If you're the owner of a website, don't forget that it's no different from any non-digital possessions. You need to take care of it in order for it to function properly. If you're unsure of what exactly needs regular maintenance, keep on reading.
Update WordPress (or CMS) Core
WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS)used by most websites today. It forms the backbone of your entire website completely controls your content and security.
Therefore, it makes sense that your website maintenance routine should first and foremost cover WordPress updates. Every few months or so, the WordPress organization usually releases new patches to fix security and other functionalities. These updates are generally released in response to a newly discovered vulnerability that has the potential to be exploited.
You must apply these updates as soon as you can to minimize the chance of attacks on your website. If you don't, you run the risk of making your site susceptible to hacks.Hackers are especially attracted to dormant websites with outdated WordPress or other CMS systems.
Update plugins and themes
Like your content management system, its plugins and themes must be regularly updated as well. Outdated plugins can potentially become an entry point for hackers and attackers to gain access to your CMS. Updated plugins attempt to patch up any vulnerabilities to make them more secure. It is also crucial to only use plugins from reputable developers.
You should update your themes as well. This may include some additional visual features or upgrades that will significantly benefit the aesthetics and functionality of your site as the internet continues to evolve.
Scan for malware
Malware is malicious software that can wreak havoc on your website and exploit sensitive data. This small, almost invisible software can be inserted into security holes in your website.
They come in many forms, like drive-by downloads, fake plugins, and code manipulation. Once they're on your website, hackers can use them for a variety of attacks, or to steal your information.
Also, if Google suspects your website of having malware, it will remove your site from search results entirely. Of course, this will plummet traffic to your site.
It’s recommended that you perform regular scanning of your website to check for any possible malware. You can use free tools like Google Free Malware Checker or Sucuri, which can do automatic monitoring for you.
You can also perform source code monitoring using a tool like Codeguard. This informs you of any changes to your site’s source code, which is an indication of the presence of malware.
Take a backup
Doing a backup is one of the essential security tasks you should regularly tend to. Backing up your data will protect the contents of your site in case of catastrophic website failure. If this happens, you'll be glad that you prepared ahead of time.
By using the latest backup to restore your website to full functionality, the problem can be solved swiftly. If not, you'll be forced to re-upload your website piece by piece. In the worst-case scenario, you can permanently lose data.
Some web hosting services will offer an automatic backup feature. If not, you’ll have to schedule it manually. Make sure also to store a copy of your data offsite, in case you need to use a different web host or server.
Perform regular backups today, and you’ll thank yourself later on.
Review and add/update your content
Adding new and fresh content is key to keeping your website relevant to your users. A website that has outdated content will quickly lag in Google search results, as other websites fill in the content gap that you aren't keeping up with.
As you add and update content, don’t forget to check for broken links as well. Getting a “404 – Not Found” page is frustrating to users, and will only diminish your site’s traffic and SEO rankings.
It's recommended to optimize your site's storage by removing any files you no longer need. For example, if you have images or videos your site is no longer using, then it is best to delete them. Doing so makes it easier to manage your website without any useless clutter accumulating.