You may have chosen a WordPress site to reduce the costs involved but a site, even a WordPress one, still requires maintenance. The savings come from being able to update your site yourself, but maintenance is not straightforward and allowing for this expenditure at startup should be taken into account.
Here’s why your website needs regular housekeeping.
WordPress recommend updating your website theme and plugins between 3 – 6 months. Primarily just a click of a button, this can be a false and costly move. Applying updates can cause problems, it can cause errors on your site and stop features working properly.
Updating software means changes to your website code, so applying them in a test environment first and backing up your live site are advisable steps to take before applying updates. This may put the work involved beyond many website owners capabilities, and makes the employing of a WordPress designer cost-effective and stress-reducing.
WordPress recommend website backup 3 – 12 times a year, obviously the more you have on your site, the more often you will need to back up. You can use plugins like BackWPUp or Backup Buddy to schedule backups and set up to automatically delete backups after a time, to reduce space used on your web hosting account.
Broken Link Checker as it says on the box is designed to check for broken links. Broken links will display on your WordPress website admin dashboard. Installing the plugin, automatically run and receive emails when broken links are found. Broken links can appear when external sites change their URLs, they then appear as broken links on your site. BLC plugin picks up on these, helps you rectify the situation and keeps your site up-to-date.
“Spring clean” to optimise performance
As with all files and folders your WordPress website can become cluttered especially if you don’t delete as you go along. Optimum performance, quick and smooth running are achieved by a WordPress website which contains the bare minimum. Decluttered files and folders also take up less space on your web hosting account, reducing the risk of problems arising when you update your site.
- Deleting spam comments – easy to do in the comments section of WordPress admin.
- Remove old themes if you have tried different themes. Do not delete the default theme, but go to appearance /themes and remove all others apart from your default and current themes.
- Remove plugins that are unnecessary. This can be a task but they can soon add up, taking up space and slowing down your website.
- Remove unused images. In the media section delete all images that are not in use. This may happen if you have tried several versions of an image before settling for the most suitable one for your website.
Browser testing (and don’t forget mobile devices)
Make some time to test how your site displays in all the web browsers, it’s worth checking regularly, as browsers are updated consistently and may change how your site is viewed.
Website content refresher
Updating your website content regularly keeps it relevant for your customers, factually correct and helps how your site ranks in the search engines. You might find some old posts no longer relevant or up to date – so it’s a good time to either publish necessary updates or remove them completely (and not forgetting to redirect old links to a Blog page or another post).
An experienced WordPress designer can streamline your site by:
• Tidying up underlying code
• Removing blank spaces and unneccesary line breaks
• Removing commented out codes and tags from theme template files and stylesheet
• Optimising your website database and security measures
• Validating your website code
A well maintained WordPress website will reduce the risk of hacking and security loopholes happening. It will help with speed and performance, provide an-up-to-date service for your customers and keep the dreaded broken links at bay. Apply updates in a timely manner – delay in doing this increases the risk of the website ‘breaking’ when the updates are applied.
If you are able to do the work yourself, create a schedule and establish a routine for applying the principles. Otherwise employ a WordPress expert to maintain your site and check it’s running at its optimum. A cost effective way forward, when you consider how much a site will cost you if you are off-line because the updates hadn’t been applied or if your site is hacked!