Maintaining a WordPress Website - 8 Tips
What exactly does maintaining a WordPress website include? What are the guidelines you need to follow to properly maintain your site?
WordPress is a multicomponent environment. We have to deal with the theme being used, perhaps several or more plugins, as well as the core itself.
They are created and updated by completely independent environments. Developers (or their teams) keep track of their own additions, releasing updates to the world from time to time.
You also develop your site - add new content, change outdated content, and remove completely unnecessary content. Therefore, it will not be superfluous to make sure that your work does not go to waste. That's why it's useful to create backups.
There are many other similar examples. Below you will find a list of eight of them.
What is it like to maintain a WordPress website? - 8 Tips
1. Update core, plugins and theme regularly
As I said before, WordPress is a complex environment. It is made up of various components - mostly independent of each other, but nonetheless related.
Plugin authors don't update them for fun. This happens mainly for three reasons:
adding new features (for example, extending a plugin with additional features)
modifying current code or fixing bugs
desire to improve security
On in fact, each of these three problems alone is reason enough to take care of upgrading. Also, on a regular basis.
This minimizes the risk that someone will exploit a vulnerability in your site code and do something bad to it (for example, inject unwanted, spammy content). Yes, it is impossible to protect yourself from all attacks, but you should not give anyone additional opportunities.
2. Make all changes in the child theme
This is a problem that many people don't update their sites with. And that's a shame.
Both themes and plugins, and the WordPress core itself, tend to change their code "live" when they are updated, causing the changes we've applied to be lost. They are overwritten by the latest version of the corresponding plugin that its authors have released.
So you can make any changes, but it is important to do it carefully.
When it comes to changing the look of a page, the basics are: called "child theme". This is a minimal theme that inherits everything from the "parent theme" (which can be updated at will) and retains any manual changes you make.
So you can get your cake and eat it, as they say too. You have the latest version of your theme at your disposal, and at the same time, you can do whatever you want on your site.
When it comes to plugins, the situation is much the same. You do not change the code of the plugins themselves, but interfere with their work with the help of so-called actions and filters. Using them also ensures that you don't lose the code you created when updating the plugin.
3.Check the status of your site with Screaming Frog from time to time
We at least mentioned Screaming Frog in our post about tools that help in website development.
Maintaining the site on WordPress should include regular use of Screaming Frog for the following reasons:
- shows all links (both internal and external) with a 404 status
- detects redirects
- shows how nested pages appear in Google search results
- generates an index of external links
- verifies that all images have an ALT attribute associated with them
Moreover, the above features are just a drop in the ocean of what can be found in the entire program.
Although it is intended for more advanced users, even those with only a passing knowledge of SEO will be able to understand some of the information.
4. Back up your website manually
Maintaining a WordPress site goes hand in hand with backing up your site.
Actually, the vast majority of people don't bother with this topic because that it's the hosting companies who make these backups, but it's still a good idea to do it yourself.
That's because it adds another layer of protection. Yes, someone else is making a copy - but there's nothing stopping you from making one too.
Especially since you know the exact moment the copy was made. If something goes wrong, you will know the specific period from which you can restore the site.
5. Use reliable speed tests
First of all, we are talking about GTmetrix, Pingdom Website Speed Test and Google PageSpeed Insights tools. Each of them is important in their own way.
They can test your site from different angles and give you hints about what needs to be improved in terms of performance.
However, I have a tip - do not go in cycles in the results presented there. Just because a site scores 100/100 in one of these tools doesn't mean that site is actually better optimized than a site that scores, say, 85/100.
Because they are tools. They work based on the data or algorithms entered into them. The fact that the implementation of some optimization recommendation satisfies the tool does not necessarily mean that real users will appreciate the changes. The feelings of an algorithm are not the feelings of a person.
Therefore, remember that you should not always blindly believe the instructions. Of course, it is better to consider each proposal and evaluate whether it will really bring tangible benefits.
6. Disable plugins you don't use
Running a WordPress site also means tossing aside everything you don't use.
There are images in your media library that you know you won't use on 100%? Delete them.
Are there any topics that you definitely won't include? The same goes for the trash can.
Also, if you no longer want to use the benefits of a plugin, there is absolutely no reason to keep it enabled. Deactivate it, and when you are sure that you no longer need it, delete it.
In a word, everything is in order. This is useful both for the "visual overhead" of the site and for the WordPress database, which does not have to store and process unnecessary data.
7. Check the status in Google Search Console
This tip, of course, applies not only to WordPress, but to all websites in general.
Google Search Console provides site owners with extremely important information , mainly about the site's SEO status.
It's worth checking back regularly and following the recommendations listed. However, there is a catch.
Google Search Console - especially in recent months - sometimes likes to show very strange information. Sometimes they just contradict the facts.
So if you see disturbing content that you don't think is true, it's worth looking around, for example, in Facebook groups or Google's online forums. It is likely that users have already noticed that anomalies are observed in the tool, and not on your site.
8. Update your content
After all, something that is extremely easy thanks to WordPress.
It's about updating both posts and pages.
There's no denying that that search engine robots and Internet users themselves love news. They appreciate the fact that someone wanted to update old content with new data.
- How to give new life to old content?
- Google ranking improvement strategy - updating old posts
- Refresh old posts and increase blog traffic
Above is a list of three of our posts where you will find more information on this topic.
I I strongly recommend that you read them at your leisure.
Is it difficult to maintain a WordPress website?
In my opinion, no. You only need to delve a little into this topic to be able to do things yourself that will allow you to perform proper, basic maintenance of your own site.
The basis, of course, is keeping all the components that make up WordPress up to date condition. This should be done regularly and as quickly as possible.
There is only one exception to this rule - the situation when the developers of, for example, a plugin have released an update containing some random error. Sometimes it happens that the desire to fix thing A leads to error B.
If this is the case, then users will definitely notice this in the first days or even hours after the release of the corresponding update (most likely, on the forum dedicated to this plug-in).
In general, such situations are extremely rare, but if you prefer to report it, sometimes it is better to wait a few days to update a component.
Do you have any tips that could be safely included in this text? If yes, I encourage you to add a comment in the section below.