A previous blogpost on the Zestee Social Media School Website Pyramid looked at how building a solid website is like a house. Once you’ve built your website, it requires regular maintenance to keep it running well. Depending on the size of your site, the time this takes varies, but for a small site, this should only take a few minutes each week. It will allow you to identify any potential problems quickly, ensure you keep in touch with audience members who have taken the time to comment on blog posts and give you a useful overview via statistics.
Here are five tips for weekly WordPress Website Maintenance:
1. Check the home page
Sounds simple, but just visiting the home page of your website is a worthwhile easy check to do weekly – or even daily. If there are any issues with hosting, your domain name, or worse, that your site has been hacked, this visit will make sure it is identified immediately. Something you might also like to try is visiting your website from various devices, such as your laptop, mobile and tablet or trying different browsers such as Safari and Firefox. Click through on links to make sure these are all working correctly and in general, just try to cast a fresh eye over your homepage to experience what first time visitors will see.
2. Export site (all content)
From the WordPress Dashboard, choose “tools” then “export” then “all content”. This will create a .xml with your pages, posts, comments and other information, depending on which plugins you could have installed. BE AWARE – this is not a total backup of all of your WordPress website database, you will need a separate backup service for this, but it will still save a significant amount of content. I’ve been glad I’ve never needed to access this, but it’s quick and easy to do and may save me a lot of time if I was ever to lose my site.
3. Run any WordPress, PlugIn and Theme Updates
To keep your site stable, it’s recommended that you regularly run any updates. These will show up as a number next to “plugins” or under the “Dashboard” header and then “updates”. These are also quick and easy to run and ensure you have the latest versions. Something to be aware of here is that when you update, there is a small chance that newer versions create unexpected problems. However if you have backups and exports as above, and you check your site again afterwards then you will rarely have issues, and any potential problems are well outweighed by the fact that not updating can cause worse problems.
4. Check and action comments
You can of course do this more regularly than weekly, but dedicating a few minutes each week to a check can make sure that you keep comments under control. Just click on the comments section on the dashboard and reply to any (it’s good practice to reply to any genuine comments on your blog) and delete any spam that your spam filters may have missed.
5. Check and analyse statistics
I use Jetpack for statistics and take a look each week at my referrers (where visits are coming from), top posts and pages, search engine terms people are using to find my site and clicks. You may wish to go into more depth with Google Analytics as well but for most small business, the WordPress Jetpack statistics are sufficient.
This post is part of the Zestee Social Media School free social media tips and tricks series.
6 thoughts on “Five Tips for Weekly WordPress Website Maintenance”
Great post! Very helpful, especially for small business and entrepreneurs. They must learn to stay updated on the blog/website at all times. The success of their online business lies on their own hands.
Thanks for stopping by Geri 🙂
I was considering a WordPress site but this updating all the time seems like a real turn off for me. Any other suggestions?
Hi Dymphna, thanks for your comment. If you invest in any website (your time and money), WordPress or otherwise, it’s well worth taking a few minutes each week to maintain it. In another comment I compared a website to a house, and here suggest it could also be like a car. You don’t HAVE to do regular maintenance, but if you don’t, at some stage things may go wrong on a much larger scale that could be avoided with just a little regular checks.
If you’d like alternative suggestions to WordPress, there are lots out there such as Wix, Weebly and you may find you could skip points 2 & 3, but you will also have limited functions and I’m not familiar with their operations and own internal back up processes.
Whatever you choose, I would highly recommend that anyone who has a website for business, is doing at least points 1, 4 & 5 regularly – whether you do it weekly or otherwise, it’s up to you. Another comment here from Natalie shares a site you can register at that sends you an email if your website goes offline (point 1), but anyone with a blog will need to do points 4 (check comments) as otherwise you may end up missing connections with (potential clients) or over-run with spam (though I have set it up that I need to approve comments first).
Point 5 (statistics) is also relevant to any website, again, you don’t need to do this, but the information it can offer about your visitors is really useful for business decisions.
So overall, yes, it is a little bit of work, but with a quick checklist like this and a few minutes a week, it will keep your website running smoothly. There are a lot of website options out there but after a lot of initial research, I found that WordPress was one of the most economical and easiest options. Good luck! Renee
Another quick tip that goes hand-in-hand with your first point – have a look at siteuptime.com – you can sign up and register your website there and they routinely check to see if your website is accessible.
If your site is down, you’ll receive an email notification and if it’s not quickly resolved by your host (most are) then you can follow up with your hosting company if need be. This service was really helpful to me because my previous host had constant problems. After using siteuptime to track every time my site was down, I realised it was time to switch to a more reliable host! 🙂
Also – if you have a contact form on your website, regularly fill out the form yourself to check if you receive the response! Good to do just after installing an update 😉
Thanks Natalie, very handy tips, thanks for taking the time to share!