So you created your website and now you realize there’s more to it than that. Like most things in life, your WordPress website is going to require maintenance. It is not something that you can create and then assume it will continue working perfectly forever.
Maybe you noticed your site was slowing down as you gain more visitors. Or maybe you stopped receiving as many visitors as you initially did. Or, you could’ve had something go wrong with your site and now you wish you had a backup. Whether your website is a WordPress.com site or a WordPress.org site will be important to your maintenance needs. A WordPress.org website will require significantly more maintenance. Here we will discuss six easy ways you can maintain your WordPress website.
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What is WordPress?
First, we’ll give you an introduction to WordPress. WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) that allows its users to easily create their own website for their business, brand, blog, or any other personal use. People like WordPress because of its easy-to-use customizability and flexibility. You don’t need any previous coding knowledge or experience to be able to use it effectively.
Because WordPress is a CMS, you don’t have to start from complete scratch, which would typically require a solid understanding of HTML, CSS, and website compliance standards. Instead, WordPress creates a fully-functional website that is immediately ready to be altered and customized to your liking. The interface is point-and-click friendly and relatively straightforward with the exception of a few gray areas that this article will help you get through.
The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
When getting started with WordPress, you have to first decide whether you want to use WordPress.com or WordPress.org. Although the two seem almost identical, there are pretty significant differences between them.
WordPress.com is known as a “hosted option,” which technically has no upfront cost to start up and requires less work to begin with. Still, it does have some limitations. By default, WordPress.com websites typically include advertising and a branded domain name. This may not be exactly what you are looking for, especially if you are looking to develop a professional website for yourself or your business. A typical WordPress.com website would look like this: yourdomain.WordPress.com. In order to get rid of this WordPress branded tag, you would have to upgrade to a premium account. Another large limitation of WordPress.com is that the options for themes and plugins are constrained. These themes are crucial to the customization, design, and functionality of your website. These again can also be lifted through payment.
WordPress.org on the other hand is known as a “self-hosted option,” which means that your site domain will be free of unwanted ads and branding, but requires payment which may run you a few extra dollars a month. That being said, for most brands and businesses, this is the option of choice as there are little to no limitations in terms of what you can do with the website. You are free to use and customize your WordPress.org website in any way that you would like. However, it is certainly more of a process to get up and running. Maintaining a WordPress.org website will require more work than a WordPress.com site.
How to Maintain a WordPress.org Website
As mentioned before, a WordPress.org website does require a significant amount of maintenance. Do not worry though! Maintaining a website is something that millions of average people around the world do on a day-to-day basis to keep up with the rapidly evolving internet. Luckily, using WordPress to build your website makes maintenance much easier than if you had done it all on your own. Plus, here is a helpful guide to some of the most important steps in keeping your website running smoothly.
Make Sure to Backup Your WordPress Website Regularly
This step might be the single most important aspect in maintaining your WordPress website and is something that you should be doing on a regular basis. In the case that something goes wrong with your domain, having a regularly updated backup can help you restore your site to a properly functioning version in no time. Ideally, you should be backing up your WordPress site on a monthly basis. For blogs and corporate websites that typically see more immediate changes on a day-to-day basis, it is probably best to backup on a weekly basis.
But how do I go about backing up my website? This actually is not as hard as you may think. Because you are using a WordPress.org website as opposed to a WordPress.com website, your hosting provider will usually offer backups through their website. On the chance that they don’t, you can always download a local copy of your website through a file transfer protocol (FTP).
It is important to note that some WordPress plugins actually automatically backup your site for you so be sure to look out for some of those if you’re the forgetful type!
Keep Your Website Updated
In order to ensure that everything on your website continues to function as it should, you want to keep an eye out for updates. These include updates on your core WordPress version and the themes and plugins used throughout the website.
WordPress generally makes it easy to know when your site should be updated. They typically send reminders as updates roll out. In the case that you aren’t notified of an update, all you have to do is log in to your WordPress account every so often and update everything that needs to be updated at that time.
Delete Plugins That Aren’t Being Used
WordPress plugins are one of the most important aspects in bringing functionality to your website and thus, are equally important to keep an eye on. When designing your website, you may feel the need to include a ton of different plugins because you think they would be necessary to improve the overall functionality of your website. But, too much of anything can prove to be a disaster. In the case of plugins, including too many in your website could very well negatively affect the performance and security of your website. If you want to avoid these potential problems, you should remove any and all unnecessary plugins.
Completing this task is also relatively simple. First, take a look at all of the plugins that you have added to your website and find out which ones aren’t being used. Then, deactivate the ones that are unused and then delete it.
Optimize Your Database as Necessary
A database is essentially a place where all of the data on your website is stored for safekeeping. Say you run a local newspaper and post articles with different images and text multiple times a day. Your database holds all of this information in one place. This can be a good thing in terms of functionality and ease of use. But as your website grows and you continue to add more and more content to your page, your database is going to begin to reach its holding capacity. This can significantly impact the performance of your site.
Therefore, as you grow your website, it is important to optimize your database to combat your increased content size regularly. WordPress offers a variety of optimization plugins such as WP-Optimize that automatically optimize your database for you as you move along. Be sure to check that you have included at least one of these plugins to ensure that your website continues to run smoothly!
Secure Your WordPress Website
One of the biggest things that WordPress users ignore is the security of their site. But, it is truly important to consider, especially if you have grown a successful website. With more traffic and more visitors, the more susceptible you are to being hacked. Therefore, it is necessary to secure your website to be able to eliminate these potential threats.
The best way to secure your website is to install a reliable security plugin. There are a number of plugins available to accurately scan, detect and remove potential malware. A simple Google search for security plugins should do just fine in finding one of these essential plugins.
A Great WordPress Website May be the Key to Your Success
WordPress has become one of the premier methods of bringing in-person businesses to the online world. This is only becoming more important every day. WordPress is easy to pick up and learn even for people without experience in website design or development.
If you still think you need a little help, SEO Design Chicago is here for you. We have extensive experience developing, designing, and maintaining WordPress websites for a variety of businesses. Contact us today to find out how we can make maintaining your site even easier for you!
FAQs about Maintaining a WordPress Website:
- What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
- How do I maintain my website?
- Is WordPress free?
- How can I remove WordPress plugins?
- How do I secure my WordPress website?