Greater than 4 minutes, my friend!
With no more secure transfer protocols or GDPR innovations looming on the horizon, in 2019 I am
planning hoping to make my website maintenance a well-planned routine.
Running a blog is like owning a car. Every now and then you are to make sure that everything is working as planned. If you too have an unofficial ‘webmaster’ title in your long list of job descriptions or hobbies, have a look at these basic checklists for maintaining your website and/or blog.
Like with any new task, it might seem a lot of time and effort. But as time goes by, most of these tasks now come naturally to me, and they no longer feel like a burden. And a proper maintenance schedule ensures a consistent work of one your most valuable marketing tools.
What you need to begin
- Set up a Google Analytics account. (See a blog series about working with Google Analytics.)
- Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and confirm your site.
- Set up a backup service with full site backups. (Your hosting company may offer the service or you can use a plugin. Store these on a separate web server, Dropbox or Google Drive.)
- Monitor website security with automatic scanning (See weekly checks below.)
- Monitor website uptime (See weekly checks below.)
1. Weekly website checks
→ Visit your site to make sure it is working and pages are loading without errors
If uptime is crucial, you can do it daily or enable notifications using one of monitoring plugins.
→ Scan for malware or infected files. If your host does not perform regular scans, you can use a plugin like Sucuri Security, Bulletproof Security or Wordfence.
→ Approve comments and remove spam comments
I use the Askimet plugin so I don’t need to monitor my comments daily. The plugin handles spam perfectly but you should still check the spam list for false positives.
→ Update core website software and plugins if new versions are available
Don’t forget an additional backup before introducing any major changes like WordPress ot theme update.
→ Backup and store the files off-site
Even if your backup is automated, make sure the files are there. If you have a lot of updates month, consider a weekly backup using a plugin or services of your hosting provider.
→ Check if your contact form and subscription form (and other forms if any) are working properly
Remember that fewer form fields bring you more conversions, but the leads will probably be less qualified.
→ Check and fix any broken links
→ Perform website speed audit
Use Pingdom or Google PageSpeed Insights to see how fast your site loads. For optimal results, it should be less than 3 seconds. If it takes more than five seconds, consider implementing caching and other measures discussed in this blog post on website performance.
→ Review your website statistics with Google Analytics
- What is your most popular content?
- What are the most popular channels for visitors?
- What is your best traffic source?
Google offers an automated reporting feature that can send only the most relevant reports to your email—saving you the effort of logging in and hunting down the right report. Once set up, the email reporting can run for up to a year with an option to reset. But it’s worth spending an hour once a month to go through your dashboards and figures.
→ Revise one blog post or page that needs refreshing or update.
→ Visually inspect your website
Check if it looks and displays properly on the most popular browsers and mobile devices. You will find the latest browsers at https://browsehappy.com or use a free online tool like Browser Shots. Open your website on your mobile device to ensure it displays correctly.
→ Review and update meta title and meta descriptions tags for the most important pages
Consider adding new keywords.
→ Check the uptime logs
You can choose any uptime monitoring plugin or online service you prefer. If uptime is less than 99.9% consult with the web host. Consider an alternative web host if they can’t provide a solution.
→ Optimize the database
Delete any draft posts and empty your comment spam. Then optimize your database with the help of a plugin (I prefer WP-Optimize).
→ Check your RSS feeds if you encourage RSS subscriptions
Use several different clients including Feedly Reader and a desktop client.
→ Check for 404 errors and resolve
Google Search Console will likely to alert you in case of any problematic links. Or you can use Google Webmaster tools (Diagnostics > Web Crawl) to see if there are any 404s or errors for your outgoing links. Screaming Frog is another popular tool.
→ While in Webmaster tools, resolve all other error messages.
→ Review (and improve) your Google ranking
You can use this great step-by-step guide for iterative Google ranking improvements over time.
→ Update the copyright date in your website footer and in any other references
→ Review the domain name(s) and expiration / web hosting service
→ Verify backups
Make sure you have valid backup files and can perform a restore.
→ Review all personal information
The About page, contact details, profile picture, your short bio, testemonials
→ Review each of website pages for consistency
Fonts, photos, grammar, copies: what can be improved? If you collect a list of useful links and notes with ideas as I do, it’s high time to look through them and make a plan.
→ Delete unused plugins and themes
Unnecessary plugins mean the risk of vulnerabilities and increased overhead.
→ Delete unnecessary files
Browse through your Media Library to remove images, videos and audio files you no longer need. You can use a plugin like Delete Not Used Image or Media Cleaner. (Perform a backup before deleting anything!)
→ Review and update top performing blog posts
For a good SEO strategy, check your traffic for the top 10 posts and look for inconsistencies or outdated information, questions or suggestions from the comments that you can answer in your content.
→ Submit an updated sitemap
If you make major changes or change a lot of important pages, log into Google’s search console and resubmit your sitemap for faster indexing. Note that there are plugins that create and submit sitemaps for you, so eventually, Google will find all your pages anyway.
→ Consider updating the design
Or at least refreshing website images.
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Here you can download a PDF file with complete lists of translator’s website maintenance tasks. Feel free to convert it into Misrosoft Word format if you need to edit it.