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WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist (15 Tasks!)

wordpress website maintenance checklist

Are you looking to find what are the most important WordPress website maintenance checklist tasks?

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as “set it and forget it” in running a WP site.

You need – heck! – you MUST perform regular maintenance tasks to guarantee everything runs and performs smoothly.

Otherwise, you may come across many inconveniences that will cost you effort, time and money.

And you don’t want that to happen.

Thus, I decided to put together a list of the most essential tasks for maintaining your WordPress website like a champ.

This post covers:

Before we go further, you may also want to learn how to choose a secure WordPress theme first.

Why Must You Maintain Your WordPress Site

We all know why performing maintenance tasks is necessary, but we sometimes just don’t feel like doing them.

Here’s a little reminder if you were trying to avoid doing them.

First, maintaining your WP site will help ensure that your site remains secure and protected against potential vulnerabilities.

Second, ongoing maintenance ensures you focus on site performance and the ultimate user experience.

Third, you review your SEO strategies through maintenance and implement new best practices for your website’s growth.

Fourth, maintaining your website also means examining your content, updating it and creating new one.

Here’s a simple rule when it come to WP site maintenance: Just do it!

You’ll thank yourself later.

How To Maintain Your WordPress Site

You have various solutions available to maintain your website.

You either use a plugin, hire a professional or simply do it yourself.

Remember, even if you opt for the first or second option, you’ll still need to do some manual work from time to time.

You always need to be up-to-date with what’s going on with your website – even if you pay someone else to do it (hint: quality check).

Use A WordPress Maintenance Plugin

If you don’t have a bunch of budget to invest, but you also don’t have the time and knowledge (remember, you don’t really need knowledge) for manual work, that’s when a plugin comes into play.

What I really like about plugins is that you can track everything from a single location. You can also set email notifications so it keeps updating you with what’s going on.

Instead of working on complex tasks yourself, let the machine do the work for you.

From automatic updates and security scans to protection, spam block and downtime and uptime monitoring – this is all possible with a plugin – AND A LOT more!

One great solution that I really like is Jetpack.

(But if you’re serious about your site maintenance, I suggest you pick a premium Jetpack plan.)

Hire A WordPress Maintenance Professional/Service

If you have the budget to spend or you simply aren’t to fond of working with plugins, then go with hiring a pro to do the work for you.

There are endless agencies and services out there that can do all the hard work instead of you, while you focus on the more critical tasks – growing your business.

Friendly tip: Every time you hire someone, check their quality of work and efficiency regularly.

It happened too often to me that the work was done exceptionally well in the beginning, but then the quality began to go DOWN. (Catch them early so you don’t waste your money.)

Maintain Your WordPress Website Manually

But I recommend you all do some of the maintenance tasks manually – so you better understand how everything operates.

One great way is to combine manual work with a plugin(s).

Sure, you can hire someone to do all this work for you – but only do it when your business starts growing, and you have the resources to hire a quality and reliable service (which can be pricey).

And manual maintenance includes all the following tasks:

WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist

1. Visit Your Website (Regularly!)

I hope you’re already doing this one subconsciously – going to your website and scrolling around, clicking links, checking the menu, seeing if everything looks as it should, etc.

Unfortunately, so many webmasters overlook this simple task, thinking everything is OK.

But visiting your website regularly (I check ULTIDA every day) can help you discover plenty of potential vulnerabilities or performance issues without using fancy tools.

And when you’re viewing your website, appreciate it, be grateful for what you’ve put together and that visitors from all over the world visit it.

2. Do A Weekly Website Backup

If something goes sideways and you don’t have a recent backup or no backup at all, it’ll be a real pain in the ass to recover your website.

There’s a good chance that your web host is taking care of the backups for you. But if not, you’ll need to do them yourself.

Thanks to these great free WordPress backup plugins, you don’t need to do any challenging work yourself.

Depending on the plugin you choose, it comes with several configurations for how you want to perform backups.

I recommend you schedule weekly backups; unless you have a really huge website, then you might want to do them daily.

3. Change Passwords

I learned the hard way that changing passwords (from time to time) is a must.

And you need to change all your passwords, in particular, if you created very weak ones. Hey, you might have been in a hurry and didn’t bother about the password strength (like me).

Plus, if you experienced an attack – then it’s even MORE IMPORTANT to change your WordPress passwords – not just of your admin account, but everyone else, too!

This allows you to protect your site, user accounts and sensitive data and avoid potential breaches and unauthorized access.

It’s a simple task that can safeguard your WP site.

4. Update WordPress, Themes & Plugins

When you see that red notification number in the sidebar of your WordPress backend under the plugins (or any other menu section), it’s time for an update.

WordPress will also notify you when you need to update the core.

It’s essential that you keep everything up to date, so you can enjoy a website that runs smoothly.

Note: Many developers I talked to said it’s better to wait some time before you update the core.

Why? Because it can happen that a plugin or even a WP theme isn’t immediately compatible and can get you into trouble.

It’s sometimes better to first update the theme and the plugins before you update the core.

4.1. Delete Unused Plugins & Themes

And if there are plugins and themes that you don’t use or are outdated and you plan on using an alternative, delete them, don’t only deactivate them.

Keep your website clean with only the necessary plugins and themes, and stay away from possible vulnerabilities.

5. Test All Your Forms, Links & Buttons

Whether you have important forms or a simple contact form, an advanced checkout page or a call-to-action button in your header, you NEED to test them regularly.

And when it comes to links, I’m talking about menu links, not all the links in your posts and pages (I’ll talk about that later).

It just recently happened on one of my websites that I received a few emails from people complaining that the menu doesn’t work. Although it was a simple glitch, it definitely impacted the user experience.

Test forms, (menu) links and buttons to ensure everything works properly.

6. Review Comments & Delete Spam

While comments can be a great way to build an engaging community, more and more website owners started to distance themselves from them. (See how to disable comments in WordPress.)

But if you decide to keep comments, you should moderate them and not just let them be.

There can be many spammy comments if you don’t use a proper tool to clean them. And even if you do use a tool, it’s still worth reviewing comments weekly to approve real comments.

If you don’t take care of the comments section, you can quickly have 100s, if not 1,000s of spam comments.

One tool I recommend you use is Akismet.

But you may also be interested in reading how to stop spam comments in WordPress in eight different ways.

7. Optimize Your Images

While images are a fantastic way to create a more engaging and content-rich website, they can also add bloat and negatively affect performance.

Yes, they can slow down your site – and you don’t want that!

That’s why you need to optimize all your images for the web. You can use a friendly online tool, TinyJPG, or a WP image optimization plugin, Imagify. (I use Imagify because it’s the best I’ve tested.)

But I suggest you learn how to optimize images for WordPress properly by going through Ales’s tutorial.

8. Malware Scan

Even though WordPress is taking security seriously, hackers keep working on new ways how to break into it – and cause trouble for the users.

This is why you need to perform malware scans, not necessarily weekly, but at least do them monthly.

You can go with Wordfence Security plugin that works great in securing your WordPress website.

9. Check Google Analytics

One simple way to identify any suspicious trends on your website is by looking at your Google Analytics.

If you don’t look at your Analytics too often, it’s best to check your month-to-month stats to understand better what’s going on.

For instance, if you’re website was hit by a Google update, you’ll see it in your Analytics.

Moreover, Google Analytics is also a crucial part of your SEO strategy anyway, so you’re probably checking it more often than not.

10. Find & Fix Broken Links

To offer the best user experience, you must ensure that all your links work and there are no broken ones.

Nothing’s worse than clicking on something and discovering that the page or post no longer exists. But broken links can also negatively affect your SEO.

Sure, you can do this manually – but only if you have a few posts and pages. Imagine checking 100s of posts – you can’t.

Luckily, there’s a plugin for that – one great option is the Broken Link Checker plugin.

11. A-Test Responsiveness & Speed

Your website might be running fast and flawlessly when you launch it, but with new updates and adjustments, things can affect its performance over time.

While you can notice poorer performance by doing the first mentioned task, you can also go more in-depth by using Pingdom Tools and Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Also, Google’s PageSpeed Insights is another fantastic tool to optimize your site for speed.

These are fantastic solutions that I use regularly to ensure a seamless website operation.

12. Check & Remove Inactive WordPress Users

From admins to users, if there are any inactive ones, find them and remove them.

You need to have full control over who can access your website’s back-end.

For instance, if you have a writer who has access to your admin and he/she doesn’t work for you anymore, remove their profile.

But it’s especially important to remove admins.

13. Perform An SEO Audits

As part of the WordPress website maintenance checklist, complete content and SEO audits are key to enjoying the success you deserve.

Two free online tools you can use are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Find the keywords your website ranks for, discover your posts’ positions and even identify poor-performing posts and pages.

In addition to that, you can also use the Yoast SEO plugin to structure your website and content with Google in mind.

Know one thing: There’s always room for improvement.

14. Analyze Your Web Hosting Needs

You don’t have to do this right away because your hosting will likely handle the needs of your website.

However, as soon as your traffic volume starts to grow, you might either think about switching to a new host or upgrading the existing one (but the host you use usually lets you know about this).

Unless your website is growing rapidly, you might check in yearly to brainstorm your hosting needs.

15. Update Your Site Information

Your About Us page will probably be very different from the day you launched your website and five years later.

Changes will happen, which you might want to add, so you keep your fans updated with fresh stuff.

Two other pages that you might need to rewrite and update occasionally are the privacy policy and terms of use.

But even contact details and any other changes (product information, shipping, etc.) need a refreshment every once in a while.

Conclusion: Maintain Your WordPress Site Like A Pro!

Yes, you will need to do the maintenance tasks to ensure your website runs and operates smoothly so everyone gets the most out of it.

But no, you don’t have to do all the work manually.

One of the ways is to use a plugin(s), the other is to hire a service and the third is to do it manually.

What I like and recommend you do, too, is mix manual work with plugins to achieve the absolute best site maintenance.

And what’s best, you don’t really need to have any technically advanced skills – even a complete beginner can do it!

FAQs About WordPress Maintenance

Does WordPress require maintenance?

Yes, it’s an absolute MUST to maintain your WordPress site because it allows you to avoid attacks, data loss, poor performance, drop in organic traffic and lack of conversions.

Is it hard to maintain WordPress?

No, every beginner can maintain his or her WordPress site with manual work and with the help of plugins. But you can also hire a maintenance service to do the work for you.

How much does WordPress maintenance cost?

WordPress maintenance is entirely free of charge. By doing the manual work and using free plugins, you don’t have to spend anything. However, hiring a service can be pricey.

How do I maintain my WordPress site?

You can maintain your WordPress site with a plugin, by hiring a service or through a manual WordPress site maintenance checklist.

What is WordPress site maintenance?

WordPress site maintenance is a collection of tasks that allow you to analyze your website for security, performance and user experience. These could be backups, image optimization, SEO audits, deleting plugins, etc.

How often should I perform WordPress maintenance?

It all depends on your website’s size and type and tasks, but generally, weekly maintenance is sufficient.

How long does it take to maintain a WordPress site?

Maintaining a WordPress site doesn’t need to take more than an hour per week, especially if you use plugins.

Can I automate WordPress maintenance?

Yes, with the proper set of software and plugins, you can fully automate WordPress maintenance. But I still recommend an occasional manual review to check everything works and operates as it should.

Why is it important to regularly back up my WordPress site?

Regular backups protect your site from data loss due to errors, hacking, server crashes, or accidental deletions. Having a recent backup allows you to quickly restore your site to a working condition without losing significant amounts of data.

How can I secure my WordPress site from hackers?

To secure your WordPress site, use strong passwords, keep your site updated, limit login attempts, install a security plugin, and use a reputable security service. Additionally, regularly scan your site for vulnerabilities and ensure your hosting environment is secure.

About Author

Rok decided to put his original approach and vision into action by starting ULTIDA, thanks to his extensive experience with web development and design since 2011. Working with 100s of clients made his subconscious mind think of nothing but themes, HTML, plugins, mockups, etc.