The Ultimate WordPress Maintenance Service

By 14th June 2018Blog, WordPress Maintenance

Here’s how to super-charge your WordPress website with professional monthly maintenance and management…

We’ve created a WordPress website management article that explores how we as professional WordPress developers carry out WordPress maintenance services that help our clients to grow their online business using the popular WordPress CMS. In the spirit of Open Source – we’re sharing this top-level WP information with you.

What Do Pro WordPress Management Services Or WordPress Monthly Maintenance Plans Cover?

Our pro level WordPress servicing and WordPress maintenance package includes:

WP Plugin Updates

Update to keep secure

Eliminate bad plugins

Replace with better ones

WP Core Updates

Update WordPress

Prevent hacker attacks

Keep WordPress 100% operational

Back Up Plan

Daily backups

Automated execution

Off-site storage

Recovery Strategy

1 button click restore

30 day history window

Fast & automated recovery

24/7 Realtime Monitoring

Downtime alerts

100s of daily scans

Plugin Activation

Add visual composer

Add revolution slider

Best plugins to use change

WordPress Design

Visual composer layouts

Revoluion Slider hero images

New navigation elements

WordPress Development

Add new site features

Change site features

Improve user experiences

Sharability

Social plugin enhancement

Encourage social shares

Promotional Shortcodes

Create call to actions

Auto add CTAs to posts & pages

Search Engine Visibility

Make pages visible to Google

SEO titles & descriptions

Off Site Tools

Google Webmaster Tool

Google Analytics

How To Do WordPress Maintenance Like A Pro!

WordPress management tactics 2018

1. Database Optimization Takes Seconds

This is probably the easiest WordPress maintenance and management service that you can perform on your own website. Running WP Optimize once per month will eliminate erroneous database entries that are taking up wasted space and slowing down your mysql queries (page loading i.e. page querying and page dynamic data simulation).

WP Optimize removes unnecessary data such as binned, unapproved, spam comments, stale data, pingbacks, trackbacks and expired transient options – all the stuff that has no value to you or your WordPress website visitors.

WP Optimize post optimisation

WP Optimize provides you with 12 options for WordPress website optimisation

 

The speed saving will be minimal, but it’ll take around 30 seconds to install the plugin and 30 seconds to run! Quick wins like this will all add up to make your WordPress run better and faster for your website visitors.

“We use WP Optimize because it’s best practise WordPress website care. If part of your WordPress website isn’t optimised it shouldn’t be part of your sales and marketing tool.”

Quotes by: Ben, CEO Slib Design Limited a Senior Pro WordPress Developer offering over a decade of WP experience

2. Site Speed Counts More Than It Probably Should

Any business owner who is serious about making their website run as fast as possible hosts their website with a dedicated WordPress hosting provider such as WpEngine.

Head over to Pingdom.com and run a website site speed test and then compare your result to our website.

Pingdom is a free tool and it analyses not only how long your website takes to loads from 4 countries in the World but it also identifies what’s slowing your WordPress website down (image, file, or server wait time).

Just so you know – Long solid bars are bad (the wider the bar – the more time is taken to load  the digital asset).

Speed test carried out on Pingdom.com to test WordPress website load speed

SlibDesign.com loads In 2.31 seconds from Stockholm, Sweden (Hosted with WpEngine)

 

Our own WordPress website speed research has concluded: if your web pages load slowly on WiFi connections, they load even slower on mobile 3G connected devices. Google doesn’t reward slow websites and users often give up and go elsewhere if they can’t access information on demand.

Slow websites typically have high visitor bounce rates and more importantly if your website pages take a long time to load, your website visitors may never reach the webpage with your “sales proposition” on. So, what’s the point in having a website if it’s running slowly?

“WordPress website speed is significantly enhanced according to what type of server your WordPress website is hosted on and where that server is in the World in relation to your visitors geographic location. Our premium clients host with specialist WordPress website hositng companies because we’ve always found them to offer the best service. Our best clients host with WpEngine because they’re the best hosting company we’ve used and we’ve tried lots (we’ve been searching for around 12 years to find the perfect website hosting company)!

  • WpEngine Migration WP Plugin – Try out their service without coding/manually moving your WP site
  • CDN – speed up content loading
  • Automated Daily Backup and Fast Recovery – A business lifeline if disaster strikes
  • Page Caching – Makes your WP pages load quickly
  • Security Managed Server Side – No WP security plugins install required– So your WP site is lighter and faster! Win, win”

3. HTTPS Friendly – Become Better Friends With Google & Invest In Your Relationship

If you don’t host your website on https:// what are you waiting for? Google released a statement in 2014 (over 4 years ago) saying https:// is a stronger ranking signal compared to http:// webites. If you don’t have a website address starting with https:// you should seriously consider upgrading.

You can buy SSL certificates from your hosting provider. Most SSL certificates cost between £50-100 (prices subject to change) and their purpose is to encrypt data between your website and your visitors web browser. In short, they’re safer and better. They are required if your website accepts ecommerce payments and it’s 100% worth having one even if you don’t sell online. If you install an SSL certificate you can use this free tool to change your http:// urls to https:// without needing to do any mysql. You can convert your urls with this find and replace tool from Inter Connect IT and the tool is free. To use this tool you will need to upload it by FTP or SFTP to your web server.

Preview of interconnect/it search replace tool

Search/replace screenshot of http:// to https:// URLs for Slibdeisgn.com (Remember to remove the tool by ftp or sftp after use)

 

Some hosting companies bundle SSL certificates as part of their hosting packages & plans – so you may already have paid for one and might not know. Visit https://www.yourdomain.com (replace yourdomain.com with your actual website domain) to you see if your website has an SSL certificate – if it load successfully: you’ve probably already got an active SSL certificate.

“If you order a certificate you’ll probably receive an email from the SSL certificate vendor and  you’ll need to approve it / take action. So when you buy an SSL certificate, check your junk or spam folder if the email never arrives. This sounds like a simple thing to do, but you’d be surprised how easy this is to over look.”

4. Update WordPress And Your Plugins To Stay Safe And Secure

Keeping your WordPress core files up to date is 100% important and WordPress makes it easy to update.

WordPress is usually updated (WP version log) to stay ahead of security and vulnerabilities which are discovered post current version release. This means if you’re not updating your WordPress core files – your site might be vulnerable! You can check when WordPress updates come about by logging in to your WordPress Dashboard and seeing if there are any update notification (it appears in a red circle under Updates).

Navigate to: Dashboard > Updates (X)

The (X) will tell you how many updates are available. Yes, WordPress tells you when updates are available.

WordPress updates notice in the WP dashboard

WordPress dashboard update screen identifies when updates are available

 

If you you’ve forgotten your password to login to WordPress go to:

“Make sure you back up your WordPress website before running WordPress updates  or plugin updates. In our experience updating your theme is more riskier if you’ve made custom updates to it. If you host your website with WpEngine all you have to do is login to your WpEngine account and click back up to do a site back up. You’ll receive an email alert once the backup process has completed (can take between 2-20 minutes).”

5. Ring Fence Your WordPress Website With Wordfence

Don’t host with WpEngine? That’s OK, but you’ll probably seriously need to consider installing security plugins to harden your WordPress install. Wordfence has been around for a while. It’s a firewall plugin designed specifically for WordPress.

Wordfence

Wordfence

 

A good WordPress maintainer will check the Wordfence logs every month to monitor website integrity and re-act to anything suspicious.

Wordfence offer a free version and premium version of their plugin.

“WordFence is probably one of the most reliable WordPress security plugins that we’ve every used. We’ve also found mixing lots of WP security plugins together isn’t as effective.”

6. Leave A Digital Audit Footprint

Keeping an eye on who’s trying to log into your WordPress website and who is doing what in your WP dashboard is very important.

Having a reporting tool to keep a digital footprint of admin history actions is a good idea because If something goes wrong you’ll want to know how and why! We’ve used tools in the past to identify malicious users and site vulnerabilities (that we’ve been able to source and fix) with this plugin.

The WP Security Audit Log has a five star rating on the WordPress plugin repository from active WordPress plugin users.

“Until something goes wrong, you wont appreciate the value behind installing this WordPress plugin. It’ll take less than one minute and you can define log entry size.”

7. Failed Login Attempts Are Bad! Do Something About Them… Anything!

Most repeat login attempts are automated. The bad news is, unless you install a WordPress plugin to detect and report them you may never know that someone is launching automated malicious attacks to try and break into your WordPress website.

The solution:

Have an unusual username and a very hard password to crack (!ӣ$%^&*() 1234567890 and uppercase and lower case characters)! Stay away from usernames like: master, administrator, owner, webmaster and avoid email addresses etc

A good WordPress maintenance company will take action by logging into phpMyAdmin (a common database management tool housing your WordPress website data) and changing usernames for /wp-admin/ staff. When you login to phpMyAdmin click on the table wp-users, find the row with your username on and edit the database field inline (the modern version of phpMyAdmin lets users edit on this page).

Change your username in phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin username change to the _users WP table

 

Once you’ve changed your username to something unusual go to:

Navigate to: Dashboard > Users > [Click on a username]

Change your user display names to something that isn’t their login username e.g. Firstname. This makes it harder for hackers to guess 50% of your login credentials.

“Automated attacks are 50% easier if the hacker knows your username, stay safe and secure by picking a good username and good password. Defence is the best offence when it comes to online security.”

8. Remove Surplus Themes

If you have lots of WordPress themes in your WordPress dashboard, they’re still physically on your web server in the wp-content/themes/ folder. You can check this here:

Dashboard > Appearances > Themes

Child theme WP dashboard view

If you have a child theme you will see 2 themes here (that’s OK)

 

It’s a good idea to remove unwanted and unnecessary WordPress themes. In the past we’ve witnessed hackers trying to hack into the site files of outdated themes to gain access to a WordPress website. TimThumb.php was one such theme file containing a well known exploit in old WordPress themes.

“Make sure you don’t remove your parent theme and child theme if you have one and make sure you take a site back up first. A method to check if your current WordPress theme has a vulnerability is by doing a Google search for: <theme name> vulnerability or <theme name> hack. Premium themes are also prone to vulnerabilities.”

9. Waive Bye Bye To Spam Comments

There’s a WordPress comment management plugin to bulk remove spam comments! We always delete them because they take up mysql disk space and once you know how to do this efficiently it keeps your WordPress website in good condition.

Spammers are more likely to attack sites that a) publish spam comments b) don’t manage their comments.

If you don’t want comments on your site, disable WordPress comments here:

Navigate to: Dashboard > Settings > Discussion

“Installing Google re-captcha on your WordPress website also adds a captcha to the comment form making it much more challenging for spammers to drop spam comments into your WordPress website. If you have ftp access uploading a blank comments.php file to your WP theme completely prevents spam comments.”

10. Demo WP Install Content Is Duplicate Content AKA Harmful Content

You’ve probably heard the phrase content is king” and duplicate content is bad because search engines don’t like and don’t index it. Duplicate content will have a negative impact on your WordPress website rank on SERPs and in some cases even stop your web pages from being indexed. Find duplicate content, remove duplicate content, remove drafted posts, removed cloned pages and remove other lorem lipsum posts and blank posts. This will make your WordPress website more unique in terms of content quality and more attractive for search engines to index.

Follow these quick and easy steps to audit your website content:

  1. Delete your theme demo image files that you’re not using in your media library (Dashboard > Media)
  2. Delete demo pages (e.g. blog page demo 1, blog demo 2, blog demo 3)
  3. Eliminate any posts or pages that your site isn’t using
  4. Make sure you’re not using demo theme copy on the pages you keep
  5. Make sure you remove anything you delete from the WordPress Bin to delete them permanently

“Premium themes are download thousands of times each month. Most developers install theme demo content – make sure you remove it so that your site stands a chance of being found on search engines.”

WordPress Management Gold – Are You Getting WordPress Management Right?

Lets Talk About WordPress Maintenance Planning In More Detail

11. I’m Sorry Mr WordPress Plugin You’re Simply Not Good Enough Anymore

WordPress plugin management is a major part of your WordPress website user experience (UX). WordPress plugins add feature rich properties to your WordPress website that ordinarily might not be available simply by installing a vanilla WordPress website. Using WordPress plugins that have a positive effective on your WordPress install play a key role in your website performance and website visitor experience.

“Is there a better plugin to do the job? If there is, install it and remove the other one. This often means paying for good plugins and continuously searching for something better to do a better job.”

12. I’m A Chatter Box… Talk To Me

Good customer service starts with helpful customer service dialogue each time a visitors lands on your WP website. You can automate this intro conversion and manually reply to any visitor responses that reply to the automatic greeting (Massive time saving).

Installing a live chat facility on your WordPress website will make you more approachable. Our WP management research has found: A lot of lead generation takes place via live chat as opposed to visitors filling in website forms now-a-days. People are busy.

Formilla live chat settings settings

How to set business hours of chat on Formilla

 

After installing Formilla on websites we’ve seen an improvement in lead generation by around 50% on most B2B websites we manage. You must pay for Formilla but given the cost of acquisition for B2B leads through other mediums (AdWords, Email Marketing etc) it’s money well spent if you set it up properly and use it. Messages come through to iOS and Android devices like they do on WhatSapp – live messaging.

If you install Formilla, you have the option to configure the pop up to greet new WordPress website visitors after 20 seconds and we see the best results when we set this to always pop up when a visitor lands on your website on a delayed pop up. We turn off live chat outside business hours – no one likes chatting to no-one!

“I told a friend of mine to do this. He did it and closed a four figure deal, by asking for his website visitors telephone number and giving them a call. All he did was wait until a visitor came onto his website when he ran Google AdWords and started chatting with them. He scheduled the ads so he could manage the live chat between certain business hours. Live chat works for me, my friends and my clients.”

13. Content Mapping – Join The Dots For Your Users And Help Them On Their Journey

Making your content easily accessible is so important.

  • Sticky bar menus
  • Sidebar menus
  • Adequate post categorisation
  • Interlinking relevant posts and pages (contextual links)

If you’re not doing this and have low page views per session this might be one of the reasons why.

“Content management is so easy to do, but it takes time and effort. Words and pictures are the bricks and mortar of a website. This foundation is just as important as your branding – get it right.”

14. How’s Your Google Analytics Doing Right Now?

Elite marketeers read their Google Analytics like most people read the morning newspaper. The good news is you don’t need a marketing background to understand numbers!

Reacting to your Google Analytics data is easy and here are 3 easy methods to improve your website performance:

  • Find out what your most read content is: Add more good content like this and link to your popular articles
  • Find out what your least read content is: Add less of this content or improve the quality of this content (ideally you want to improve)
  • Find out where visitors leave your site: Do these places have interesting content here and/or good call to actions? If you want to take this to the next level… make 2 versions of these webpages. Turn one version off and turn one version on, run each webpage version for 1 week, monitor performance and choose the best one for the page – monitoring your GA numbers. Professional marketing and UX professionals call this A/B testing.

“Read, Analyse, React, Measure… Read Analyse, React, Measure… It’s a long journey – but it really does work and it adds value to your WordPress website because it aligns your WP website configuration with your audience expectations”

15. Added Value Means Client Acquisition

Most businesses need to onboard new clients to grow and survive. Acquiring new clients is hard and it can be tricky. We show businesses which companies are visiting their website, how they found you and what they’re looking at when they’re on your website.

We bulk buy b2b lead generation software to get great deals on lead generation for our clients and then we sell scalable B2B leads for as little as around £4.99 per lead.

Identifying businesses on your website and sending them a LinkedIn follow up message is the best proactive online business marketing we’ve ever done. Contacting businesses by out-reach via social media, that have already shown an interest in your business (by visiting your website) is a solid sales strategy that works well for niche B2B businesses.

“We do this for clients, we do this for Slib Design and it works! Cost per acquisition is low too.”

16. Spice Things Up & Change

Visual composer is a really cool WordPress plugin (probably our favourite). We use this to create cool layouts, add copy, add icons, add imagery and generally make user experiences more rewarding.

Do a Google search, look at what your competitors are doing, then re-visit your website and make your page presentation and layouts more interesting and more inviting for your target audience. Differentiating your user experience from your competitors and adding value to your visitor experience on your website is how you wow your potential clients.

Visual Composer preview of page

A preview of what this page looks like in Visual Composer

 

Visual composer is premium plugin, but worth every penny! Long gone are the days when WP developers hand coded every web page in HTML. Visual Composer does all the hard work, so you don’t have to.

“I’m surprised this plugin doesn’t cost more! It’s great. Amazing WP Developers are pro’s at using Visual Composer. The plugin has an amazing help centre and detailed support videos which are useful for all abilities.”

17. Get Some Revolution Power!

Learn how to use Revolution Slider, particularly slideshow animations and layering. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll be able to create amazing hero images and outstanding visual headers that wow your audience and make your site memorable.

For ultimate performance Revolution slides can be set to lazy load and load without any images to prevent page speed lagging.

Made with Revolution Slider

Look how amazing this hero image looks

 

“Revolution slider is a premium plugin and probably our 2nd favourite WordPress plugin, after visual composer. To put this into perspective – WooCommerce is our 3rd favourite WordPress plugin.”

18. Get Google’s Perspective Of Your Website

Sign up for a Google Webmasters account. Download a sitemap plugin and create an XML sitemap of your pages and posts. Add your XML sitemap URL to your Webmaster Tools account. See what google says in it’s crawl report. Fix any 404 errors on pages. Google gives you alot of free website reporting data designed to help you improve your website.

Google Webmaster Tools 404s

If you see pages listed as 404 – fix them, check your page links

 

“Google Webmaster Tool is free and important to check if you’re investing in digital advertising and online marketing.”

19. Double Check Your SEO Readiness

Make sure each page and post has a meaningful SEO title and meta description that’s relevant and useful to your audience.

If you do a Google search for long-tail search phrases are your page titles adequate enough to be found on Google?

“We love All In One SEO Pack. Check out Moz.com it’s where WordPress SEO consultants go for tips. Google changes it’s algorithm almost daily, so stay ahead of the game by reading the Moz Blog.”

20. Visitor Feedback Is Free And Highly Valuable

If you speak to your website visitors by email or phone ask them for ways to improve their user experience.

The purpose of your website is to meet and exceed your target audiences expectations.

“Feedback they provide should be aggregated, monitored and addressed.”

Conclusion

There’s alot of crossover between WordPress website maintenance services and WordPress SEO services. We’ve create a dedicated WordPress SEO service tutorial for WP site owners  who are trying their hardest to enhance their WordPress website search performance beyond general day-to-day maintenance – read our self service SEO for WordPress article for more tips.

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Ben

Author Ben

Senior WordPress developer (London) and founder of SlibDesign.com. I've been using WordPress for over 12 years. Feel free to get in touch with me if you need WordPress help or tips.

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