How to keep a WordPress Website Healthy

Without proper maintenance, your WordPress website will become slow and unreliable. Poorly updated websites can also become a security that risk leaving opening yourself up to attacks from hackers who may steal clients data and spread malware.

Regular maintenance is absolutely essential in order to keep your website healthy and as stable as possible as well as to ensure that your visitors have a good experience while browsing your business website

Backup Your Website

I can’t stress enough the importance of backing up your website regularly.  even if you perform all the other tasks in this blog post but have no backup when it’s needed all of your hard work can be undone as quick as a flash and you don’t want that.

Here are a few basic rules when it comes to backups:

  • Keep several backups in different locations. This can include keeping copies locally or in the cloud.
  • Keep a minimum of 3 backup versions of your site at all times spaced out over a reasonable period of time.  there’s nothing worse than restoring a backup of your site only to realise that it is also hacked and not having anything else to go back too.
  • Make sure you are backing up all your files not just the database.

Plugins I recommend are:

  1. Updraft
  2. All In One Migrate

 

Image size

In today’s modern society speed is essential. Having images on your website that are too large (in KB) or not optimised correctly will slow your site down and make it almost impossible for visitors to have a good experience. This in turn will impact on SERP (Search Engine Results Position)

In order to avoid this you need to learn how to optimise your images for the web before you upload them.  for this you may need a program to help you resize or optimise your images correctly. there are several ways this can be done:

There are a number of ways to do this:

Follow these guidelines for finding the optimal size for your images before uploading them.

  • General illustrations / pics on a page: < 100 KB | resolution 72dpi | under 800px wide
  • Sliders and Full Width images <200 KB (aim for 150kb)  | resolution 72dpi | under 1280px wide

Use a plugin like IMSANITY  or WP Smush to resize large media libraries & keep new image uploads in check.

Updates

Keep Your Files Up to Date

If plugins & themes become out of date – they pose a security risk and can lead to your site becoming hacked.

WordPress Core Files

To reduce your chances of being hacked you need to keep your WordPress up to date. luckily WordPress send out regular updates to keep on top of any security concerns.  you can see WordPress files to automatically update as and when they are released or you can choose to do it manually

Plugins

Plug-ins drive most of the functionality on your website.  Out of date plugins can cause problems in how your site is displayed or even conflicts with the theme itself.

Before selecting a plugin there are four things to consider:

    • Was it created by someone who is trustworthy?
    • Is it listed as compatible with your version of WordPress.  is it listed as compatible with the version of WordPress that you are running.
    • is support provided for the plug-in by the author or is there a support group you can go to if you have an issue
    • how many other people are using this plugin the more people that use it less chance something is going to go wrong with it

There are three key rules to always adhere to when it comes to maintaining your WordPress plugins:

  1. Only use the plugin if absolutely necessary
  2. delete any plugins you are not using or are currently active
  3. once you’ve install the plug-in make sure you keep it up to date.

As part of your monthly maintenance really review your plug into the news on your site and make sure they meet all the above criteria.

Maintaining you WordPress Theme

As with plugins ensure that your WordPress theme files are always kept up to date. Also ensure that any unused things are deleted and not left on the system

Maintain Your Database

Much like your garage the WordPress database can collect a lot of junk cleaning out your database every few months will keep it running smoothly and faster the bigger your website gets the more frequently you add content so the bigger the database will become this can sometimes slow down your site significantly.

Using a plugin like Wp-Rocket  is like having a personal assistant for your WordPress database it will help by cleaning up and optimising the tables in your database. Please be aware that you MUST backup your database before you perform any type of maintenance at at all

Keeping on top of security

This should really be a monthly task and should be done before you backup.

  • Scan for malware using this free tool: http://sitecheck.sucuri.net/  
  • Look for anything unusual on your website – select a few random pages & perform a visual check of them.
  • Typed your website URL into Google using “site:yourdomain.com”  this will show you a list of your indexed pages if you look closely at the meta descriptions you will quickly be able to see if your site has been hacked as some of the most common hacks that occur will inject new metadata into your pages or posts

You may also be interested in reading more about the ideal “Maintenance Timeline for your blog”

If this all sounds too overwhelming

Contact me for an obligation free quote on maintaining & managing your companies website.