WordPress is a great platform with top-notch capabilities. However, it still does require some maintenance if you want to be certain that your website runs smoothly and without any issues.
To keep your WordPress website in tip-top condition, there are a few essential tips that you should try to utilize:
1. Update WordPress regularly – including plugins and themes
Every WordPress update contains numerous fixes that can help improve security and boost its performance. That applies not just to the core WordPress, but also any plugins and themes that you may have installed.
The one caveat is that you should only update your core WordPress once you know that the plugins and themes you use are compatible with the new version. As a rule, it is best to disable auto-update for that reason.
2. Clean up your database
As time goes by your database is bound to pick up some junk in the form of unnecessary post revisions, auto drafts, spam comments, metadata and so on. All that junk will add to the bloat of your database and could slow down your website.
From time to time you should check and clean up your database so that it is as optimized as possible. If you’d rather not do it manually, there are plugins that can help.
3. Get rid of unused plugins
Plugins are very useful, and odds are you’re going to install quite a few of them. However, if you find that you aren’t using some plugins, you should delete them so that they don’t affect the performance of your website.
4. Backup regularly
Technically backing up your WordPress website is not going to boost its performance, but it will provide you with a safety net in case something goes wrong. If you find that your site has any issues, you can simply restore it using the latest backup.
It is recommended that you back up your website at least once a month. However, if you update it very regularly you may even want to back up the site every week.
5. Monitor the page speed
Page speed can affect both your visitors’ experience as well as search engine rankings. But more importantly, it is a clear indicator of your website’s performance.
Try to periodically monitor the page speed of your website, and investigate if it starts to drop. On top of that, you may want to use Google’s Page Speed tool to see if there are any other improvements that you can make.
6. Find and fix broken links
Dead links are bad, and it will frustrate your website’s visitors if they click on a link and don’t end up at the page they’re looking for. To ensure that doesn’t happen, you should scan your website’s links and fix any that are broken. There are several tools or plugins that you can use to do that.
Aside from internal broken links, you should also keep an eye out for broken backlinks from other websites. The analytics from tools such as Google Analytics can help you identify 404 errors, and you can then set up a 301 redirect to fix them.
To be honest, there is nothing complicated about WordPress maintenance, but it does take time and will require the right tools. If you feel that you aren’t up for it, you could try to outsource it instead.
The main objective should be to maintain your WordPress website frequently enough that its performance remains good – even in the long term. Ideally, you should come up with a schedule to make sure that you don’t overlook it.