Managing a WordPress site is not rocket science. It does not require PhD level tech savviness to do it. Treat it as you would your home (because of course it is, in a way.) Just as your home needs regular cleaning up and maintenance work, so does your WordPress site.
Why do you need to manage it regularly? Two important reasons:
One, it keeps your site secure. Nothing is absolutely hack-proof, but you can at least make your site difficult to hack.
Second, it keeps your site running properly. There was a recent major upgrade to WordPress that caused a lot of sites to stop working – because the site owners did not manage their sites at all.
How do you do it? Here is my handy dandy checklist of things you need to do every month:
- Update everything. Plugins, Genesis, WordPress; those three need to be kept updated all the time if you want your site to be running properly. As soon as you see a notification, perform the update. All you need to do is click on a button; you don’t need to know programming to do this. If you don’t add new content to your site regularly, then at the very least, log into your dashboard once a month and look for update notifications. Do not ever ever miss this step.
- Backup your site. You can use UpdraftPlus, which is what my techie troubleshooter genius VA recommends, or ask your hosting provider if they include regular site backups as part of their service. Backing up your site regularly makes sure that you will be able to restore it in case something really awful happens. (Like your site crashing, or getting hacked.)
- Change your password. Yes, I know it’s difficult enough to remember the current one, I’ve been there. Write it down somewhere safe. And for cupcakes’ sake, choose a strong one with both uppercase and lowercase letters, some characters, and a number or two. There are password generators available, if you find it difficult to keep thinking of a new one.
- Delete inactive plugins. If you’re not using them anymore, deactivate, then delete. Don’t let the plugin rot and fester on your site.
- Clean up spam. Regularly delete spam comments. Don’t allow them to multiply by the thousands before doing something about them. They’re the cockroaches, termites, and ants in your house. Exterminate with extreme prejudice. You can use a plugin like Akismet to keep them from getting in, or something more powerful like Spam Destroyer.
What not to do:
- Carelessly install any old plugin. Not all plugins are created equal. Make sure it’s regularly updated, that it’s from a legit developer, and is compatible with your version of WordPress. In fact, if you don’t really need a plugin to do what you want to do, then don’t install it. I wrote an article about this years ago that’s still valid today.
- Stay with a crappy hosting provider. I’ve been there! I tried 3-4 hosting providers that let me down so many times until I found the one that gave me reliable service (no downtime!). No more panicking because their server was down for the day! No more problems uploading because the server is too slow. Siteground made it so easy to keep my sites running properly, and they have a great customer service team. Trust me on this, I’ve worked on hundreds of clients’ sites and I can really see the difference in the speed and reliability of the various hosting providers.
And that’s all really! It’ll probably take you an hour each month, or less even, but the benefits will be so worth it! If you are using your website for your business, and then that gives you all the more reason to make sure it’s always running properly.