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10 WordPress Website Maintenance Tasks That Keep Your Site Running Optimally

  • 10 min read
  • March 22, 2024
WordPress Website Maintenance

As a website owner, you should know that there’s so much more to website ownership than updating or posting content and analysing how well it’s performing. But, are you aware of the essential tasks you should be performing routinely as part of your WordPress website maintenance

Perhaps you are, but aren’t exactly sure what these tasks are. Or, you’ve only just learned that you should be doing more to keep your site in check! So, how does one look after their website properly? What does WordPress website maintenance actually entail?

Website maintenance doesn’t have to be time consuming. However, it is a vital part of website ownership that time needs making for. Maintenance tasks ensure that your site stays secure from security threats and keeps your website performing optimally. It also prevents bugs, downtime, and further issues arising. 

And the best part? The KIJO team has put together the 10 most essential WordPress website maintenance tasks for you! Below you’ll find the fundamental tasks that should be completed routinely and how to easily conduct them.

KIJO’s 10 Essential WordPress Website Maintenance Tasks

1. WordPress Core Updates

WordPress website maintenance task 1: Core Updates

Arguably, the most important WordPress website maintenance task is keeping its software up to date. Core updates for WordPress can be large or small. They may be to fix a bug, improve security, introduce new features or implement more major changes. Regardless, if there’s one showing as available, you should update it ASAP. 

If an update is available, you will be notified in your WordPress Admin dashboard. From there, you can click your way through to installing the update. If you have a comprehensive WordPress hosting package in place, this may be taken care of by your hosting provider directly. So, make sure you check what’s included in their service.

However, before you make the update, always make sure you’ve backed up your site (covered below). Do this in case the change impacts your website’s functionality or aesthetic. You can always create a local copy (or staging site) of your WordPress website and install updates there first. Then you can see if it’s going to alter anything untoward. WordPress explains how to do so here.

No matter whether you test updates before installing them or not, you should always keep your site backed up regardless.

2. Backups

WordPress website maintenance task 2: Backups

Backing up your site after every change or edit is an essential part of WordPress website maintenance. This is because, if something were to go wrong with your site (like an impactful WordPress update or a hack), you’ll always have the most recent version of it to restore to. 

If you’re with a comprehensive WordPress hosting service, backups should be conducted and provided for you. At KIJO, our WordPress Hosting package offers daily backups as standard.  

Alternatively, there are plugin options like Duplicator, UpdraftPlus, or Jetpack that you can consider to conduct your backups.

3. Plugin Updates

WordPress website maintenance task 3: Plugin Updates

Like core WordPress updates, plugin updates should be kept on top of as well. These can also fix security issues, provide bug fixes and implement new features. 

That said, plugin updates can also create issues like WordPress core updates can. So, make sure you backup your site before you commence a plugin update so you can revert back if needed. Again, you can create a staging site or you may choose to wait a few days after the release of a plugin update. This will allow developers to identify and fix any issues that may have arisen and other sites have reported. 

You’ll be notified in the top bar of the WordPress admin dashboard if plugin updates are available. You can set your plugin updates to automatic. However, this will mean you won’t be able to test that your website isn’t affected by the update in question prior. Plus, auto-updates aren’t available for all plugins. So, you would still have to keep this task as part of your WordPress website maintenance plan.

4. Theme Updates

WordPress website maintenance task 4: Theme Updates

Here at KIJO, we don’t use themes. However, if you manage your website yourself, updating your themes is important for reducing bugs and for installing new, upgraded features. But, it can impact the look and feel of your website. So, as above, make sure that site is properly backed up before applying the update. 

Just like plugin updates, you will be notified that there are theme updates on the top bar of WordPress admin dashboard. You can also set theme updates to auto-update. However, the same concerns that arise with doing so on plugin updates are valid with themes as well.

5. Security & Malware Scans

WordPress website maintenance task 5: Security & Malware Scans

By staying on top of your WordPress website maintenance and keeping your core, plugin and theme updates fresh, this will reduce the risk of security issues. However, despite WordPress’s core software being incredibly secure in itself, it’s always worth having it as tight as possible. At KIJO, we use the plugin SolidWP (previously known as iThemes) for security certainty. 

SolidWP has a good cross section of useful features. From two-factor authentication, brute force protection, file change detection and backend hiding. These latter two features are most useful because of the techniques advanced bots use to hunt out WordPress sites and attempt to guess the user’s passwords.

6. Change Passwords

WordPress website maintenance task 6: Change Passwords

Passwords should always be strong and unique for all of your online accounts, particularly as a business. They’re our first defence against hackers.

However, even if you deem them unguessable, hackers and malware are getting more sophisticated by the second. So, WordPress security experts recommend changing your passwords regularly.

We appreciate that strong passwords can be hard to remember, particularly within a business. You could consider a password manager app like 1Password. This stores and fills passwords for you and your team securely, removing the need to remember them.

 7. Find and Fix Errors

WordPress website maintenance task 7: Find and Fix Errors

You should be routinely checking for page errors (404s) and broken links on your site. This can be considered a key website maintenance task. Errors and broken links on your pages can not only impact your user experience in a significant way, it can negatively affect how Google ranks your site too. 

Using a plugin like AIOSEO can help you track 404s and broken links easily and fix them within the plugin. AIOSEO automatically scans your site every three days. This makes staying on top of this side of essential website maintenance more of a doddle.

8. Run Performance Tests

WordPress website maintenance task 8: Run Performance Tests

Running performance tests routinely on your website is a really important part of WordPress website maintenance and overall ownership. As you add new content, begin to use new plugins and your site visits grow, your site’s performance may falter. 

Fast, functioning websites help boost your user experience and help you rank well on Google. So, making performance checks a part of your WordPress maintenance plan is a great practice to have. 

At KIJO, we leverage Google Lighthouse – a free Google Chrome extension that considers several factors including performance, SEO and accessibility. It also offers the ability to test progressive web apps for compliance with standards and best practices. It then offers suggestions on how to improve these aspects too. 

You can read up on using Google Lighthouse to optimise your site here.

9. Declutter Your WordPress Database

WordPress website maintenance task 9: Declutter your WordPress database

Did you know that WordPress stores most of its data in your WordPress database? The database contains all of your content, users, settings and comments and overtime can amass a lot of unnecessary data. If you don’t declutter it, it can increase your WordPress backup size. This can negatively impact the ease of restoring your website. 

You can declutter your WordPress database by using the WP Optimise plugin. You can simply select which operations you’d like to be decluttered and optimised. Then, after one click, the plugin does it all for you. In turn, this should help improve your database performance. However, always back your website up before running this programme, just in case anything runs awry. 

10. Content & SEO Audit

WordPress website maintenance task 10: SEO & Content Audit

A thorough content and SEO audit is always an advisable WordPress website maintenance task. Google’s ranking parameters are continuously evolving and changing. So, staying abreast of keywords, ideal CTA placements and other SEO factors is important. 

We’d recommend working with specialists like us here at KIJO and consider signing up for our KIJO Optimise service. The KIJO Optimise package offers an in-depth audit of your site’s performance, UX, traffic and conversions monthly or quarterly. Looking at 113 data points, our expert team will pinpoint exactly how to make your site rank higher on Google, boost traffic, and increase conversion volume and ratio. 

Of course, you can always leverage Google Search Console and Google Analytics yourself to assess where and what your visitors are doing and which articles and keywords need updating. That said though, collaborating with experts in the field is what’s really going to help set your website apart.

How Long Does Website Maintenance Take?

The time it takes to conduct website maintenance really depends site by site. So, making a WordPress maintenance plan that works for you and your business is key. It may be helpful to consider breaking down tasks into ones that need to be completed daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. 

However, tasks like checking for updates on WordPress core and the plugins you’re using, and generally checking that all pages are loading properly, should be done at least weekly. Backups? Ideally daily. 

At KIJO, we offer monthly WordPress Website Maintenance packages as standard. That way you know your site is being taken care of routinely, every 4 weeks. Instructing website pros like us to take this off your task list helps ensure you’re never missing a beat when it comes to your website.

How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a WordPress Website?

This will depend on how frequently you require your website to be maintained and how much maintenance is required. DIY updates may already be included in your hosting package, or you can do them yourself for free (like changing your passwords and installing updates). WordPress website maintenance may be more affordable than you think though. So, why not enquire with the KIJO team about our WordPress Website Maintenance and Hosting packages?

WordPress Website Maintenance

Maintaining your website doesn’t have to be complicated or laborious. What it does need is to be done and stayed on top of! 

The first step to take is to check in with your WordPress host provider and see what’s included in your package. Next, make a list of tasks that need to be undertaken outside of your host’s. Then, schedule them into a WordPress maintenance plan specific to your site. 

However, if you’re in any way hesitant or unsure about your website maintenance tasks, we’d always recommend drafting in experts. Contact a team of Website Maintenance professionals – like us here at KIJO!

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