The Ultimate Year-End WordPress Website Maintenance Checklist

If your site runs WordPress, then you’re not alone.

You’re simply one of the 30% of site webmasters who use it as a platform for their own web content. That makes it a pretty refined system to use, but also a target.

That’s why it’s so important to keep on top of your regularly WordPress website maintenance. As we approach the holidays, why not get your site ready for the new year with a full maintenance check?

To help you, we’ve got the ultimate end of year WordPress maintenance checklist to follow. Let’s get started!

Review Your Content

You might be updating your blog with new posts on a regular basis, but how often do you spare a glance at your more static content?

Take a look at the pages that don’t change often to make sure everything is still up-to-date. About pages, contact pages, reviews, testimonials, and everything else that you might not check very often should all be revised if needed.

Feel free to review older blog posts, too, especially if they contain out-of-date information. Remove or update anything that no longer has any use.

It’s also a good idea, if you’re reviewing your site content, to think about your long-term aims and strategy for content into 2019. Do you have a regular plan for posting, for instance?

Check Current Site Speed

A big part of maintaining a website is making sure that it works as effectively as possible for your visitors. Given that users will abandon your site if it takes 3 seconds or longer to load, now is the time to run a speed test on your website.

Using a tool like Pingdom, you can find out how quickly your site loads and determine any obvious page issues that could be causing a slowdown.

If you find your site isn’t loading quickly, most site speed audit tools will give you a rundown of the reasons why to allow you to make the necessary web page maintenance improvements.

Major causes for a slow site are a poor web host or an unoptimized installation of WordPress running too many plugins.

Run a Security Audit

Unfortunately, there were no magic fixes to the internet security landscape in 2018. There are always more unfixed bugs and zero day exploits ready to cause havoc.

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That’s why the best defense against a security attack is having adequate preparation, so run a full security audit on your website to be sure you’re fully prepared. 

Remove any obvious and generic administration accounts from your WordPress installation like ‘admin’. You’ll also want to ensure you use two-factor authentication on your user accounts and strong passwords that are changed on a semi-regular basis.

You’ll also want to make sure your entire WordPress installation is up-to-date, including your site themes, plugins, and your WordPress installation itself.

It might also be worth running a WordPress security plugin for additional peace of mind. Here’s a list of 8 of the best security plugins for you to try.

Confirm the Status of Your Site Backups

Advancing on your preparation plans even further, you should be sure that you’re making adequate backups of your website on a regular basis. That way, if a hacker does gain entry, you can quickly restore your site from a backup.

There are various WordPress backup plugins to choose from, but one of the most well known is UpdraftPlus. This will backup your entire WordPress installation, including your site database and any themes or plugins you have installed.

You can also see if your web hosting provider includes a similar service as part of their hosting package.

If you don’t have adequate backups in place, make one now. You could be seconds away from a data breach, and if you are, you’ll have to start from scratch.

Run a Full Site SEO Audit and Fix Any Errors

If you’re worried about your site traffic, now is a good time to perform some SEO auditing as part of your website upkeep.

With plugins like Yoast SEO, you don’t have to do any of the hard work yourself. It’ll do a full audit of your site’s SEO performance to see how well you’re ranking on Google, and if there are any areas you can improve.

If you find any errors, fix them! Fix broken links, 404 errors, poor SEO titles and bad backlinks can all be causing SEO issues that affect your site ranking.  

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Here are 10 easy SEO solutions you can deploy on your own WordPress installation to improve your ranking and increase traffic.

Confirm Everything on Your Site Works

You can use plugins to do lots of the heavy test lifting, but the best way to test if everything on your site is working is by testing it yourself.

Test your site on mobile and desktop devices, confirming that everything from site comments to contact forms are working. See if the site is loading okay, and fix any problems you come across, like broken links or old content.

If you’re worried about keeping your site working efficiently over the long term, but you don’t have the time to do it yourself, you might need to consider outsourcing your WordPress support.

Read more to find out 6 reasons why hiring an outsourced WordPress support service might work for you. 

Check Google Search Console

If your SEO audit has thrown up any errors, checking the Google Search Console should be the next thing you do.

The Google Search Console, which used to be called Google Webmaster Tools, can tell you straight away if the Google site crawler is having issues monitoring your site.

If you haven’t already added your site to it, now is the time!

Sign into your Google account, click ‘add a site’, and verify the site is under your control. You can find more detailed instructions from the Google Search Console website

Perform Website Maintenance Regularly

There you have it! These important website maintenance steps will help you get your WordPress installation working at maximum efficiency as we head into 2019.

That doesn’t mean you can neglect your next maintenance check until next Christmas. Keep your site backed up, your WordPress installation and plugins up to date, and make sure your site isn’t affected by any missing elements that could be impacting on your site SEO.

If you liked our advice, you’re going to love what we’ve got for you next! Take a look at our other blogging articles for more tips and tricks.