Websites are easier to run on your own than they ever have been before, with content management systems like WordPress. However, with that ease of use, it’s also easy to neglect the basic maintenance. And what you don’t know about managing your website can hurt you!
Here are six tips for managing your WordPress website on an ongoing basis.
1. Back up frequently
While your website host likely maintains a recent backup of your website in case of emergencies, it’s a good idea to regularly back it up on your own, and keep a copy yourself.
You can do so on a regular basis (i.e. monthly or weekly), before and/or after major changes (adding content, upgrading WordPress or plugins), or you can do some combination of both.
I recommend BackupBuddy from iThemes, and have used it to back up, restore, and even migrate websites for several years. While it isn’t a free plugin, it’s well worth the investment.
2. Upgrade consistently
WordPress now applies minor upgrades automatically. But you’ll want to apply major upgrades yourself (after backing it up), and also upgrade your plugins. Putting a monthly event on your calendar to make sure your website is upgraded is a good idea.
And always check your website thoroughly after upgrading. Make sure all the plugins you upgraded continue to function as expected.
3. Keep it secure
Hacking is a fact of life, and WordPress is a fairly popular target for hackers. It suffers from the same problem Windows does: It doesn’t matter whether it’s inherently secure or insecure, it’s so popular and easy to set up without any protection, that it’s a natural target.
For this, I recommend another iThemes paid plugin, iThemes Security Pro. While it can be a bit of a beast to set up initially, it’s well worth it.
4. Check your links
Links go bad all the time, something that is sometimes referred to link rot. Certainly external pages you link to can disappear, but you may also change or delete something on your own website, and forget you’ve linked to it elsewhere.
I like to use Broken Link Checker, since you can set it to run on your site on its own, and it will email you when it detects broken links.
5. Redirect bad links
Of course, you won’t always catch those bad internal links right away, and you’d hate to lose the traffic. Not only that, but often other people will share a link to something on your website, and they may mess up a character or two.
Although it hasn’t been updated in a while, I still recommend Smart 404. It makes an effort to guess what the link was supposed to point to, and redirects the website visitor there.
6. Fight comment spam
Blog comment spam is a real problem, and it can be annoying. If the settings on your website aren’t secure, it can result in spammy links and comments being published on your website. And if the settings are secure, it can still be a pain to go through all your comments, deleting the spam and approving legitimate comments.
Enter the Comment Blacklist for WordPress. This open source list of over 18,000 phrases, patterns, and keywords commonly used by spammers can simply be copied and pasted into the Comment Blacklist field of your WordPress Discussion Settings panel.
Need website management help?
Of course, it may be that even with these WordPress plugins and tools available, you just have no desire to manage your website by yourself. Although we’re not a good fit for everyone, we do offer WordPress website management. We would be happy to chat to see if we’re a good fit for you.
Just request a quote on WordPress website management, and we’ll get in touch.