What is WordPress Maintenance?

WordPress is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution.

As a WordPress site owner, you’ve set up your site but you feel like there’s something missing; You keep asking yourself What is WordPress Maintenance?

Just like any other software, it needs regular maintenance to keep it running to be its best self.

It impacts so much, even how successful your site will be with internet users.

So in this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what it is, and how to keep it up.

The Basics of WordPress

A Brief Overview of WordPress

It’s the world’s most popular content management system (CMS).

Over its development, the platform’s popularity grew mainly due to its user-friendly interface, customisable themes and plugins, and a vibrant community of developers and users.

WordPress as a Content Management System

As a CMS, WordPress allows you to create, publish, and manage various types of content, including blog posts, articles, images, videos and more.

It provides a dashboard where you can easily add, edit, or delete content without any coding knowledge.

WordPress also offers a wide range of themes and plugins that can add some features to meet your specific needs.

Why WordPress Maintenance Matters

While you can do all sorts on WordPress, don’t forget that it’s a software application.

Like all software, it needs regular updates and maintenance to remain secure and running correctly.

Ignoring any of this can lead to vulnerabilities in your site, slow performance and bad UX.

What is WordPress Maintenance?

Regular Updates

Core Updates:

WordPress often release core software updates.

These usually include bug fixes, security patches, new features, the usual.

Slacking on these updates can put your site at risk for both security breaches and site failures.

Theme Updates:

Themes control the overall look and feel of your website.

Theme developers frequently put out updates to improve compatibility, fix design bugs, and enhance visual elements.

Keeping your theme up to date is important if you want your site to stay fresh and modern.

Plugin Updates:

These are add-ons that extend the functionality of your WordPress site.

Like themes, plugins receive updates for better performance, security and compatibility with the latest software versions.

Regularly updating them makes sure your site runs smoothly and doesn’t have any plugin conflicts.

Security Measures

WordPress is a popular target for hackers due to its widespread use.

Security breaches can lead to data loss, website defacement, and compromised user information.

This is something you should remember to do, otherwise, you put sensitive data at high risk.

Here are some of the best practices:

  • Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts, even administrators.
  • Limit login attempts to prevent brute-force attacks.
  • Install a reputable security plugin.
  • Enable a firewall to block malicious traffic.
  • Monitor and log website activity.
  • Keep backups of your site data.

Backup Strategies

The Significance of Backups

No matter how secure your site is, issues can still come up.

If the server crashes, you get hacked, or you accidentally delete everything, having reliable backups of a website is a lifesaver.

How to Create WordPress Backups

There are many ways to do this, including:

  • Using a reliable backup plugin.
  • Manual backups through your hosting provider.
  • Scheduled backups every so often.

Performance Optimisation

Speed and Load Times

Site speed seriously affects user experience and SEO.

Slow-loading pages can drive users away and negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Performance optimisation focuses on improving the speed of your website.

Techniques for Optimising:

  • Compress images to reduce file size, or get a plugin.
  • Organise CSS and JavaScript files.
  • Turn on browser caching.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN).
  • Choose a reliable hosting provider.

Benefits of WordPress Maintenance

Improved Security: Updating and adding security plugins significantly reduces the risk of breaches. A well-maintained website is a secure one.

Better User Experience: With a now seamless website, users are more likely to interact and stay on your site, so convert into customers or subscribers.

SEO Benefits: Having fast loading times will improve your site’s overall SEO, leading to higher ranking and increased organic traffic.

Common WordPress Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

Neglecting Updates: Anything from themes to plugins can leave your site in a vulnerable state, make this a regular part of your maintenance routine.

Ignoring Security: Do not underestimate the importance of security, updating and monitoring suspicious activity as well as staying informed about security threats is a good move.

Failing to Backup: Without these, you risk losing valuable data and content, so set up automatic backups and make sure they are stored safely offsite.

Overlooking Performance Issues: A slow site can drive away visitors and harm your reputation, test regularly to make sure it works how you expect.

How to Perform WordPress Maintenance

DIY Maintenance

If you’re a bit tech-savvy, try giving it a go.

You’ll need to update software, monitor security, and optimise performance.

There are plenty of online tutorials to help you.

Hiring a Professional

For those who prefer to focus on their content and leave the tech to the experts, hiring professional services is an admirable choice.

Many companies specialise in WordPress support and can handle all the tasks on your behalf.

Tools and Plugins for Maintenance

There are various tools and plugins available that can streamline and automate WordPress maintenance.

This does mean you have significantly less control if something goes wrong.

Popular choices include:

Frequency of WordPress Maintenance Tasks

Daily Maintenance Tasks

  • Monitor website activities and logs for suspicious behaviour.
  • Check for software updates and security alerts.
  • Review comments and spam filters.

Weekly Maintenance Tasks

  • Perform a full backup of your website.
  • Audit your content for updates or improvements.
  • Test site speed and performance.

Monthly Maintenance Tasks

  • Review and update content where necessary.
  • Conduct a security audit and update security measures.
  • Check for broken links and fix them.

Annual Maintenance Tasks

  • Evaluate your website’s design and consider a design change.
  • Update and renew domain and hosting services.
  • Go through a comprehensive SEO audit.

Final Thoughts

WordPress maintenance is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

By taking the time to go through your website, or paying someone else to do it for you, you’re already improving it.

Don’t underestimate the impact of maintenance; it’s the key to a secure, high-performing, and successful WordPress website.

Additional Resources and Further Reading

Links to Helpful WordPress Tools

Books or Courses on WordPress Maintenance

Lilli Foreman

Lilli Foreman

Lilli works on copy, content, site build and layout at Toast. She helps clients with optimised blogs, on-page SEO and general site work.