E very website needs maintenance to function properly long term. Some tasks need to be performed on a regular basis in order to keep the website up and running in optimum condition.

Here is a list of the stuff you need to do on a monthly basis and how long each task might take you if you’re a non technical user.

1. WordPress (or other CMS) Updates

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?One of the most important, and at the same time most overlooked, maintenance tasks for any CMS. WordPress sites in particular have plugin or core CMS updates every few days due to the nature of the system. WordPress is very popular and used by a big percentage of the market, so things are constantly changing and security vulnerabilities are a common thing on such a popular platform.

WordPress comes with a built-in system to manage updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes. You should always use the latest version of WordPress and keep all your plugins and themes updated. This is very important in order to maintain stability and a healthy and secure website.

With every update on every CMS there is a possibility that things will break, so its best to perform a backup before the update and if possible, perform the backup on a development or staging environment. This is more important if there is a major update to be done.

How Often?

Every time there is an update, WordPress usually has a few every week.

How Much Time

15 – 30 minutes if everything goes smoothly during the update. May result to many hours if something breaks the site.

2. Check & Delete Spam Comments

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?There is a great deal of spam in the internet. Bots scan the internet and leave comments anywhere they can find a text input. Depending on the CMS system you have there are ways to combat that, for example WordPress has Akismet, other systems might have other ways to combat that.

Whatever the case might be, you always have to check and moderate every day in order to approve legitimate comments (if you have approval procedure in place) and delete spammy comments from the system in order to keep it clean.

Websites with lots of traffic and lots of articles can easily get hundreds of comments per day so this could be a tedious task for such a website.

How Often?

Every day, if you have articles with comments.

How Much Time

30 – 60 minutes depending on the amount of spam you get.

3. Optimize Database

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?Database is one of the most important places of your website, since it stores all its data. Everything gets stored in a database, all your content, your settings, plugin data, everything.

It’s easy to understand that for a site that is constantly running, reading, saving and deleting stuff from the database things like caching, plugins and other CMS procedures, can be leave trash behind and clog the system.

Database can end up being very large and can slow down your whole website and of course increase your backup size considerably. An increased -with no reason- backup size means a not so fun process to restore as well and can result in other kind of corruptions and errors. We have seen databases that were 2GB and went to 350MB after optimization.

There are plugins to do this task, especially for WordPress, but since your database is crucial for your site you have to be careful and always do a backup first.

How Often?

Every month.

How Much Time

30 – 60 minutes. Assuming all goes as planned.

4. Run Performance Tests

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?

Most of the time website admins and developers believe that performance is an one time task during the development of the website. Meanwhile you keep adding content, new plugins, change stuff on your theme etc. With all these tasks performance keeps changing as well.

Fast websites are also favored by Google so it’s very important that you constantly monitor performance and act whenever you see a change.

Performance optimization is an ongoing task and you should use tools like GTMetrix to test and monitor your website (you need the pro version to automatically monitor).

When reviewing performance don’t just do it for the homepage. Do it for the rest of the website as well, especially for pages that get lots of traffic. Optimize images, scripts, loading times and check if any new plugins created a bottleneck on your performance.

It’s a good idea to clear your caches when you are finished so your website cache is refreshed.

How Often?

Every month.

How Much Time

60 – 120 minutes.

5. Test All Forms

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?Some CMS systems like WordPress make it extremely easy to create forms. But since the form involves sending out emails there are other factors at play for those emails to get delivered.

Server misconfiguration and email IP or domain reputation can stop emails from completed forms to be delivered. This is extremely hard to find out unless you test the forms of your website regularly.

So once every a couple of weeks go onto your website like a normal user (not logged in) and complete the forms and send them to yourself. If you have an e-commerce plugin such as WooCommerce, go ahead and place a test order to see if the ordering system works.

It is also a very good idea to add a plugin that saves form data to the database just in case. For WooCommerce keep a cheap test product (something like $0.20) in draft so you can enable and buy it, testing all payment methods.

How Often?

Every 2 weeks.

How Much Time

30 – 120 minutes. More time if you have orders to test as well.

6. Find & Fix Broken Links & 404 Errors

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?Whenever a user requests a page that doesn’t exist your CMS System, for example WordPress, will show them a 404 page. If the user mistyped the URL you don’t have to worry about it.

But if one of your pages has changed and for some reason the old URL is linked somewhere in your own website or in any other website your users will have a bad experience. They will most probably bounce off your website and Google isn’t going to like that.

You have to routinely check your website for error pages and also have some kind of logging to see if users come to non-existent URLs from outside sources, such as Google. You then have to fix those 404 pages by redirecting users to the correct page. WordPress has a plugin for that.

If you routinely add content to your website, like articles in your blog, you will soon realize that links that you might have added towards other related articles or website might no longer be valid. Some may have moved to new locations, while others may just disappear.

You need to check your website for broken links as part of your WordPress maintenance routine and fix those links. A good tool to check is SEMrush

How Often?

Every month.

How Much Time

60 – 120 minutes. More time if you have an e-shop to check.

7. Optimize Images

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?This is especially crucial if you have more than one editors adding content to the website. But even if you don’t, 90% of the time all new pictures you upload can be optimized.

Performance tests from step 4, can tell you if any of your new pages contain unoptimized images. WordPress themes and in article images can be careless about image sizes, while other CMSs like Drupal can be more easily fine tuned to produce the right image sizes each time.

If you use WordPress try a plugin like SmushIt to bulk resize and compress pictures in your website.

How Often?

Every month.

How Much Time

15 – 60 minutes. More time for e-shops with lots of pictures.

8. Review Security Logs

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?Security is one of the most crucial things for your website. It’s more dangerous than ever before since nowadays, hackers don’t just deface sites for fun.

Most of the time, when someone hacks and access the website will keep the backdoor open and use it for sending spam emails using your server, will steal users data, might try to infect visitors with malware or ransomware and many more.

That being said, security needs to be taken very seriously and if your CMS is WordPress, you should keep your eyes open. Because its popularity and ease of use has made it a great target for hackers.

You have to have a security plugin if you use WordPress and regularly check its logs. Make sure you have good working backups because if a website is infected 9 out of 10 times its preferable to just restore a healthy backup than to clean up the mess.

How Often?

1-2 Times per Week.

How Much Time

15 – 30 minutes. More time if threats are found.

9. Content & SEO Audit

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?As long as you add content to your website, you need to also work on the SEO as well.

But even if you don’t update if often you should check your SERPs, Analytics & Search Console for errors, sudden changes etc, in order to identify potential problems and fix them.

Google Analytics shows you where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your website. This data allows you to discover content on your website where users are coming but maybe are not converting into customers or subscribers.

Google Search Console shows you Search Analytics which helps you find search keywords where your site appears in the results. You can sort it to show you keywords where your site can easily rank higher by updating those articles.

An experienced SEO consultant can work with this data and your website plugin, like Yoast if you’re using WordPress and optimize your content even more for better Google Search visibility. This task needs to be performed regularly because your SEO efforts from 3 months ago might not be enough, or even relevant today.

How Often?

1-2 Times per Month.

How Much Time

60 – 120 minutes. More time for lots of content and/or traffic.

10. Manual Backup & Verification

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?Proper working backups should be the only thing that gives you peace of mind. Imagine not having a backup and something messes up the website (like a hack) and gets totally deleted. You have just lost everything if you haven’t got a backup.

You need to perform backups regularly and not rely entirely on your host for backups. Furthermore you need to test those backups once in a while by restoring them to a test or staging environment. Having a backup that you don’t know if it works when restored is like not really having a backup.

How Often?

1-2 Times per Month.

How Much Time

60 – 120 minutes. More time if your website is too big.

11. Add Internal Links to New Articles

10 + 1 Website Maintenance Tasks. How Much Time Do You Need and How Often?This is not an essential housekeeping task, but it’s a smart one. While you’re tooling around your site, take a little time to add internal links to your website’s older blog posts and pages.

It’s important to include external (outbound) links to high-authority sites in your posts, but many bloggers disregard the value of internal links. Internal links are links to posts and pages on your own website.

I think we often link to older posts when we create a new one, but you can also link older posts to newer, relevant articles. This tactic can keep your content fresh for longer and also help get a SEO boost from older articles as well.

How Often?

1-2 Times per Month.

How Much Time

60 – 120 minutes. More time if your website is bigger.

Conclusion

Everybody needs to have a fresh, fast and optimized website but it certainly takes time and some knowledge to do maintenance.

If we add up the average time you need for each task per month you need to book on your calendar approximately 28 hours.
That’s 3.5 working days out of your calendar each month, just for maintenance!

Our All Inclusive Plan covers all of the above for just €97 per month. What will 3.5 working days cost you?

We know that your time is valuable and you can probably earn a lot more by freeing up 3.5 days from your calendar while keeping your website performing at its best every single day. That’s why we created the All Inclusive Plan, to free up entrepreneurs and website owners from the tedious task of boring (and maybe dangerous) routine and maintenance tasks.

Whatever you choose, please don’t neglect your website!