Unlike blogs hosted in such services as WordPress.com and Blogger.com, weblogs installed in your own server need regular checks and maintenance. Failing to do these checks can leave your blogs sluggish and even vulnerable to security problems.
If you use WordPress to run your website, at the minimum, you need to be on the lookout for new releases (one has just been released as a write this) of the blogging engine. You also need to regularly check updates on such things as your theme and the plugins you are using.
I used to keep track of these tasks using an installation of activeCollab, an open source project management software that mimics Basecamp. With the recent Internet connectivity problems caused by that earthquake in Taiwan, I decided to track blog management-related tasks on paper. This way, I can prioritize whatever time I can spend online on really important tasks.
I created this blog maintenance checklist as reminder of tasks I need to do as well as tracker of such things as version numbers of plugins and themes.
I have a huge volume of spam comments in this blog and most are caught by Akismet. While Akismet deletes these comments after 15 days, I make it a point to delete them manually every time I log into my blog. This is why I included the deleting of spam comments in my daily tasks in the checklist.
I also included in the regular tasks the checking of bandwidth and storage usage. My site was unavailable several times in the past because I exceeded my web hosting package’s bandwidth allocation. I used to think this was a “pleasant” problem because it means your traffic is increasing. It isn’t pleasant at all. In fact, it’s frustrating.
The only way to guard against this is to monitor your bandwidth usage and be prepared to upgrade your plan if you consistently hit at least 90 percent of your hosting package’s bandwidth allocation.
What other tasks do you think should be included in the list? Drop me a note and I’ll put up a new version of the checklist.