When you log into your website do you see warnings to update your plugins, theme, or WordPress version? Unsure of what this means or what to do? You’re not alone.
Let’s chat about:
- Why updating your WordPress website is important,
- What your maintenance should include,
- Free tools to assist you with updates,
- And how your web designer can help;
Why should you update your website?
Think of your website as a new car purchased with your hard-earned money. You wouldn’t expect your car to run smoothly without service, right? Neither will your website. Both contain a bunch of moving parts that need to be checked and adjusted to maintain top speed. Keeping on top of website ‘servicing’ is necessary to ensure your website isn’t left glitchy, slow to load, or vulnerable to hackers.
What should be included in your WordPress maintenance?
WordPress maintenance refers to a variety of tasks used to continually monitor and improve the performance, security, and quality of your WordPress site. These tasks can be performed weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on how often you update your site and if you collect sensitive information from your users.
- Backups: This involves making copies of your website in various locations in the event you need to restore it due to a security breach or an internal conflict.
- Updating WordPress Core: WordPress is constantly being updated to fix bugs such as security vulnerabilities. It’s important to stay updated with the latest version to ensure your site is safe. Most managed WP hosting plans automatically update this for you.
- Theme + Plugin Updates: Your theme dictates the look and feel of your site and plugins provide added features such as forms, image slideshows, social media feeds, SEO plugins, performance plugins, etc. The creators of these different pieces of software regularly release updates that patch vulnerability issues or improve performance and functionality. Updating these as soon as possible reduces the chances of websites being hacked, loading slowly, or not functioning as they should.
- Clearing your cache: Caches are saved files that help your site load faster. Over time they build up and cause a slowdown. It’s important to periodically clear the cache and do a reset.
- Optimizing your database: Your WordPress database is comprised of data such as user roles, post information, and other site data. As time passes, the database can collect unnecessary information, such as trashed posts and spam comments. Oversized images also contribute to this bloat. Optimizing your database clears this excess data and helps your site load faster.
Beyond this list, there are smaller tasks such as clearing out your media library, deleting spam comments, fixing broken links, testing forms, and changing passwords.
Here are a few tools to assist you in maintaining your WordPress website:
These plugins are free and can help you maintain the integrity of your website.
- Updraft Plus Backdraft: UpdraftPlus is the World’s leading backup, restore, and migration WordPress plugin. It will help you backup your website with confidence.
- Titan Anti-Spam: Anti-Spam prevents Spam comments from appearing your website.
- Smush: Optimizes your images by shrinking them to reduce the size of your database and speed up your website.
How can a web designer help you?
We now know your WordPress site needs regular updating to keep it secure and performing well. But updates can completely change the look of your site and can cause conflicts between the core, theme, and plugins. And making these updates can be time-consuming, especially if something goes wrong. Most designers offer website maintenance packages or care plans. And having a peace of mind knowing that your site is in safe hands with a designer you know and trust is important.
Concerned about the maintenance of your website? Feel free to reach out — I’m happy to help!
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