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So, it’s that time of year again. The sun’s starting to come out again, and you’re thinking about doing a bit of spring cleaning. Well, don’t just limit your clean up to closets and garages. Why not have a look at your website too? Spring cleaning WordPress is typically ignored until something goes wrong. So, take a couple of hours to make sure everything is dust free, and clear out those e-cobwebs!
Back Up Your Site
First things first. Have you ever lost your site, been hacked, or installed a buggy plugin? If you have, chances are you don’t need to be reminded of this step. Backing up your site is very important. If something goes wrong and your site disappears, instead of panicking and breaking a keyboard, you can calmly restore the site to when you last saved. Make sure you have a full and complete backup of your site’s databases before proceeding further. Seriously.
Update Your WordPress Plugins
This one’s pretty simple. Log in to your site, go to the admin toolbar. Click on the plugins link, and update them. The updates are important, and will help everything keep running smoothly. In some cases you’ll even notice new features or performance improvements. If you have a lot of plugins and/or have a history of plugins that don’t play nicely together, you may want to update each separately, doing some Quality Assurance at each step.
Check Your Comments
Again, fairly straightforward. Have a look at your comment section. Okay, maybe you’re not inundated with comments. Maybe you got a few spammy messages and ignored them. Well check back in, and make sure you didn’t miss anything. If you do find some messages that are unrelated, delete them, and make sure everything is clean.
Check Site Speed
Over time your site grows. You add more pages, and the pages you add get more information on them, the more images you add, and so on… Like a snowball going down a hill, it gets bigger and bigger. Often bigger can mean slower, so checking your site speed can show you where your site needs to be cleaned. Google has a page speed tool where you can test your web pages on all types of devices.
Clear Out Old Admins
With all the emphasis on online security you now see, with passport vaults and other things to keep your
websites and data secure you would be surprised how many companies leave old admins with the keys to their site. If you’ve ever worked with outside agencies, or freelancers the chances are, unless you clear out your admins regularly, that someone outside of your business has access to your site. While they probably won’t do anything bad, is it worth taking the risk?
Check for Crawler Errors
Another thing it’s important to check from time to time, is crawler errors. You need to make sure that Search Engines are looking at all the pages on your website, so they can rank all of your content properly. If you notice any site or URL errors when checking your Search Console, it’s important to get them fixed quickly, so you don’t drop off the front page.
Check Your Analytics Code, Update Your Goals and Look For Milestones
Sticking with the Google theme, it’s also important to check that your analytics code is working well. It’s all well and good seeing an increase in traffic to your site, but if you can’t work out how it got there, then it’s not very easy to replicate or build upon is it? Make sure your tags are working, so you can double down on whatever’s driving people to your pages.
Also, if you’re using Goal’s in Analytics, make sure they’re all still relevant. Just started a Newsletter? Add a goal to track that by setting up a tag on the landing page, and the Thank You page. Another Analytics feature is to mark milestones. If you’re planning a product launch, a trade show, or any other event, make a note of it in Analytics (called annotations). When you go back to review your site’s performance, those notes will help explain any spikes in traffic.
Spring Cleaning WordPress
If you work through the checklist above, you’re well on your way to having a nice clean and lean website for the rest of 2016. Then you can go back to not worrying about it for a while, and focusing on the rest of your business. Of course, you’re keeping the WordPress core updated throughout the year, right? If you aren’t, you’re invited security trouble.
Are there any other WordPress spring cleaning tips we’ve missed?
How can we help?
Is Spring Cleaning WordPress a pipe dream? Don’t have enough time to even clean your own house?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.