Running a blog might seem easy at first. But when you start getting serious about it, you realize there’s a lot more involved. Aside from writing posts, promoting your content on social media, commenting on other blogs and socializing with fellow bloggers, there is another aspect of blogging that most bloggers like to put on the back-burner. And that is blog maintenance. It’s not a glamorous task but it is important to make sure your blog is running smoothly.
Here are some of the most important things you need to do on a regular basis.
Blog Maintenance Checklist
Update Your WordPress Installation, Theme And Plugins
Updating your WordPress installation, as well as your theme and the plugins, is the most important task on this list. If you’re running an old version of WordPress, there’s a good chance you’re running a version of WordPress that has known security vulnerabilities.
What’s worse, the vast majority of WordPress hacks come from compromised plugins.
Most people don’t realize that a single compromised plugin can not only result in their entire WordPress installation getting hacked, but having every other WordPress installation on their entire server getting hacked as well.
Make a habit of performing updates on a regular basis and remove unnecessary themes and plugins you’re not using anymore.
Backup Your Site
Backing up your WordPress installation regularly helps prevent disasters. If your site ever gets wiped out, you can simply do a restore. If your hosting company suddenly crashes and loses your data, you can just re-upload everything from scratch. Backing up your data is made easy by the myriad of different backup plugins. A good place to start is VaultPress or BackupBuddy.
Check for Broken Links
Checking for broken links is something you should do about every three months.
When you’re blogging actively, chances are you’re going to be linking to other bloggers. The majority of those links will still work even months and years from today. But some of them won’t.
When that happens, it reflects very badly on you. To avoid broken link issues, scan your site for broken links every few months. Whenever possible, replace your old links with new resources. If there aren’t any comparable resources, then just unlink that hyperlink.
Check Your Ads
If you are running ads on your site, get into habit of checking what ads are showing up on your site. Check your ads for individual posts as well. Make sure the ads that show up are relevant and more importantly that they aren’t offensive in nature
Check Your RSS Feeds
Make sure your RSS feeds are working properly. It’s best to check on several different RSS clients as sometimes feeds can work in one reader but not another. If something isn’t quite working with your RSS feeds, you want to know sooner rather than later.Make sure that people can find your RSS feed by typing your site’s URL into their RSS reader.
Check Your Analytics
How is your traffic? Are there specific pages on your site that people seem to be bouncing out of?
What kinds of topics does your audience like? Which of your headlines grab attention? What kind of keywords are bringing people to your website?
Your analytics will help you figure out what your audience likes and doesn’t like, so you can plan your future content better. It’ll also help you catch red flags early on. If your search traffic suddenly takes a plunge you want to investigate why.
Are You Still on Message?
Finally, re-examine all your posts over the last few months. Is your blog still on message? Are you still covering the things you ought to cover? Or have you taken a wrong turn somewhere?
It’s easy to write a post that seems just a little off topic, especially if you’re feeling inspired by the subject or if there are current events that you want to comment on. But one “slightly off topic” post can lead to another and sooner than you know it, you’re completely off track.
By re-reading posts from your past few months, you can determine whether they are still relevant to your message. Then, focus on getting back on track in your upcoming posts.
Use these tips to help your blog stay secure, make sure everything works, and to stay on message.