Your website is truly a direct reflection of your company and acts as a central hub for website traffic and potential/current customers alike. If you have a WordPress site, regular maintenance is key to ensuring your business makes a powerful impression; one that can drive sales, retain users, and build awareness for your company.
No matter your industry or what types of products/services you offer, your WordPress website should represent everything that makes your company unique and valuable. This is accomplished, primarily, with the proper design and content.
With that said, these two factors aren’t the end-all-be-all for website success. If you want your WordPress site to reach its full potential, it needs to perform properly and load quickly on all devices.
After all, a slow-loading site can cause users to flee before they even have a chance to learn more about your company. In fact, according to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, 40% of users will abandon a website if it fails to load in less than 3 seconds.
Beyond page load speed, though, there are a host of other pitfalls to avoid if you want to be able to convert traffic into leads and customers. Thankfully, by adding these 11 quick and simple WordPress maintenance tasks to your weekly to-do list, you can ensure your website always runs smoothly.
11 Weekly WordPress Maintenance Tasks
1. Backup Your Website (Using The ‘UpDraftPlus’ Plugin)
Oftentimes, we (foolishly) assume our websites will automatically be protected and secured, without any intervention. This is where most business owners and novice web designers get into trouble.
Say someone were to hack into your website and change all of your passwords; or your site suddenly crashed one day. Without having a backup of your site, all of your data (including your web pages, blog posts, and important user information) could be lost forever.
Fortunately, using a plugin like UpDraftPlus to perform weekly backups of your site can give you peace of mind, as you’ll never have to worry about losing your site in the future.
The best part about UpDraftPlus is it safely stores your backups away from your website. This means if your site crashes for any reason, you can simply sign into your account on the UpDraftPlus website and retrieve your backups.
2. Perform Any WordPress Plugin Updates
It goes without saying, but plugins are one of the best features WordPress has to offer over other CMS platforms. With literally thousands of options to choose from — directly from your dashboard — you can easily enhance the design, features, and performance of your website.
However, this doesn’t mean you should use plugins for everything. Limiting your plugins — to no more than 10 or so — helps your site run smoother on the front-end (the part your visitor’s see) and the back-end (the part you and your site admins see.
This also makes it easier to manage plugin updates, which is another weekly WordPress maintenance task you should add to your list. Plugins are constantly evolving, so it’s crucial you update them to the latest versions to ensure they run properly.
To make this process easier, you can set up automatic updates (through your dashboard) or simply set a manual reminder to check for updates on a weekly basis.
3. Perform Any WordPress Theme Updates
Just like plugins, your WordPress theme (unless your site is fully custom-built) will be in need of updating on a regular basis as well. This may not occur as frequently as it does with plugins, but it’s important to check every week just in case.
Theme updates typically introduce new features and add-ons or improved performance, so keeping yours up to date is imperative.
Oftentimes, themes are updated solely to be compatible with the latest version of WordPress as well; so, failing to update yours could result in a broken or depleted site.
Just be sure to backup your site (see task #1 on this list) before you hit the “update” button to protect any theme customizations you or your developer might have made.
4. Perform Any WordPress Core Updates
The core update is directly tied to any changes in search engine algorithms. If and when changes are made, you want to optimize your site’s position when someone searches for applicable keywords to your company.
Be sure to check weekly for any WordPress core updates, so that you can ensure your site maintains its visibility on search engines– like Google — and continues to regularly attract your target audience.
5. Run a Website Security Scan (Using The ‘Sucuri Scanner Security’ Plugin)
Sucuri Scanner Security can truly be an extra layer of security for your WordPress website.
Like the name suggests, the Sucuri Scanner Security plugin scans your website for issues that could be detrimental to your site and your data, including:
- Hackers/Website Breaches
- Suspicious Traffic
…and more. To prevent your site from being susceptible to these issues, it’s wise to run a scan on a weekly basis.
6. Ensure Your Web Pages Are Working Properly (Using The ‘Open Multiple URLs’ Chrome/Firefox Extension)
If users are running into errors when trying to view your web pages, this can appear unprofessional and potentially cause you to lose a business opportunity.
With this in mind, you should want to avoid any lapses in viewer visibility for any of your WordPress website’s pages. Luckily, Google Chrome and Firefox users can download an extension called “Open Multiple URLs”, which literally opens all of your site’s pages/posts.
This will allow you to easily check every nook and cranny of your site for critical loading errors so you can properly (and quickly) address them. We recommend using the extension each week.
7. Check All Fillable Forms On Your Website
If you have a website these days, the likelihood that you don’t have a fillable form on one (or several) pages is slim to none.
Featuring fillable forms on your website is how you collect important user information; whether to allow your visitors to get in touch with your company, to enter a segment of your target audience into an email marketing campaign, or something in between.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to test every form you may have on your website on a weekly basis to ensure they’re working properly.
A good example is our free estimate form. We check it regularly to be sure is still fit our needs.
8. Optimize Website Performance (Using The ‘WP-Optimize’ Plugin)
One of the biggest keys to having a faster WordPress website is performance optimization. While there are plenty of plugins out there to help facilitate this crucial task, WP-Optimize is our personal favorite, for many reasons.
WP-Optimize helps you avoid spam that can infiltrate your website through forms or comments and comes with a range of features to make your site run as fast as possible, including:
- Database cleaning
- Compression/optimization for site images
- Website caching
These features alone can make a massive difference when it comes to how quickly your WordPress site loads on both the front-end and back-end. For optimal results, we recommend using WP-Optimize — for various performance optimization tasks — weekly.
9. Ensure Your Site is Free of Broken Links (Using The ‘Broken Link Checker’ Plugin)
Broken links are a common issue for all websites, but especially sites that link to external URLs. Think about it: you link to a blog post on another website, only for the post to be deleted or the URL to be changed months later by the site owner — that original link on your website is now broken. In this scenario, you’d likely have no idea this happened, yet your site may be penalized as a result.
However, by using a nifty plugin called Broken Link Checker, you’ll never have to worry about broken links again. The plugin monitors all of your web pages to ensure every link leads to the right location. If there are any errors, or the links are redirected, you will be prompted. As you can see, Broken Link Checker is a simple, yet valuable tool; which is why it should be used each week!
10. Avoid 404 Errors (Using The ‘Redirection’ Plugin]
If you’ve ever tried to visit a web page only to be redirected to a screen that says “404 Error”, this means the page was either deleted or the URL was changed by the site owner.
You should avoid 404 errors at all costs as its bad for your search engine rankings and could cause your bounce rate (AKA the rate at which users visit and leave your site) to skyrocket. With that said, 404s are common, especially when your site has a lot of pages and posts. With a simple plugin called Redirection, you can easily set up ‘301 redirects’, which basically allows you to change the URL of a page/post or remove it completely without losing any authority for the original URL.
The Redirection plugin is great, as it’s free and let’s you create thousands of 301 redirects. Beyond this, though, the plugin can also notify you when a link has been changed, so you never have to worry about pesky 404 errors. With that being said, you should check the plugin on a weekly basis to ensure it is working properly and sending traffic to the right pages/posts.
11. Monitor Your Website (Using ‘Uptime Robot’)
Site crashes can cause significant downtime, which can lead to lost business as a result. This is why you need to know precisely when your site goes down so you can quickly address and fix the cause of the crash.
Luckily, you can use a free website called Uptime Robot, which monitors your site at all times; ensuring you’re the first to know if/when a crash happens. While the tool essentially runs on its own, one weekly checkup is recommended.
As you can see, properly maintaining your WordPress website on a weekly basis doesn’t need to be a complicated, taxing, or stressful task. Through the use of plugins and other free online tools, the entire process is simplified for you.
For more WordPress maintenance tips, guides, and insights, be sure to stay up to date with the WP Experts blog, or sign up for our monthly WordPress maintenance plans to ensure your site is always running smoothly!