10 Tips to Make WordPress Maintenance Smooth

If you think that websites once created will function effectively for a lifetime, you couldn’t be more wrong. All sites, especially those based on WordPress, require frequent maintenance. Whether you wish to publish sample book reports or write blogs on the website, you need to fix bugs, update or deal with editing time to time.

You must remember that you have one of the most powerful open-source Content Management Systems in your hand. If you wish to make the most of it, you need to have certain tricks up your sleeve, so that you can save money for maintenance purpose.

I have been handling different website development projects for six years. Thus, I believe I have some experience in the field of WordPress development, customization and maintenance. I’ll be shedding light on some of the necessities to manage this exceedingly flexible system.

1. Perform Regular Backups

Regular Backups

If you don’t wish to let luck decide your fate, then you need to perform a regular backup of your WordPress site. This is the most basic yet crucial aspect you need to follow if you want a smooth-running website at your disposal. You can backup your data in physical locations like a computer or external hard drive and also have an additional backup on the cloud.

However, if your time is too precious to you, you can opt for WordPress backup plugins, which provides automatic backup in a separate space on your computer. With the backup thing sorted, you can proceed to other forms of action. Moreover, the backups help retrieve particular data when you require it at a specific time.

2. Fix the 404 Pages and Broken Links

First thing’s first. If you are carrying out the maintenance on a remote server, you need to stop it immediately. Since privacy is of the utmost essence, you do not want to expose your data to an unauthorized third party. Following this, you need to fix the 404 pages. If you do not wish to feed your visitors with non-existing pages, then you need to monitor 404 page traffic.

There is a simple solution to the issue. All you have to do is redirect your visitors to the proper page through 301 redirects. You can also take the help of Google Analytics or plugins like Redirection plugin (especially, if you are new to the concept). Similarly, to enhance the SEO factor, you need to fix the broken links. You can ace your editing task via plugins or tools like Broken Link Checker.

404 Pages

3. Delete Unnecessary Files and Plugins

Often the website gets slow due to the piling up of unnecessary files, plugins or codes. With time, these files accumulate. If you sit down to remove these files after 6 months; it becomes extremely difficult to trace those plugins.

Thus, it is imperative you remove unwanted files as soon as you are done with it. Make sure if any other developer is using your site, they are also doing the same. PHP files, unused media files fill up the ‘wp-content’ folder. This hampers the regular working as the website has to load all the existing files, which ultimately leads to the slowing down of the site.

If you wish to simplify the process, you can take the help of plugins like Media Cleaner. The plugin consists of an internal trash bin, where you can store the files you are currently working with. Once you are sure that you don’t require certain files, delete them.

4. Get Used to “Git’ing.”

If you or your team members are reluctant on setting it up, just do it, it’s worth it. The version control helps in tracking the changes you make, separating branches for independent tasks, etc. The process becomes easier if you are using Git.

Once you have set up Git on the external server, make use of the branches. Ideally, two branches are enough to sustain the development and production process. You have to do all the work on the development branch, and once the task is accomplished, then you proceed to the production branch. Make sure that everything on the live site is functioning appropriately.

5. Incorporate Commenting

Do you know that you can cut down the workload during the time of editing by merely incorporating a healthy habit of “commenting”? If you and your team add a comment beside the code block, it will help you later on when you try to figure out the purpose of the code. For example, you can write a function with a detailed specification to understand its role like:

function heapsorting (int) {
return int;
}

Here the block signifies that you are about to heap sort a wide array of data. Similarly, you can comment like:

Incorporate Commenting

6. Use Linting to Format Code

If you are aiming to run your WordPress site seamlessly, why not take appropriate measures while you code? If you are not familiar with Linting, you should get used to it. It is a dynamic feature which lays down certain rules (WordPress Coding Standards) for the way we code. Moreover, it also helps in formatting the code itself.

We are allowed to set up Linting for PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Thus, you can pretty much write precise codes for effective results on these platforms. For instance, if you are using JavaScript, you can use linters like JSHint or JSlint to detect the coding bugs. Check out the code below.

Linting to Format Code

Linting to Format Code

7. Stick to One Standard For File Naming

We are always on the lookout for shortcuts and ways to reduce the workload. To make the maintenance process easier, you can come up with an effective naming system to avoid confusion while dealing with the files or codes. It is better if you stick to one standard system of nomenclature.

As per the conventions, you should keep the file, function, media names unambiguous and precise. Another useful way of naming the files can be using the type of the file. For instance, if the file consists of a screenshot of a blog titled ‘Gene Editing’, you can name the file ‘geneeditsrceen. png.’ This way, it will help you browse your folder and locate the file. The workflow will become smooth and also help at the time of maintenance.

8. Check Which Forms Work Well

In the practical world, one small change makes all the difference. If you wish to ensure more engagements on your WordPress site, you must check for the contact form, email subscription form, etc. The forms need to be attractive, especially if you run a business through your site.

Apart from this, you need to check whether the forms are functioning correctly. For instance, you and your team could try and send emails to each other to see whether it is operating accurately. You may have to modify it quite a few times, but that’s OK. It is better to spend time on testing rather than sharing a live dysfunctional form.

9. Structure Effectively To Edit Instantly

Fruitful editing depends on the styling and indentation of the code blocks. It helps in quick identification of the blocks you wish to edit after you have written the entire code. Thus, you must pay attention to CSS rather than being tied down with JS, PHP all the time. I can say it from my own experience that CSS can pose a lot of trouble if you are not careful from the beginning.

You must avoid using inline styling and implement a good naming practice like BEM (Block Element Modifier). Furthermore, using common patterns is an effective way to stylize CSS. However, if you are worried about the loading performance, you can easily resolve the issue using a caching plugin, which will accommodate multiple files into a single file. Check out the example below.

Structure Effectively

10. Check Website Indexing and SEO

My final suggestion is concerned with website traffic and SEO. Both these criteria form an essential part of the maintenance process. You must check whether your site is indexed in the search engines like Google or Yahoo. You can simply do it by typing ‘site:mysite.com’ where ‘mysite’ refers to the name of your website.

Website Indexing and SEO

Apart from this, you need to check the ranking of your site in the search engines after a regular interval. If the website appears at the top of the search results, then you have nothing to worry about. If it doesn’t, you have to monitor the SEO. Incorporating pitch-perfect keywords, PPC (pay per click) on the page helps you improve visibility. You can also use WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO to scan your content quickly.

WordPress maintenance doesn’t take long if you have all the required tools and strategies in place. You need to set a regular maintenance schedule, where you would perform all the necessary activities like data editing, backup, SEO monitoring etc. In case of any issues, seek help from other developers who have had their fair share of experience in this field.

Apply the tips suggested above to get your website running and engage with more visitors. With time, you will improve and use WordPress to its fullest potential. If you want to share suggestions or your maintenance experience, feel free to comment down below.

Like it? Share it.

One Comment

  1. Very Effective Tips. Thanks for sharing

Leave a Comment Yourself

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *