The holiday season can be a busy time for many of us, and it’s easy to put WordPress check-ups on the back burner. However, the new year is the perfect time to take care of some maintenance before business starts to heat up again. It’s important to ensure that your WordPress site is in the best shape possible to avoid troublesome errors or issues when you least expect them. Fortunately, there are some basic WordPress security checks and maintenance tasks that you can do to ensure your site is in top working order as you launch into 2017. Here are our top recommendations:
1. Do a Website Backup
A full website backup is a maintenance task that you may not have thought about in a while. However, it’s important to have a backup in case anything goes wrong as you fine-tune and update your website. We recommend storing your website information in multiple places, such as locally and on the cloud. You should also backup any and all files associated with the site. There are many WordPress backup options available, such as VaultPress.
2. Ensure WordPress Core Files, Plugins, and Themes are Up-To-Date
Keeping WordPress core files, plugins, and themes up-to-date is easy and stress-free. It’s important to ensure that these are in good working condition as it’s equally as important as backing up your entire website. If you don’t have core files, plugins, and themes set to update automatically, you can do manual updates.
WordPress Core Files: When you initially download WordPress core files, there is an option to auto-update, which is always a smart idea. It’s important to make sure core files are updated because designers are constantly making important updates to help WordPress run smoothly.
Plugins & Themes: You can check the Dashboard > Updates menu to see if any of your plugins/themes need updating. Notifications make it incredibly easy to do a manual update if yours are not automatic. It’s important to note that plugins and themes being out of date was closely linked to the hacking of WordPress sites, so don’t let them collect dust and remain out of date.
3. Get Rid of Unused Plugins
Unused plugins can cause site vulnerabilities and slow down your site. It’s easy to re-download plugins, so get rid of any that you’re unlikely to use again.
4. Back-Up Your Blog Content
In addition to backing up your entire WordPress site, you should also backup your blog content specifically. If something were to happen to your blog, that content could potentially be lost forever. You can store those files on a hard drive or the cloud, or use an automated WordPress Backup to Dropbox.
5. Get Rid of Spam and Trash Comments
Trash or spam comments take up site storage space and don’t do you any favors. It’s important to get rid of them at least monthly, if not weekly.
6. Delete Post Revisions
WordPress regularly backs up your content, but once it’s live and secure, you should delete post revisions as they take up unnecessary space. The WP-Optimize WordPress plugin is a quick and easy way to get rid of revisions and more.
7. Check for Broken Links
Checking your blog and WordPress content for broken links is a maintenance task that often falls to the wayside. Broken links can devalue your content in terms of SEO/online rankings and the experience of your readers. The WordPress Broken Link Checker is helpful in crawling your pages and looking for these kinds of errors.
Regular maintenance helps your site’s security, performance, and user experience. These seven maintenance tips are bound to get your WordPress site in good working order as we launch into 2017.