If you’re like me, you don’t look forward to visiting the dentist every six months. Despite how much you despise going to the dentist, you know it is necessary. If you choose to wait to visit the dentist until you have a bad toothache, it’s too late to prevent the cavity or root canal.

If you had only taken the time and visited every six months, you might have been able to prevent the pain and cost it takes to fix your dental issue.

The same thing is true when it comes to WordPress maintenance. It can be easy to ignore your website until a problem pops up. Often these problems end up taking time and money to fix.

I’ve put together seven WordPress maintenance tasks you should add to your to-do list today!

1. Update WordPress, plugins and theme

How often: Each time you log in or once a week.

When you log into your WordPress site, do you ever see an orange dot with a white number in it? If you’ve wondered what that’s all about, the white number tells you how many updates your website needs.

That orange dot means that WordPress needs an update. The update could be for WordPress itself, the plugin or the theme.

That orange dot means that WordPress needs an update. The update could be for WordPress itself, the plugin or the theme.

Regardless of what the update is, make sure you are taking the time to make updates at least once a week. WordPress is constantly being updated in order to keep your website safe from hackers. If you don’t update something, it could become a security threat and possibly increase your chances of being hacked.

2. Test forms

How often: Once a month

If you have a contact form, opt-in form, or any other type of form on your website, be sure to test them monthly. These forms are key to your business, so if one of them stopped working without you realizing it, you could easily be missing out on leads or collaboration opportunities.

Add a recurring note to your calendar to remind you to test the main forms on your website. Take 5 minutes and fill each form out and submit. If it is a contact form, did you receive the test email message in your inbox? If it is an opt-in form, did you receive the correct email complete with the offer or freebie?

Taking just 5 minutes a month can ensure that you are getting all of the leads and emails you should be receiving.

3. Delete Spam Comments

How often: Once a month

If you are looking for a quick task and a good laugh, delete your spam comments. I use Akismet to help monitor spam comments.

It’s a great plugin that learns from your decisions. If you receive a lot of comments on your site, Akismet recognizes those who frequently post and approve their comments. If the person posted isn’t recognized, then the spam comments are moved to a different area.

If you do have a lot of spam comments, quickly review them in the folder and delete them. They will no longer be taking up website space and you can make sure you didn’t miss anything important.

4. Backup your website

How often: Once a month

Make sure your website is being backed up via a third party plugin, not your current web host. If your web hosting company has any issues and the servers go down, you are out of luck. Your whole site could easily be lost.

That’s why I recommend a third party app to backup your website. (I use VaultPress.) Unfortunately, even a third party can have a problem from time to time, so be sure to check in once a month and make sure everything is being backed up properly.

5. Review Google Analytics

How often: Once a month

Take 15 minutes at the end of each month to look at your Google Analytics. Is there anything that has changed or surprised you? What might be the reason for the changes?

Not sure what you’re looking at? Learn more about Google Analytics reporting.

6. Database Cleanup

How often: Once a week

WordPress stores most of your website – the content, comments, settings, and users – in a database.

Over time, your database gathers a lot of unnecessary data (think drafts of blog posts or spam comments you trashed). All of this data makes your WordPress backup bigger and can cause issues uploading, downloading, and restoring backups.

To optimize your database, all you need to do is install the WP Optimize plugin. Configure the plugin and hit “Run”. It will move through your database and delete unused files. You can even set it and forgot about it – there is a beta option to schedule a cleanup weekly!

7. Monitor broken links

How often: Once a month

I use a plugin, Broken Link Checker, to make sure my site doesn’t have any broken links. As your website grows and changes, it’s typical to end up with a few broken links.

Sometimes websites move their content and other times websites are taken down. Make your overall user experience better by monitoring your broken links and fixing them when appropriate.

While performing these maintenance tasks aren’t necessarily exciting, it is better than visiting the dentist, right? When you add these tasks to your weekly and monthly to-do list, you can ensure your website will be up and running as efficiently as possible so you can attract your dream clients and make more money!

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