Upkeep Your WordPress Site – Things Not to Miss
You know you are sitting on a gold mine, don’t you? That gold mine is your WordPress site!
That freshly-installed or already well developed WordPress site of yours is poised to be a source of income, prospects and possibilities for your business. It has a huge potential to be a powerhouse resource, but there are a few things you need to work on in order to get those benefits flourishing.
If you are just getting started with your WordPress site, do not overlook these important steps that I am going to uncover today, because they are the foundation for a perfect, well optimized and eye-catching website. However, if you maintain your website for some time already you should also read what I’m going to explain today, because you might have forgotten to do some of the daily, weekly or monthly routine checks that might save you a fortune in the long run or in case anything goes wrong.
Let’s get started!
Backups are as much about the restore process as they are about backing up. If anything ever goes wrong, you will want to be able to restore your website as quickly and efficiently as possible. Backups are not something you want to leave to chance. While some hosting companies (especially managed hosting providers) will take care of your backups for you, many other will not.
Figure out on day one how you will manage your backups. You may go with a free solution or a premium one, but remember – sometimes in life you get what you pay for – and when it comes to backups, it is definitely better to be safe rather than be sorry afterwards. Also, decide on the frequency of your backups. If you, for example, have an eCommerce site, it would be a good idea to do daily backups, so that your customer orders, billing information and all other important data is safe every day. On the other hand, if you are a blogger, perhaps you could make it with weekly or even monthly backups, depending on how active you are with your blog.
Here are some of the best free solutions that will take of your WordPress site backups:
This is one of the most loved backup plugins available for you with a rating of 4.9 stars (out of 5) and more than 600,000 installations (as of writing this article).
This plugin allows you to create complete backup of your WordPress site and store it on the cloud or download to your computer. You get the ability to create scheduled backups and store them to your chosen location. The only downside of UpdraftPlus is that despite having great features, it has a cluttered user interface. This makes it difficult for beginners to locate the options they need.
It has more than 400,000 installations (as of writing this article). BackWPup Free plugin allows you to create complete WordPress backup for free and store it on the cloud (Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace, etc.), FTP, email, or on your computer.
It is extremely easy to use and allows you to schedule automatic backups according to your site’s update frequency. Restoring a WordPress site from backup is very simple – just a few clicks!
And for those who are ready to take it up a notch, few of the best premium plugins are:
In an age where backups and security are becoming of paramount importance, you can’t really put an amount on the peace of mind you will gain by going with VaultPress. Instead of wondering if your site is safe and secure, you will be able to focus more on writing and creating an online presence you want. For those wondering which plan would suit them best, I would say go with as much as your budget allows and move from that budget up constantly.
BackupBuddy allows you to backup all your WordPress site files with few clicks only – you may also choose whether to do database backups or full website backups. You can manually create backups at any time you want or schedule them to take place hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. Not only that but you can set the backups to be automatically stored or sent to any remote destination.
Take Care of Your
A hacked site is more than a headache. It can also get you blacklisted by Google, damage your SEO, make your site look untrustworthy, and wreak general havoc.
Some hacks can be insidious and hard to detect. When you get hacked, your site may become inaccessible and simply appear “off.” You might just put those glitches down to tech-weirdness when, in fact, they are symptoms of a hack. Do you by any chance have been blocked from a site, because the all mighty Google told you that the website is not safe and you should go back from where you came? What if this happens when someone wants to access your website?
Fast detection is key and there is a vast amount of security plugins available to help. For example, few amazing plugins to secure your website is WordFence and All In One Security. Both of them have fast, lightweight scanners, report file modifications and changed code. It is then up to you to decide if the code might be malicious or not. Both of these plugins have a lot of additional features, but I’m talking about security here, so you might stumble upon one of the plugins later in this post.
Once you have installed your chosen theme and all of your required plugins, it’s a good idea to go back into your admin dashboard and remove any plugins or themes that you are not using. This is essential for beginners as well as for those who manage their websites for a longer time, because sometimes, when implementing new themes, people tend to install featured plugins, then they switch to another theme and forget to unplug all the unnecessary things. Old themes and plugins that are not updated can contain potential security vulnerabilities and it only takes a few seconds to delete from your WordPress installation.
Everyone wants a fast loading website, so why stuff it with unnecessary things?
With every WordPress installation, there is a handful of plugins that you can safely go ahead and install, but you must choose wisely.
Saving post revisions can be a great thing when you make an accidental edit. If you’re someone who creates your pages or posts from within the WordPress editor, it won’t take long before the number of revision stored in the database start to add up.
Dealing with this problem can be as simple as installing a plugin like Revision Control. If you’re getting to this step a little later in the process and already have a slew of post revisions, you can also install a plugin like WP Sweep or WP Clean Up. These will both help to clean up your database after the fact.
The name of this plugin makes it clear that its primary focus is on search engine optimization. The benefit of SEO is all about getting more visitors to your website, via the search engines. Truthfully, this should always be your top priority anyway – a great user experience means visitors are more likely to come back.
When you’re installing your essential WordPress plugins, making time to include Yoast SEO on the list is a great idea. Laying a solid SEO foundation for your site is very important and there’s nothing worse than having to trawl back through your previously published posts in order to update their SEO fields at a later date.
Spam will not be a problem for your new WordPress website, but if you already have a website for some time, you will know that spammers will find your site soon enough. Before you know it, you will be flooded with unwanted comments from around the globe.
Akismet is free for non-commercial websites and paid for commercial use. It is available individually or as part of the Jetpack suite of tools. You will find Akismet quick and easy to install and I can pretty much guarantee, it will save you hours of time fighting spam.
If you are using shared hosting, a caching plugin will provide your website with a valuable speed boost. A faster website means happier visitors and that is a good thing in Google’s eyes too.
If you are using managed hosting, chances are a caching plugin will be out of the question. But do not worry, well-optimized servers will provide an equivalent or better performance boost.
Is a Must
Your WordPress database stores all of your website content. This includes blog posts, pages, comments, and custom post types such as links, form entries, and portfolio items. It also stores website, theme and plugin settings. Every database will, over time, require some form of maintenance to keep it at an optimal performance level.
Purging deleted rows, resequencing, compressing, managing index paths, defragmenting is what is known as optimization.
“It’s kind of like changing the oil in your car or getting a tune-up.”
You may think you really don’t have to, but by doing so your car runs much better, you get better gas mileage, etc. A car that gets lots of mileage requires tune-ups more often. A database that gets heavy use requires the same. If you are doing a lot of update and/or delete operations, and especially if your tables have variable length columns, you need to keep your database tuned up.
A large database can greatly affect the performance of your website as it takes longer for your server to retrieve information from database tables. This is why database optimization is so important. By removing unnecessary data, you can improve the efficiency of your database and make your web pages load quicker. Optimize your websites database frequently. At least once a month.
Keeping up with WordPress core updates is both – important security measure and overall best practice. These days, WordPress is releasing a new version every six months, with point releases and security updates in-between.
If you’re using a managed WordPress hosting service, they will handle your core WordPress updates. But if not, you will have to update your WordPress core yourself. You can also enable WordPress auto updates for point releases.
There’s some controversy over this because, although the point releases generally won’t break a site, there have been several cases where sites have lost their functionality. Of course, it’s better to take nothing for granted. Test all updates on a staging/test site so you can see if anything breaks. Typically, breakages are not due to WordPress but rather due to incompatible themes and plugins.
At the end of the day running a website isn’t usually the core aspect of any website owner. You might want to do your own website maintenance and you may do your best at giving it a go, however if that seems too hard, or you do not have the time for it, but have some spare money, I advice you to check out WP Upkeep.
Your website may be just a “tool” for your business, so eventually it comes down to a question of value for money and efficiency – how is your time and money best spent?
Maybe it’s better to spend a bit of money and avoid hurdles of headaches and sleepless nights?
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