete this task before the start of a new work week. Even better, I would recommend you set up a regular maintenance schedule, like on a quarterly basis.
Below is a good comprehensive, 8-tip maintenance checklist to start your website clean-up task today. I’ve been creating and managing WordPress sites for seven years and this list is a compilation of items that I have had implemented on all of my sites and my client sites in order to avoid any issues that could cause the site to go down or be compromised.
- Back up your WordPress site (database and theme/media files) – you can accomplish this by either using the free WP-DB Manager plugin for the database backups and downloading your media and theme files to your computer or you can subscribe to the Backup Creator plugin ($7 one-time fee) or the Backup Buddy plugin ($80/year for 2 sites).
- Update your WordPress site to the most recent version – WordPress always alerts you of a new version of their platform that you can either update automatically or manually. Word of caution…be sure you back up your site first before upgrading to the new version of WordPress. There have been known issues that could cause your theme or plugins to “break” or malfunction. Not all plugins or themes are compatible with the newer versions of WordPress.
- Update the most recent version of your WordPress theme (without losing any styling from your current theme) – there is a plugin for that! Most of your newer (mostly paid) themes provide a link within your WP dashboard to update your theme to its newest version, but if you have a free theme that does not provide automatic updates, and you want to update your theme, you can do this by using the plugin called the Easy Theme & Plugin Upgrade Plugin.
- Update your installed plugins – WordPress also alerts you of updates to your installed plugins. I definitely recommend you keep these up to date because if one of those plugins is a security plugin, making sure you have the updated version will help increase the security of your site.
- Check your feeds and blog links (including affiliate links) for broken links – a great tool (plugin) that will check your links is called the Broken Link Checker plugin. It’s much easier to automate this task, especially if you have a lot of links on your site.
- Protect your site from hackers – this is key in making sure your content and WordPress site files are not compromised by hackers or a virus that was placed on your site. There have been instances of this happening in waves, unbeknownst to major hosting companies. The first thing I would do would be to contact your hosting company. They usually have steps you can take to check and clean up your site. One of the first things you need to do is change your login password. Also, make sure your username is not named, “admin”. An “admin” username can allow hackers to easily crack into your site and make a mess of it. Two plugins I recommend you use for site protection is either the BulletProof Security plugin or the WordFence plugin. Both are great security plugins, but my favorite is the BulletProof plugin.
- Check traffic stats for incoming link activity – you can check your traffic stats using the Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress. If you find something out of place, you can act upon it before it gets out of control.
- Repair and optimize database tables – If you use the WP-DP Manager Plugin, you can automatically repair and optimize your WP databases. This is just as important as protecting your site because if something goes wrong in your database (and it can), then you have a tool that will detect issues and correct it. Another way you can check and repair your databases is to access your site database in your hosting account. All hosting accounts have a MyPHPAdmin module that gives you access and control of your databases.
I also created a blog maintenance checklist that you are welcome to download for free. You can find it HERE. Feel free to tweak the list to accommodate all your needs. At the end of the checklist, I provide you links to the plugins I mention so you can review them before you decide to install and configure them on your WordPress site.
If you have any suggestions on other items to look for and manage on your WP site, feel free to share them in the Comments box below. I’m always happy to get input and opinions on things that work for you or don’t work for you.
Until tomorrow…Day 5 of the UBC
Like what you’ve read? Sign up below to receive regular updates.