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WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist: Essential Tasks to Keep Your Site Running Smoothly

Maintaining your WordPress website is crucial for ensuring it remains secure, performs well, and continues to provide a great user experience. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to increased vulnerability to hackers, severe data breaches, deprecated code, and broken functions. Slow performance due to outdated code or frameworks can also impact your site’s usability. Poor maintenance reflects poorly on your business, as your website serves as your online storefront. Broken or outdated sites can erode trust, causing potential customers to go elsewhere. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to keep your WordPress site in top shape.

Essential Maintenance Checklist for WordPress Websites

1) Keep WordPress, Themes, and Plugins Up-to-Date

Thing to Check: Ensure that your WordPress core, themes, and plugins are up-to-date.

Why It’s Important: Regular updates fix security vulnerabilities, improve performance, and ensure compatibility with new technologies.

  1. Check for Updates:
    • Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
    • Navigate to Dashboard > Updates to see available updates.
  2. Update WordPress Core:
    • Click “Update Now” if a new WordPress version is available.
  3. Update Themes and Plugins:
    • Go to Appearance > Themes and Plugins > Installed Plugins.
    • Click “Update” next to each theme or plugin with available updates.
  4. Enable Auto Updates:
    • For plugins and themes, consider enabling auto-updates by clicking the “Enable auto-updates” link.
  5. Backup Your Site:
    • Use a plugin like UpdraftPlus to create regular backups before making updates.

Additional Considerations: Use trusted themes and plugins from reputable authors. Regularly review and replace unsupported plugins.

2) Monitor Expiring Items

Thing to Check: SSL certificates, domain registrations, and hosting plans.

Why It’s Important: Expired SSL certificates can make your site appear insecure. Lapsed domain and hosting can take your site offline.

  1. SSL Certificates:
    • Check your SSL certificate’s expiration date in your hosting control panel.
    • Use Let’s Encrypt for free SSL certificates (Link to Let’s Encrypt).
  2. Domain and Hosting:
    • Log in to your domain registrar and hosting provider.
    • Check the renewal dates and set calendar reminders.
  3. Monitor Uptime:
    • Use a tool like Uptime Robot to monitor your site’s uptime (Link to Uptime Robot).

3) Keep Updating Your Website

Thing to Check: Regularly add new content, update images, and refresh the site’s design.

Why It’s Important: Fresh content improves SEO and keeps your audience engaged. Updated design enhances user experience and prevents your site from looking outdated.

  1. Content Updates:
    • Post new articles, update existing content, and add fresh images regularly.
  2. Design Updates:
    • Review and update your site’s design every few years to keep it modern.
  3. SEO Benefits:
    • Search engines favour sites that are regularly updated with new content.

4) Security

Why It’s Critical: Security breaches can lead to data loss, damage to your reputation, and financial loss.

Detailed Guide: We have a detailed article on securing your WordPress site. Read it here.

Summary: This article covers three quick and effective DIY security measures you can implement in 15 minutes.

5) Performance Optimisation

Why It’s Critical: Fast-loading sites provide a better user experience and improve SEO rankings. Slow websites can frustrate visitors, leading to higher bounce rates and lower engagement. Moreover, search engines like Google prioritise fast-loading sites in their rankings, making performance optimisation essential for visibility and success.

Detailed Guide: We have a detailed article on optimising your WordPress site for speed. Read it here.

By following the advice in this guide, you can significantly improve your WordPress site’s performance, ensuring a faster, more enjoyable experience for your visitors… Of course you can always get a professional in to take care of all of this, and much more, for you (wink wink)!

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By Eliot Webb