WordPress Maintenance Resources – January 31, 2015

Why “Maintenance Monday”? These are both unexciting words on their own, but they are also very necessary parts of life. If you see them as “negative” words, just remember that two negatives makes a positive. Or something like that.

Here are the highlights from this month’s collection of WordPress maintenance tips and resources. This is not exhaustive by any means; in fact, I prefer to keep it short so you don’t get exhausted!

If you have any questions or need help integrating any of these resources, please contact me.

Security

There are a few fundamentals when it comes to maintaining a WordPress website – like security. This article outlines many of the services that Steady Sites clients receive every month (and we add a few more too!).

And some of the security fundamentals are covered here. I especially like the simple advice of choosing a difficult username (NOT “admin”), then hide that username, and of course, choosing a reliable web host.

Good security includes regular backups. There are plenty of good backup solutions out there (I still prefer BackupBuddy) but I recently cam across a cloud-based option called CodeGuard that offers an automated backup system for websites of all shapes and sizes – including WordPress websites.

Performance

There are many ways to speed up your website. One little known secret is to optimize your WordPress database. WordPress depends on a mySQL database to run and over time, it tends to increase in size – not just from all your fresh content and cool images, but from excess and outdated files, deleted images and plugins, and revisions and spam comments. I will be adding this as a regular feature of Steady Sites WordPress maintenance plans. If you are up to doing it it yourself, here’s an article to get started.

If you find your website is loading slowly – or if visitors are complaining about it – you might need a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache. This article outlines some of the popular plugins and includes a great video. It’s a bit technical, but hey, it’s a technical issue! I wonder, though…if you are getting enough traffic to warrant a coaching solution, why not switch to a dedicated host that has built-in caching – like WP Engine.

The mystery of SEO…is not really that mysterious. This article outlines some basic “best practices” to get started, beginning with the best advice: it takes time!

Education

Looking for stock photos for your website? Here’s a great review of websites that feature both free and fee-based stock images. My personal favourite right now? DollarPhoto.

OptinMonster is a plugin that helps WordPress website owners encourage visitors to signup – for a newsletter, updates, product info, etc. Here’s a great tutorial for how to setup the plugin.

One of the features I would like to add to my own WordPress websites is an author box. An author box is the small area that is automatically added to each of your blog posts, telling a bit more about who wrote the post. It adds a nice personal touch. This article will teach you a few ways of doing that.

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