10 Tips to Keep Your WordPress Website Healthy
However, like all websites, you need to take care of things on a regular basis so they remain stable, fast as lightning and error free.
Keeping your WordPress website healthy is no different. If the last time you logged in to your WordPress site was a long time ago then chances are that it’s not running at it’s best, opening you up to potential threats and issues that you may not even be aware of.
So, that being said you can probably see that WordPress regular maintenance is a must. Newt Labs has put together an informative guide on the top ten things you should be doing on a regular basis to keep your WordPress website healthy.
Here are the top ten tips to keep your WordPress website healthy
1) Backup your WordPress website
This is probably the most critical out of all the tips. If you don’t follow any of the other advice, this one will save your bacon.
We have seen it countless times, some people only see backups as important when they need to actually restore their website due to technical issues or some other problem.
Don’t be that person!
Backup your site at least weekly, it’s also key to backup your site prior to updating software or installing new plugins. Should you encounter any problems you can always roll back to the previous save.
A couple of other tips would be to backup to the cloud if possible and not your computer. Should your device die, all your backups will go too. If the worst should happen and your website does go down, having it saved in the cloud is a life line.
Secondly, when you do backup up your WordPress website, especially before a major update, name it correctly and keep a note.
It’s far easier to look down the list of backups and find the name ‘backup prior to xxxx plugin installation’ than a list of random dates. In six months time, if you do need to restore to a much earlier point, it’s better to know why the backup was done and you can restore the correct verion.
2) Update WordPress and plugins
A lot of WordPress websites that are glitcy, slow or don’t work correctly are normally down to it being out of date.
Make sure that as soon as you see that WordPress has an update that you move to the latest version.
The updates are there for a reason, they will help keep your security on point and also keep the site running at its best.
3) Only use plugins and themes that are up to date
Only install plugins if you really need the functionality or design that they offer. That may sound strange, but if you really don’t need something on your website, don’t install the plugin.
Also, check when a plugin or theme was last updated by its developers. If they were last updated 3 years ago, chances are they are no longer being worked on and developed, they could be old and cause your website issues.
If this is the case, remove the plugin or theme and find a replacement that is current – again see point 1 before you do this.
We’ve seen sites with 40-50 plugins installed, they all need to work together, they all don’t update together. Keep your plugins as stripped back as much as possible to keep your WordPress website healthy and happy.
4) Security on your WordPress site is paramount
Keep on top of the security on your website, on a frequest basis make sure that you scan your site using tried and tested programs. Wordfence is excellent for this.
If you notice that things aren’t running correctly it may not be something technical it could be that your website or PC has been infected or hacked by a third party or automated program.
5) Sping clean your database
WordPress is great at storing older versions of your content, if the worst happens it will allow you to revert back to a previous point.
However, this stored data including parts such as spam comments take up space in your database. When someone visits your site, all this information is loaded.
Removing this bloated information will help improve the performance of your website.
6) Test for and remove broken links
No one likes clicking a link and it taking them to a page that no longer exists – it’s really annoying. Not only that, but its not good for search engines.
A good tip is to check all links on your website to make sure the locations that they are pointing to are still there.
Whether the links direct to another page on your website or they are linking externally to another website, the same applies.
If your site does have broken links, either link to another place that is live and active or add a redirect to an alternative page on your website.
By doing this, it will not only keep your visitors on side, but it will also help with your search engine optimistion.
If you have a small website with not to many pages then you can do this manually. However, if your website is massive with lots of pages of content this is won’t be easy to do.
There are numerous tools online that will scan your website and spit out a list of pages that have broken links. Semrush is one of these that will not only show you broken links but also help you understand how healthy your website is.
7) Moderate your website comments
If your website has a blog or a feature to leave feedback of some kind then it’s always best if you respond when someone leaves a comment.
Also, having these areas means your site is open to abuse, people can leave anything they like. Always make sure that no comment goes onto your website without having to physically accept or reject it.
8) Website traffic & stats
Constantly checking your website traffic is something that you should be doing as part of your daily/weekly tasks.
Information of how people are using your website is one of the best ways to fully understand how ‘good’ your website is. By doing so, you’ll be able to see what pages have the most visitors, how long people spend on your website, how they are getting to these pages and whether they have a low bounce rate.
Analysing this data will allow you to improve all of your pages making them the best they can be in both technical terms and also from a userbility point of view.
9) Test and retest your website
Have you ever heard of the phrase, ‘if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it?’
The point here is, if you don’t test it, you’re not really going to have a good grip on whether it is actually working fine.
For instance, check how your website appears on different browsers, click all links to make sure they go to the correct location and these are still working. Test the site speed on a regular basis and check your website on different device screens to make sure it’s opperating how it should.
10) Website SEO
Each page of your website should have at least the bare minimum when it comes to SEO. Ensure that your pages have meta tags, alt descriptions and that images are called exactly what they should be.
SEO is a complex and neverending task, however, even if you would sooner get on with your running your business, take a little time each month to fully look at where your website ranks. Do this by searching for the main keywords that your business should be found for.
Look at where your website sits in the results and devise a plan of action on how you’re going to improve your positioning. There are many great articles online that will help you with this, there are even many platforms and online services that you can use that will give you an instant understanding of how well your SEO actually is.