8 Ways to Maintain Your WordPress Website

Lauren Mosteller

By Lauren Mosteller

Your WordPress website is designed, developed, and about to be launched. Hooray! Your website serves as a cornerstone marketing tool for your business, don’t let it idle! Post new content, update images and keep information current as a part of your digital marketing effort. While your company may have an internal marketing team to maintain the site, you will want the freedom to maintain the site yourself. Here at Shovel Creative we recommend opening a maintenance plan—a set amount of hours each month dedicated to updating and testing your company’s website. Either way, arm yourself with these 8 simple ways to maintain your WordPress website.

Who Should I Host My Website With?

There are literally hundreds of website host providers. For basic sites we choose to host on WP Engine or Hostmonster because they have a great customer service platform and provide a secure environment for a competitive cost. If you have a large site that may need extra security measures or its own dedicated server, we suggest hosting through Pantheon. Ideally your host provider will have automated daily backups, security scans,  and 24/7 customer support.

How Often Should I Update My WordPress Site?

Its important your website is kept up to date to ensure it runs smoothly and to secure your site against hackers. Luckily, automatic background updates were introduced in WordPress 3.7. Once your site is updated to this version or beyond, WordPress will scan your site for updates to plugins and automatically implement them. If your site is operating on an older version, definitely install the latest update. We recommend backing up your plugin folder before installing an update, as well as checking for plugin compatibility issues.

If you are not tech savvy and/or have not been on the backend of your website in 3-5 months or longer, we recommend asking your web developer to undertake the update for you. This will eliminate the risk of losing important information or breaking your website.

Why Are My Edits Not Being Saved?

WordPress has a visual editor and a text editor. The visual editor keeps formatting simple with shortcut buttons, much like a Word document. The Text editor is developer friendly, with shortcut buttons for code. When creating or editing a page, stay within the same content editor rather than switching back and fourth. Always back up the page before you make any edits, or enable revisions within WordPress.

Am I Being “Spammed”?

A blog with comment capability is a great way to get viewer feedback and cultivate a following on your website. That being so, comment capability also grants spammers a space to spam, a.k.a, posting rouge code or links that leave you with a cluttered comment box and a threat to the integrity and credibility of your website. Beware of your comment quality especially if you are blasting posts on social media and/or sharing articles on other websites.

If you notice an influx of spammy comments, delete them immediately. The anti-spam plugin AntiSpam Bee is also a great resource to consider using. This plugin detects spam comments and blocks them automatically.

Which File Structure Should I Use When Saving Images for My Website?

 

Files can be saved in different formats to achieve different looks and functionalities. The three most common file structures used for websites are .jpg, .png, and .svg. What are the differences and which one should you use?

 

    • .jpg: a photo file that will include the solid background of the photo. This is a typical and safe file structure to use if the photograph does not have text layover and/or its purpose is only to provide imagery.

 

    • .png: a photo file with a transparent layer capability. Save your logo and email signatures in this format so you lay it over an alternate background image.

 

  • .svg: a photo file with transparent layer capability (like a .png) and is scaleable (able to be made larger without compromising the integrity of the image).

What Image Size Should I Use?

WordPress does not need large image files, in fact, large images can slow down your site since they take longer to load. The exact photo size needed will depend on the size of the image area (header, thumbnail, headshot, etc.), but if your photos exceed 1000 pixels, upload a smaller version. You can make an image smaller in photo editing software such as Photoshop or online image optimization services like compressor.io or tinypng.com.

How Do I Optimize My Site For SEO?

For competitive SEO results you will want to contact a digital marketing/SEO agency. SEO agencies specialize in driving traffic to your site through different online channels and optimization techniques. For local SEO results, we look to Organik SEO and for national attention-seeking sites we work with SEO One Click and a few other agencies depending on the size and type of project.

You can do some self-help by installing SEO Yoast on your WordPress site. SEO Yoast is an all-in-one optimization plugin that analyzes page content and headlines, then gauges the keyword density and strength of optimization. Plug in your target keyword(s), title, and content and SEO Yoast will rank how SEO efficient your post is.

Do I Need A Plugin for “That”?

 

The WordPress platform has many features included in its foundation. Often times website site speed is delayed due to an overload of plugins. Before installing plugins, research user forums for widgets and code that can achieve the same functionality. Remember, keeping your site as simple and to-the-point is a best conversion practice. Users do not want to go through a carousel (plugin) just to get a simple answer.

Remember that maintaining your website and updating content is an important part of your digital marketing effort. Viewers are always looking for “what’s new”, so make it interesting and fun. Happy maintaining!

Shovel Creative is a graphic design and web development agency dedicated to creating attractive and effective print and web materials, specifically focused on web conversion and lead generation. To learn more about our process and how to work together, please contact us here.

About the Author

Lauren Mosteller

Lauren Mosteller

Lauren is the Project Manager at Shovel Creative. She has been managing teams and projects for 4+ years and has an innate ability to communicate effectively as well as multi-task. Lauren's optimistic personality combined with keen leadership skills allow her to enjoy the hustle and bustle of time management. Lauren graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2012, majoring in Communication and Sociology. In her free time, Lauren enjoys getting her sweat on at Orange Theory Fitness, weekend adventures with her husband and friends, and the scrumptious combination of wine and cheese.