6 Annual WordPress Maintenance Tasks To Keep Your Website Running Smoothly

It goes without saying, but maintaining a WordPress website without the right tools in place to guide you can be a laborious process. It can also be overwhelming to research the best maintenance plugins and set the proper reminders to keep your site up to date and running flawlessly.

Fortunately, we -- here at WP Expert -- have put together this list of 6 annual WordPress maintenance tasks to ensure your website continues to run smoothly:

1. Renew Your Domain Name                            

Renewing your domain name sounds like a relatively simple task, and for the most part it is. However, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind before your renewal date to avoid any potential issues.

For instance, if you replaced your credit card within the last year, the card on file with your registrar (HostGator, GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.) is likely invalid. This means you’ll need to update your payment information to avoid any lapses in the domain renewal process. Additionally, it’s important to ensure your contact info -- such as your phone number, address, and email -- is up to date as well.

You should also set up a yearly reminder to renew your domain name. We recommend notifying yourself a few days before the renewal date, as this will give you enough time to make any changes.

Some registrars allow you to set up auto-renewal for your domains, so you may want to consider taking advantage of this feature if it’s available. Keep in mind, though, you’ll still need to ensure your information is accurate and valid, so setting a reminder is still a smart idea.

2. Figure Out if Your Current Hosting Plan Still Makes Sense

A lot can change in 12 months. Maybe your current hosting plan -- which was once good enough for the amount of traffic you received (or lack thereof) -- simply isn’t cutting it anymore.

Maybe your WordPress site speed or performance isn’t where it needs to be; or perhaps you’re wanting to add more storage space than your current plan provides.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to figure out if you need to upgrade your plan or change hosting providers altogether. There are plenty of options when it comes to hosting and you should take this opportunity to shop around in order to find the right hosting for your specific needs.

If your WordPress site is for your business, then it’s wise to choose a hosting plan that can evolve and scale with your company, if you haven’t already.

You should also consider choosing a plan that doesn't lock you into an annual contract, as this will provide more flexibility moving forward. Just keep in mind, you might pay a bit more for the luxury of being able to cancel your plan whenever you choose -- but it might be worth it in the long run.

Be sure to check that the copyright year in the footer of your website is up to date. While this may seem like an insignificant aspect, it is vital to the overall image of your website and your brand.

If the copyright date in the footer is two years old, a visitor and potential customer may think that there is a lack of consistent maintenance, not just on the website, but within your business. This can leave a negative impression, and cause users to avoid your site altogether.

The copyright year is also an indication of the productivity of the company, since it reflects the last time updates were made within the business and the website. Set an annual reminder for yourself to change the copyright year to the current one, so that as your company evolves, the year listed reflects that consistent growth.

4. Review Pages for Accurate Info                      

If your business is growing and changing at a rapid pace, this is a good sign. That means that it is gaining traction in its respective market. However, the website must reflect any and all changes taking place within the company itself.

It will pay off to go through each page of your WordPress website, making sure every detail still reflects your company’s brand, image, and culture/mission. You want people to trust the business you’ve built and maintained, and having consistency is key.

You will, no doubt, need to make changes to the site throughout the year. However, it may be worth scheduling an annual team meeting to collectively review the website’s content, looking for any inconsistencies that may alter its overall image.

5. Review Marketing Analytics and Website Data

Most businesses create a marketing strategy for the year. This may consist of identifying your target audience, meeting sales quotas, creating social media strategies, increasing follower count, putting together new visual and written content, or expanding the scope and reach of your website.

It is important to check annually that your website is meeting your marketing goals. If they are not being met, consider reviewing and updating the sections that didn’t perform up to par, so that you can more effectively lock in business as traffic flows to your website.

Depending on the analytics from the previous year, you’ll be able to create a new marketing strategy for the year ahead, including any changes that were made to the website. With the right tools and strategies, the website will contribute to the company’s overall growth.

6. Update Your Website Design                                             

While fresh, well-written content is certainly vital to your company’s website, you might want to complement it with an attractive new web design layout. After all, without the right design -- something that caters to your target audience -- the volume and quality of your content will be irrelevant as most users will likely avoid visiting your site.

Ascertaining your target demographic’s preferences in style and image (no matter how you do so) should be something you do on a consistent basis. This ensures your design is always fresh and leaves a good impression on website visitors.

For instance, your audience may gravitate towards certain colors or pages that have specific elements (sliders, FAQ sections, contact forms, etc.). If this is the case, you may want these elements incorporated site-wide.

Maybe it’s time for a new look and feel entirely. Luckily, WordPress offers a plethora of website themes and plugins to help customize them, so updating your web design on an annual basis doesn’t need to be a long and laborious task.                                                                  

We Want to Help You Become a WP Expert Too!

There you have it -- 6 annual tasks to keep your website running at its absolute best! If properly maintained, your WordPress website will not only help your business grow, but it will minimize the amount of tasks you need to carry out on a regular basis. This will also allow you to focus on the other, more important aspects of the business that require your attention.

Keep in mind, setting reminders and being vigilant about any changes to your site will help you identify maintenance issues as they arise and find the best ways to remediate them. WordPress offers a wide range of easy-to-use plugins for all your maintenance needs, which can be found in various helpful online checklists, forums, and blog posts.

For more tips on creating and maintaining your WordPress website, be sure to stay up to date with our blog!

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