15 Key Tasks to maintain a WordPress website 

(Complete WordPress maintenance checklist)

A website is any business owner’s most valuable asset. If you own a personal asset like a car or a house, you know how important maintaining it through regular checkups and services is. It’s quite the same for a WordPress website. 

If you’re looking to learn how to maintain a WordPress website, the tasks it involves, and the components and frequency of WordPress maintenance routines, you’re in the right place. In this WordPress maintenance guide, we tell you everything you need to do to keep your WordPress website in top shape.  

Let’s get started.

15 Key Tasks to maintain a WordPress website

What is WordPress maintenance?

Simply put, WordPress maintenance is essentially a set of about 15 recommended steps that you can take to ensure your website is always in good shape. A good WordPress maintenance routine looks deeply into all the elements of the site including:

  • The website files and the database
  • Installed plugins and themes
  • On-page content and elements
  • User accounts

Next, let us discuss why maintaining a WordPress website is important.

Why is WordPress maintenance important?

Website maintenance is not something you think about only when something bad happens to your site. You need your site to be up and running at all times. Regular maintenance is the most effective method to do that.

Without a WordPress maintenance routine, you could face consequences such as:

  • Website defacement or data loss because of a successful hack
  • Low page loading speed that can turn away potential customers and impact your SEO rankings
  • A poor user experience that can directly impact your business
  • Unattended security issues that could leave your site vulnerable to attacks and hacks 

The 15 essential tasks in a WordPress maintenance checklist 

What does an ideal WordPress maintenance routine include? Here is a handy WordPress maintenance checklist:

  1. Perform daily backups.
  2. Implement WordPress security practices. 
  3. Update the Core WordPress, plugins, and themes.
  4. Optimize the webpage loading speed.
  5. Perform an SEO and content audit.
  6. Check for any 404 errors.
  7. Check for any broken links.
  8. Monitor your WordPress security logs.
  9. Optimize your WordPress database.
  10. Find and remove any spam comments.
  11. Test all your website forms and features.
  12. Test for your device responsiveness.
  13. Change your user passwords.
  14. Optimize your website images.
  15. Check your web hosting platform.

Next, let us discuss each of the tasks listed in the WordPress website maintenance checklist.

  1. Perform daily backups.

The first step in your maintenance checklist should be to configure (or test) your backups. You can automate daily backups using backup plugins like BlogVault that let you set up scheduled and on-demand backups in a few clicks.

  1. Implement WordPress security practices. 

Website security should be an integral part of every maintenance plan. This is especially important for WordPress sites since the popularity of WordPress ensures that hackers are always looking to attack them. 

The best way to secure a WordPress site is to use a dedicated security plugin like MalCare. It performs daily automatic malware scans on your website and raises an alarm if it detects any suspicious code or activity. You can also use its automated malware removal feature to remove malware from your site in a few clicks. It also integrates other recommended WordPress security practices such as firewall protection, 2-factor authentication, etc., into its offerings.  

  1. Update the Core WordPress and plugins/themes.

Updating the WordPress version on your site is a great way of enhancing its functionality as new WordPress versions contain new features. It’s the same for all the plugins and themes installed on your site. Most updates are free to download and install. Apart from enhancing your website look and functionality, regular updates can also fix security vulnerabilities that can cause issues like spam keywords inclusion, addition of phishy links, malware redirects etc on your site.

  1. Optimize your webpage loading speed.

As part of WordPress maintenance, you must also regularly check your site’s load time and speed on multiple devices. Fast loading speed can enhance the user experience and even improve your SEO rankings since Google’s ranking algorithm prioritizes website speed to ensure the best user experience for its users. To check and optimize the page loading speed, you can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom.

  1. Perform an SEO and Content audit.

An SEO & Content audit is an efficient way of reviewing your on-page content and checking if it is optimized for SEO keywords and to provide value to your website visitors. Use data analytics tools like Google Analytics to find out where most of your traffic is coming from and the web pages they mostly visit. Similarly, the Google Search Console tool provides the list of keywords driving your organic search traffic and the most valuable keywords that give your website a higher Google rank. 

  1. Check for any 404 errors.

The “404 error” page is shown whenever a user requests for a web page that no longer exists on your website. This error page can frustrate them and create a poor user experience. As part of your WordPress maintenance, check if there are any 404 errors on your website. Once you have located any such breaks, ensure that you redirect them to active web pages.

  1. Check for any broken links.

The broken link problem can occur if you’ve migrated to a new hosting platform or changed your URL or permalink settings. Broken links can negatively impact the user experience and even stop search engines from indexing your website for search results. Check and fix any broken links using tools like Screaming Frog or Google Search Console.

  1. Monitor your WordPress security logs.

Security logs are a reliable source of monitoring your site for any suspicious activity. Hackers deploy a variety of website attacks that remain undetected for many days until your site is completely damaged. Monitoring your logs alerts you of any suspicious activity. The best way to do this is via WordPress security audit plugins like MalCare. 

  1. Optimize your WordPress database.

A bloated database can also cause your site to slow down. Your maintenance strategy should include optimizing your WordPress database by ridding your database of redundant data, tables, and even uninstalled plugin/theme files. To optimize your WordPress database, install and execute the WP-Optimize plugin.

  1. Find and remove any spam comments.

While comments are a great way for your users and customers to interact with you, hackers can also inundate your WordPress site with spam comments. These spam comments can pose a security risk to other website users besides impacting their experience on your site. You can find and remove spam comments using tools like Akismet or CAPTCHA.

  1. Test all your website forms and features.

Online forms are an effective way for users to register with your business and send in their queries. For WordPress sites, many form builder tools make it easy to add a variety of forms. At times, these forms may malfunction and stop sending the entered information to your web server. During maintenance, make sure all your online forms are working as expected. This is also a good time to test your website’s main features.

  1. Test for your device responsiveness.

A responsive website is designed to adapt to different devices and screen sizes including desktops, mobile phones, and tablets. As part of website maintenance, you need to check your responsive website design and make sure your website loads and appears as expected on all devices, browsers, and operating systems.

  1. Change your user passwords.

Strong user passwords are the first line of defense against hackers targeting your accounts. Make changing passwords a part of your maintenance plan. Ensure that you configure strong passwords that are a minimum of 10-12 characters and combine upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. If you have many users, invest in a password manager tool like LastPass that can generate and store strong user passwords.

  1. Optimize your website images.

Optimized website images can contribute to a good user experience as they can load faster on any device. Large or unoptimized images can reduce your webpage loading speed, thus frustrating users. Optimize your website images during maintenance to make sure they load fast on mobile and other devices.  

  1. Check your website hosting platform.

If you’ve been experiencing any website downtime or slow loading lately, check your web hosting statistics including uptime, server bandwidth, and CPU utilization. This is a good time to review your current web host and decide if you want to renew your account with them.

How often should you perform WordPress maintenance tasks?

We have discussed how to maintain a WordPress website by following this 15-point checklist that is easy to perform for any user. The next question is how often should you carry out these maintenance tasks? While that depends on the features and functionalities your site has, we recommend a minimum frequency of once every three months. In any case, we strongly recommend against pushing your WordPress maintenance routine beyond six months.

The bottom line

The steps in this post are all you need to develop a robust and comprehensive website plan to maintain a WordPress website. Even if you’re not an advanced technical user, you can implement almost all of them yourself or with the help of a few tools.

We hope you found this article helpful. Are there any steps we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below. WordPress