Part 5 of 10. For the first few months of your blog everything behind the scenes will look new and well kept. But after awhile, if you don’t pay attention, the weeds will start to grow and that’s when trouble can set in. In this installment of Blogging Mistakes, we’ll look at the maintenance that needs to be done to keep your WordPress site safe and running smoothly.
After All It’s Just Software
WordPress is one of the easiest platforms on which to build a website. You don’t even have to know any html even though it is extremely helpful to know some of the basic code like how to build a link. As easy as it is, it’s still just software that has to be updated from time to time just like your computer.
Then there are plugins and theme files that also need updating. Sometimes the updates are to correct bugs or add features and sometimes they are to plug security holes so that hackers can’t sneak in the back door.
WordPress now collects the update notices in your dashboard and makes it really easy to run them. You just have to do it. Be sure to backup your files and your database before updating.
Have you ever had a software program on your computer crash? Or your entire computer crash? You know it can happen. That’s where having a good backup can save your life (or at least a lot of time and money). You can manually back up all your files and your database and remember to do that on a regular basis, but why?
For a very reasonable price [Use coupon code MYBONUSBLOG for a 25% discount on Backup Buddy], you can get Backup Buddy, set it and forget it. It will do its thing on a regular schedule that you designate and if you ever need to call on your backup, restoring is super easy. I know because I had to do it not that long ago.
Cleanup and Optimize
If you’ve had your blog for a while, no doubt you have accumulated some trash like post revisions, deleted comments, old spam comments, etc. Those will pile up and burden your website, so it is a good idea to rake them into a pile and burn them. Also your database tables will occasionally need optimizing. You can do all that manually or get a plugin to do the job. If you install a plugin for this task, you need to make sure the plugin developer keeps it up to date with the latest version of WordPress. Here’s one I found that looks like it will do the trick.
Redecorating Your Theme
Going with a basic theme (even the ones that come with WordPress) initially is just fine to get you up and running and learning the WordPress dashboard. However, you will eventually want to change themes for a look and feel that matches your content and your monetizing strategy. You may even want to hire a website designer to add that professional custom touch.
I like to use themes from Studio Press that use the Genesis framework combined with a child theme. I also have used Thesis and looking forward to the new version which will come out very soon. I understand the new version will help those who struggle with getting into the code to customize things by using a “builder” interface.
Why not put on your work gloves right now and do a little clean up work in your dashboard. If you just don’t have the time or don’t want to mess with it, I offer a WordPress Maintenance and Monitoring service. You can then feel good knowing that your site is not overrun by weeds!