August 20, 2015

Your New WordPress Site is Up! Now What?

The web design & development process can be stressful, so once your new site is launched, it is easy to think, “Okay, I am done!”. Here’s the thing though, you’re not done. After investing your time and resources in the launch of your new site, you’re going to need to maintain it so you can keep site visitors returning (and hopefully converting) to your site.

Maintaining a WordPress site is crucial and it’s not that hard if you know what to look for. Here are the top maintenance issues to consider:

Site Backups

Backing up your site is the most important aspect of site maintenance. When making changes to your site it is crucial to have a backup on hand in case something goes wrong. Additionally, if your site is ever compromised by hackers or hosting changes, a backup is the fastest way to recover. Automatic backups the best way to go, but it’s important to regularly test your backups to make sure they’re functioning properly. There are several plugins to help automate backups, but our favorite is UpdraftPlus. We recommend backing up to an external location like Dropbox or Amazon S3. Local backups on your hosting service are just as vulnerable as the rest of your site.

Installing WordPress & Plugin Updates

One of the best things about WordPress is that its developer community is constantly making the platform and its plugins better by adding new functionality and security. It is important to update your site version and plugins in order to take advantage of these new features and keep your site working properly. If site & plugin updates are neglected, you run the risk of having code conflicts and functions of your site becoming outdated. In addition to affecting the functionality of your site, it also leaves it vulnerable to hackers. We recommend updating the core WordPress files first, then your site theme, then your plugins. Keep in mind that some plugins may not yet be tested for compatibility with the latest version of WordPress. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your core WordPress files, but make sure you have a backup handy in case of conflicts.

Processing Comments and Preventing Comment Spam

If you’re site is allowing comments, you should make sure you have a system in place to moderate them. You may need to setup notifications so you can be alerted when a new comment is posted or you may want to schedule a daily or weekly reminder to manually check them. Unless you’re site and blog have a large and engaged audience, it’s likely that most of your comments will be comment spam. The comments are usually general and/or off-topic and are submitted by spam-bots to create backlinks. To avoid this spam, you can install an anti-spam plugin like Akismet or disable comments altogether.

Monitoring your Website’s Security

Your visitors need to know that when they come to your site, any information they give you is safe. If you don’t have customers, then you should at least want security for the credibility of site itself. And for your peace of mind. We recommend using a plugin like Wordfence or Sucuri to harden your site vulnerabilities and automate security checks so you can be alerted to any suspicious activity.

Checking your Site Analytics

Use tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics in order to identify patterns in your website metrics. These patterns will help determine what parts of your site are working well and which aren’t. A sudden dip in traffic can alert you to pages that may be broken or not functioning.

The Takeaway

In an ideal world you would be able to launch it and leave it. However, websites need to be maintained in order to keep things running smoothly. If you plan on doing it yourself, we recommend creating a plan that fits your schedule and can be as automated as possible. Make sure you have a reliable professional who is familiar with WordPress who can help you if any issues arise. If you truly want to “set it and forget it”, hiring a knowledgeable maintenance company like will insure your site’s health and security.