I have written this post for all those people out there who little if anything at all about maintaining their WordPress sites and who cannot afford to pay someone a monthly fee to manage their site.
Depending on the amount of fresh content that goes up on your site, the following steps that will take you 10 minutes at the very most can be applied on either a weekly or monthly basis. If you are posting every day, you will want to tidy up shop at least once a week. If you are only posting once or twice a week or hardly ever, then you should really carry out these steps on a monthly basis.
1. Always backup your database
It is absolutely essential that you backup your WordPress database on a regular basis, especially if you are posting regularly on your site. There are a number of WordPress database backup plugins out there. I use the aptly titled “WordPress Database Backup” plugin and in the settings you can automate it to schedule your database backup within a range of twice-daily to monthly.
2. Check to see if there is a new WordPress update
The people at WordPress are always actively working away on improving and expanding the scope and user experience of the platform so you need to check whether they have made any updates that you need to implement. This is always a very straight-forward process as when you login in to your Dashboard you will generally see a prompt to update your WordPress software as pictured below. To be on the safe side though, ALWAYS make sure you have a fresh backup of your database before clicking on the “Update Now” button as you never know if there could be a problem with software update and your site.
There are times that a WordPress update can interfere with your site. WordPress is an open source platform with options for different themes and plugins developed by other parties, it is not surprising that some of the coding may clash. You should always check your site after an update to make sure that all is well. Quite often is there is an issue, an error message will tell you whether the clash of coding is with the theme or a particular plugin. If not, then I suggest troubleshooting by deactivating one plugin at a time to see if the issue is there. If nothing comes up there, then the next step would be to check with theme developers.
3. Update your plugins
Just like WordPress, many plugin providers are constantly updating and improving the features of their plugins. They are also having to keep up with WordPress updates so you will often find that many plugins will go through an upgrade soon after a WordPress update.
As in the case with the WordPress update, you will want to make sure that the plugin update has not affected your site. If so, then you will need to go through the same steps of troubleshooting the plugin and also the theme.
4. Empty your website page cache
Just like you regularly need to clear the cache on your web browsers, website caches need a tidy up. All good cache plugins will clear the cache when a post, page, or comment is published. Cleaning your cache regularly helps your site load faster. I use W3 Total Cache, which is free and very comprehensive.
5. Use WP-Optimize
The WP-Optimize plugin helps to clean up and optimize your database and allows you to remove post revisions, comments in the spam queue, un-approved comments with some simple clicks. This plugin is particularly helpful for blogs and sites that update regularly and have a number of user accounts contributing.
6. Fix Broken Links
All of your links should be actively checked if there are any dead or broken hyperlinks. It is just part of regular website housekeeping. Broken links bring many negative effects to your site as people coming to your site become frustrated with clicking on dead links that bring them to error pages. In addition, search engine bots are stopped dead by broken links because they would think that it is the end of the line and this damages your reputation with them. Broken Link Checker plugin checks your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found.