Things You Should Do When Inheriting a WordPress Site

Keeping a popular website up and running is more difficult than it looks. It includes not just the time and effort put into development, but also things like content creation, SEO, website security, etc. Furthermore, it may become difficult to maintain consistent website traffic and page views after that. That’s why a lot of people, instead of beginning from scratch, prefer to buy or inherit established websites that have already built up a solid audience and user base. However, it’s important to remember that assuming control of an existing WordPress site comes with its own set of challenges and obligations. Our experienced team of WordPress pros knows full well how challenging inheriting a WordPress site is. That’s why we’ve asked for advice and found out what are the most important things you should do when taking over an existing website.

What to do when inheriting a WordPress site?

WordPress provides a wide range of possibilities for customizing and personalizing websites. Even though this is a strong suit, it can make navigating an inherited site quite frustrating. That holds true whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned pro.

Two women sitting at a table and looking at a laptop together
When inheriting a WordPress site, make sure to ask the previous site owner all the questions you need to as they know the ins and outs of their old website.

Understanding your new site doesn’t have to be scary, though. Whether you’re a new business owner inheriting a website, or a new employee who has been tasked with taking over the administration of an established site, there are things you can do to make this easier. Plus, you have our expert team dealing with WordPress website maintenance to help you. They’ve compiled a list of six important things you should do when inheriting a WordPress site.

#1 Gather all login details

The first thing you should do when inheriting a WordPress site is to compile a list of all relevant login credentials. All of the passwords to the website’s premium plugins and services, as well as the website’s hosting, FTP, CDN, domain administration, and email marketing accounts, should be included, too.

The best way to get this info is to get in touch with the previous site’s developer or owners. Make a list of questions and set up a video conference so you can get all the in-depth explanations you need. We also recommend using a password manager as the most secure and convenient method for keeping track of all of your different login credentials for different websites. For instance, you can use LastPass because it’s convenient and allows you to use it on multiple devices. Your entire team can benefit from it.

#2 Change admin emails and passwords

Once you have all the credentials, you must change them immediately. You want to make sure no one who had old credentials can access your website and mess with it in any way. That’s why it’s crucial to change WordPress usernames and passwords. Also, if you want to be the only one who can reset passwords in the future, it’s also a good idea to change all of the admin contact emails.

To change passwords and update user profiles, navigate to the Users » All Users section of your WordPress dashboard. The next step is to modify the WordPress dashboard email which WordPress uses to communicate critical website updates. To change it, navigate to Settings » General and simply enter the new email address.

#3 Get to know the website

A good idea is to familiarize yourself with the website before making any further changes. Therefore, take your notepad out and start poking around. The more you go into detail, the better.

Two people sitting in front of two laptops and taking notes on a paper between them
Before making any changes to your inherited website, make sure to get to know it in detail first.

It’s important to make sure you are familiar with every WordPress plugin that was utilized to create the site and how it contributes to the whole. In addition, you should inspect the widgets and theme options. You can make a list of all the features and functions you like and dislike, as well as any modifications you would want to see. Having that information will help you plan further adjustments and changes you want to make in order to personalize your new website.

#4 Have an automated backup system in place

The first line of defense against an Internet disaster is a good backup strategy. In fact, it’s highly likely that the previous site owner installed backup plugins that are currently saving copies of the site to one of their own cloud storage facilities.

To be safe, it’s recommended that you implement your own backup system. There are plenty of storage services you can use such as Google Drive or Dropbox and there are also numerous WordPress backup plugins that are easy to use. So before you make any further modifications to your WordPress site, you should build a full backup. In the event that something goes wrong with your website, you can use this to restore it.

#5 Change user roles and permissions

When building a website, developers must coordinate with their clients to determine which team members should have access to which features. Your objective should be to restrict access to the administrator job to only those users who truly require it. For example, for modifying the site’s appearance (by, say, switching the theme) and expanding its functionality (by, say, adding new members).

To modify a user’s profile and assign new permissions, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Users » All Users. Then, assign the desired role to the user by clicking on the Role drop-down menu.

#6 Clean up your website

Once you understand the scope of the job, it’s time to get rid of the website clutter. Make sure you delete any plugins or themes you don’t plan on using as well as any unused user accounts.

WordPress admin page with available plugins
When inheriting a WordPress site, one of the most important things to do is to delete unnecessary plugins.

Proceed to improve your WordPress database by logging in to it. Unfortunately, not all malicious plugins properly remove themselves from the database. If you run into any of those, it’s preferable to get rid of them.

Wrapping up

We hope our tips make inheriting a WordPress site an easy and smooth experience for you. However, if you really want to make things easier for yourself, reach out to our experienced and knowledgeable team here at WP Full Care. They’ll ensure your WordPress site always gets the care it deserves in order to run at its full speed.

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