A Newbie’s Guide To Maintaining Your WP Website

Got any company news? Make an announcement! Got a winner for your contest or giveaway? How about a pinning that to the top of your blog roll! Discontinuing a product? Let people know! This is all part of your maintenance, as well as a few other things that we will get into below.

There are things that you can do on a regular basis to make visiting your website an enjoyable experience for your valued visitors, like keeping load times down and broken links fixed. It is assumed that you are using WordPress, which is what I am using.

Daily/Weekly (depending on how often you publish)

Keep on top of things happening at your site by checking in regularly.

Backup– Do this first. Go to TOOLS > EXPORT in your back office and save the file. I keep a folder for backups, labelled so that I can find it quickly if anything should go wrong. I can attest that this works, as I deleted a bunch of revisions to a post, and did not realize that my cleanup program was set to delete unapproved comments (which I did not see right away!). I just imported my saved file and they were back!photo of a multicolored outlet plug

There are plugins for everything on WordPress! Get a backup plugin. Always do a backup before any updates or major changes that can affect the website. There are many free plugins, so keep searching until you find what you need. I use WP Optimize, and I keep it deactivated until use, and then deactivate again after the clean up. This keeps my plug-in use to a minimum.

*If possible, backup to more than one location, such as your desktop and a usb drive that you keep just for this purpose. Flash/USB drives are cheap, and it is always good to have backups in a safe spot!*

Updates– Do this next. Update WordPress, then your theme and then the plugins before creating any new posts/pages. Do your plugins one at a time, and watch for errors so that you know which plugin has caused the error.

Broken links– If you have a plugin for this, you will see an icon in the dashboard indicating that you have something to take care of. I used to get a lot of broken link messages, but they were about the people leaving me comments and not actual broken links from my site. Good to know!

You also get broken links from linking to other websites, but if that site is taken down then you will have broken links. Use a checker to save time.

Spam– If you have anything here to delete or empty, now is a good time to do it. Keep an eye on who is sending the spam (IP address if available) in case you are being targeted by a group.

Comments– Go to the dashboard and check the box in SETTINGS > DISCUSSION that says “comment is held for moderation” and “comment must be manually approved”, which give the opportunity to delete spam messages before they can do damage.

multicolored super hero girlSpeed– Use an online speed checker to make sure that your download speed is optimal. If your site is slow, visitors will just move on to a site that is working.

Be sure to deactivate plugins that you are not using daily, and perhaps back off on the number of ads and affiliate links that you have on your home page/blog roll. You will not make money from your links if your visitors do not stay long enough to form a relationship with you and your website.


Google Search Console– Be sure to have this set up for your website as soon as possible. You need this to submit a sitemap to Google to get indexed, but GSC has lots of valuable information within it. The sooner you start to watch for changes to any aspect of your website, the better.

Traffic stats– This is an area to be aware of as you build your site out. Check to see which content is most visited, by which demographic and on what day of the week! Lots of stats, so start checking early.

If, for example, most of your visitors fall into one age-range category you may consider tailoring your content to that age group, or at least create more content for them. This is also true for people visiting from specific countries, as well as referring sites.photo of gear icons with other icons inside of them

What is your bounce rate? How long are visitors staying on your site? This is good information to have as you move forward building out your content.

SEO– Go through your old posts and tidy up the descriptions and tags, make sure that your forms work, and be sure to delete content if a promotion has expired or is no longer valid.

Even if you do not label all of the photos on your various posts, at least complete the alt description for photos. This is a kindness to the visually impaired. A brief description of the photo is all that is necessary!

Where are you in Google search results? Are you getting on the first page? It may be time to reassess who your target demographic is.


Photo of a man jumping from one rock with 2017 on it to another with 2018 on it

Renew your domain! And be sure that your account information is up to date. Still using the same email address or has that changed?

Renew any subscriptions that you have or pro version themes and plugins.

Keeping your website running smooth is the best thing for everyone, and it makes visitors feel welcome and able to return. I do not know about you, but if I go to a page that loads so slowly due to a ton of ads or pop-ups, I just leave and go somewhere else.

I hope that you have found value in this post. I was not aware of some of these tips until just recently, so I hope that they help you like they have helped me 🙂 Please consider sharing this post with others, and leave your tips in the comments below.

18 thoughts on “A Newbie’s Guide To Maintaining Your WordPress Website”

  1. Being a super newbie myself I can definitely apply these things to my website. Great Information. Two Thumbs Up

    1. Hi Ricky and thank you for visiting today, and I am glad that you found this information useful!

      Irma 🙂

  2. Irma thanks for sharing this post. I’ve been using WP for years and you have taught me things I did not know.
    Really appreciate it.

  3. What a helpful checklist. I really do need to log into my WordPress websites and ensure that I’ve done these steps.

    In terms of ‘speed’, would I need to do this for each one of my pages? I have a lot of posts so that would mean a lot of pages. Is it ok to limit to just a few pages – perhaps my priority pages?

    1. Hi Marco and thank you for visiting us today 🙂

      I would only worry about the pages that bring the most visitors to your site, since you do not want lag with the posts that are the most helpful. It is a kindness to others that the pages load quickly and ensures return visits!

      Irma 🙂

  4. This is great information. Some of this stuff I do daily, like check comments, updates for plug ins, spam and SEO. Somethings I have never even thought to do, like speed, check for broken links, traffic stats, and I have never done a back up! Oh my gosh, I am glad I found your article! You have probably saved me a lot of grief. First thing I am going to do is a back up! Thank you!

    1. Hello Matts Mom and thank you for visiting today 🙂

      Yes, backups are THE most important part, and better safe than sorry especially with the amount of work that goes into creating blog posts. I am glad that you are encouraged to back up your site now 🙂

      Irma 🙂

  5. I have lots of plug-ins and I don’t want to slow my site down for a plugin which controls the broken links. Do you have any recommendation for me?

    1. Hello and thank you for visiting us today!

      I just deactivate the plugins after I finish using them. Some need to run all the time, and that is fine. The ones that I use for optimizing my site (deleting old post revisions for example) I just use and then shut it down until next time. I hope that answers your question 🙂

      Irma 🙂

  6. Excellent tips to keep your site healthy. I just realized I have been slipping on deactivating plugins that are not in use. I am glad I read your post. We all need a touch up in what we are doing sometimes. Thanks.

    1. Hello Ron and thank you for visiting our site; I am glad that you found my post helpful 🙂


    1. Hello Norman and thank you for visiting today, and I am glad that you found my information to be helpful!

      Irma 🙂

  7. Hi Irma, Thanks for the info.
    I did a backup right away. You mention a backup plugin, is this better than the backup that WP provides or is it totally different?
    About the speed I worry a bit too, my page loads quite slow and the advice I get online is not very clear to me. I will try another speed checker and see what this says.
    In the meanwhile have a great time
    see you

    1. Hi Stefan and thank you for visiting today!

      It is awesome to have a backup at the server level, but if something should go wrong, you should have a backup that you can access immediately so that you can fix things right away. It is always a good idea to have a second backup, especially if this is part of your main income generation. As well, it is your responsibility so it is best to cover your bases.

      After you check your speed, try a backup plugin and see how it affects your speed. Keep trying until you find what you need and what works best for your site. Best of luck!

      Irma 🙂

  8. These are some great tips. As far as the plugins go there is definitely a plugin for almost every tip you mentioned here but as we know too many plugins will slow your website down dramatically. It is best to handle some of these tasks manually.

    One of the biggest mistakes I made was not backing up my website. This can be huge if you have a crash. There are a lot of hosting companies that do this for you as part of their hosting package which is awesome.

    I am glad you also mentioned the Google Search Console. Doing all of the things necessary for SEO purposes is very vital if you want to be found on Google.

    Thanks for sharing such great tips.

    1. Hello Nate and thank you for visiting today!

      I agree. Backing up my website is priority one. After accidentally deleting unapproved comments, which is a small mistake compared to losing a whole website, I was encouraged to find a backup plugin. You cannot put a price on peace of mind!

      Irma 🙂

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