WordPress websites require regular and ongoing maintenance to avoid site errors and issues. Failure to complete maintenance on your WordPress site can open windows to site hackers, website crashes, loss of data, page load lags, poor user experience and impact your SEO campaigns. If your site is poorly maintained, it becomes less trustworthy and customers will cease to use it.
Follow our helpful tips below to avoid severe website errors and downtime:
- Promptly complete your theme and plugins updates for your WordPress site, whenever new versions are available.
These components need to be running the latest and most stable version to avoid being hacked. Here are some things to remember before, during and after running through the update process:
It is important to test updates before pushing them directly on your live site. Conflicts between updates and other software components can occur on your site and completing the updates in a test environment before pushing them live, saves some of the frustration and downtime of a crashed site.
Be sure to have at least two backups of your WordPress site in different locations either locally on your computer, an external hard drive or in cloud storage. There are several backup plugins and hosting providers who offer a website backup service. It is always a good idea to do spot checks of the backups to ensure the backups are of your entire site and its underlying data.
Once your backups are secure, prepare your test or staging site and ensure it has the latest copy of your live website. Now you can start making your way through all available updates on the testing site.
Now that your site’s components are updated to the latest version, you can start checking your WordPress test site. Make sure you check all functionalities, content formatting, links, images etc.
If any issues arise after an update, for example, error messages, white screen, loading screen, content loss or distortion, malfunctioning plugin features, etc., coordinate with your website assistance service to isolate the issue. Issues could stem from conflicting updates, or by a small error in the coding brought about by the update; some of these types of issues can only be resolved in the backend and may need the developer to rectify.
Child themes are best for extensive theme customisation and installing plugins for additional site features is always a handy addition to your site. Directly editing a theme’s code is not a good idea as any updates that follow will not have your specific changes and would overwrite any changes you made. This may result in you needing a developer to fix problems with the theme or having to choose a whole new theme.
Turn off any enabled WordPress automatic updates as WordPress updates occur frequently and some plugin developers may not able to keep up with the frequency. Automatic updates could also cause headaches due to incompatibilities with unsupported versions between plugins and the source software. This is one reason why it’s best to test all of this in a staging environment like a test site.
- Regular Backups.
Set up a regular back up service through your host and be sure to turn on the auto-backups feature. It’s always good to make sure your hosting provider includes a backup solution.
You should also set up at least one backup to go to a remote location, like the cloud or an external hard drive.
- Regularly check your site.
It’s a good idea to regularly check how your site is performing outside of your usual network. Checking for page load times and inconsistencies when away from your usual access point, may highlight any issues your customers are seeing, that you may not. It’s also good to test across devices, not just the desktop you are working on. Here are some of the things you should regularly monitor on your website:
- Check your pages load quickly and if you have any redirects in place, ensure they are loading just as fast;
- Check for dead/redundant links and remove them. Several different services are on offer that could detect these for you.
- Test the basics. Functions like contact and subscription forms, popups, or uploads/downloads, etc.
- If you are running an e-commerce store, regularly purchase from your own site to make sure the process, payments, order forms and availability of products update and perform as expected.
- Malware and Hacking Scans.
Set up a schedule to regularly scan your WordPress site for issues with security at least once every two to three weeks. You can also find several different plugins on offer dedicated to checking for malware or hacking attacks.
- Perform speed and on-page SEO trials monthly and across devices and networks, where possible, to confirm your site is properly optimised.
Taking proper care of your site, ensuring updates are run on time and update errors are not preventing your site from optimised performance can be a chore. We take care of all the hassle and are here to assist you with all the website wants and needs you’d normally ask of your Developer or Designer.