Maintaining a WooCommerce store is a lot of work. There are a lot of routine maintenance tasks for WordPress and WooCommerce that need to be done on a regular basis. In this post, we list down the most important tasks that you should do on your WooCommerce store.
1. Create Regular Website Backups
Creating regular site backups is critical. It is your first fallback in case something breaks on your site. While you can make backups manually, it is important to make regular automated backups. Check with your hosting provider if they create regular backups of your database as well as a complete backup of your site. You can also install a backup plugin such as Updraft Plus or BackWPup and set it up to make regular automated backups for you. We still recommend creating manual backups before doing major work on your WooCommerce store though.
2. Update WordPress, WooCommerce, Themes and Plugins
Updating all elements of your WooCommerce store should be done on a regular basis. Do this weekly if you have the time. If not, monthly updates are good enough. Updates include updating WordPress Core, themes, WooCommerce and all other installed plugins. Remember to backup up your site before proceeding with updates since updates could cause your website to break. If you have a development site, it would be best to test the updates first on this staging environment. Then, do some user testing to make sure that there are no errors. After that, you can proceed to update your live site. When that’s done, you will need to do another round of testing. Some important elements to test include checkout, add to cart, contact form emails, opt-in forms and other customizations that were done on the site.
3. Update WooCommerce Template Files
After updating WooCommerce, you will sometimes get an error notifying you of outdated WooCommerce template files. This just means that your theme has not updated to include the latest WooCommerce template files. In some cases, this could cause some formatting issues on your store. If there are no errors on your store, you can simply wait for your theme to release an update that includes the most recent template files. Or you can also fix this manually by following the steps in this documentation from WooCommerce.
4. Change User Passwords
It is important to use strong passwords. However, it is just as important to change passwords on a regular basis. There are times when security breaches can go undetected for a long time. Changing your password regularly blocks out these security breaches that you might not realize are there. You should change your password for WordPress admin, FTP, database and cPanel. And a pro-tip, never use “admin” as your username. This is the first username that hackers try out when brute forcing into websites.
5. Optimize Your Product Images
We’ve always emphasized the importance of optimizing images for your WooCommerce store to keep your site running fast. If you have uploaded any product image that is more than 100KB in size, it might be a good idea to replace that image with an optimized product image. To learn more, you can check out our blog post on how to optimize images.
6. Approve and Respond to Product Reviews
If you are not asking your customers for product reviews then you might want to reconsider. Most people who buy online look for product reviews before they decide to purchase something. One study found that 85.57% of users read reviews before they purchase. And if you are asking your customers for product reviews, then you will need to approve reviews on a regular basis. A word of advice, do not remove negative reviews of your products. Instead, make it an avenue where you can show good customer service. Respond to the negative review. Offer a replacement for a defective product or offer a refund. People reading reviews will want to see some negative reviews to get a well-rounded picture of your product. When moderating reviews, you only need to remove the spam reviews.
7. Approve and Respond to Blog Comments
If you have a blog that is made to drive customer engagement, then your blog will most likely attract comments. Same with product reviews; don’t delete the negative comments. Rather, address them positively. Remove any spam comments as this will negatively impact the user experience of your blog. If you are using Akismet: Anti Spam plugin, this will block out most spam comments. However, some spam comments can still get through and you will need to manage them manually.
8. Test Your Contact Forms and Email Opt-in Forms
Every now and then, you will need to make sure that your contact forms and email opt-in forms are working. Just fill in your forms and send. If you receive it in your email, then you’re all good. But if you don’t, there’s something wrong and you need to do something about it. Have your developer look into it.
9. Optimize Your Database
Over time, your database accumulates a lot of gunk and you need to clean it to make sure your website runs fast. Before you go about this task, make sure you create a backup. You can choose to clean your database manually if you are comfortable and familiar with working on your database. Otherwise, you can use a plugin to do the optimizations for you. Notable plugins include WP-DBManager and WP-Optimize. You can check out our guide on how to clean your database.
10. Test Your WooCommerce Store’s Speed
If you have not yet made optimizations to your WooCommerce store’s speed, you should consider doing it now. Site speed has become increasingly important for WooCommerce store owners. Google now considers site speed as a ranking factor for SEO. Also, if you have a slow site, this will negatively impact the customer’s experience on your site. It is easy for your customers to buy instead from your competitors. You can test your site speed on Google’s Page Speed test and Google will provide you with recommendations on how you can improve your site’s speed. Other notable tools that you can use to test your site are Pingdom Website Speed Test and GTmetrix.
11. Scan Your Site for Malware
One way to keep on top of your website’s security is to regularly test your site for any malware. If you are connected to Google Search Console, it will let you know if malware is detected on your site. If your site has been found to have any form of malware, Google Chrome will actually alert your visitors that your site is dangerous. This can have devastating effects on your traffic and conversion rate. No one will want to enter their payment information on a site that has malware. In extreme cases, Google may block your site from appearing in the Google search results page. You want to prevent this from happening. It would be best to invest on your site’s security by installing a security plugin such as Sucuri Security and WordFence. Even if you have those plugins installed, it is still a good idea to a manual scan. You can scan your website at Sucuri’s Website Malware and Security Scanner, WebInspector, or at SiteGuarding. If any manual scans detect anything malicious, you can contact your developer to fix the issue. You should get it fixed before Google applies any penalties. Wooassist also offers a security hardening service to improve the security of your site so you can prevent this from happening.
12. Fix Broken Links
Broken links are bad for user experience so check your site regularly for any broken links. You can use W3C Link Checker or any other similar tool to check for broken links. Once you’ve found the broken links on your site, you can start fixing them. You can either remove the links or points the links to a new relevant URL.
13. Test Your Checkout Process
Last but definitely not the least; you should regularly test your checkout process. If you suddenly experience loss of sales, it’s a good idea to test your checkout. There might be an error that prevents your customers from checking out. Testing also gives you a feel of what your customers go through so you can optimize your checkout. Once you’ve determined that your checkout has problems, you can check out our post on how to fix the most common checkout problems in WooCommerce.
By doing these tasks on a regular basis, you can keep yourself on top of any issues that may occur on your WooCommerce store. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the all these, you can hire someone else to do it. You can also contact us and our team will be glad to assist with any of these tasks.
Are there any other routine maintenance tasks for WordPress and WooCommerce you think should be done on a regular basis? Do you have any suggestions? Let us know in the comments.