Spring Cleaning: Website Style
Developers discontinue and abandon plugins, deleted and changed page URLs create broken links, comments go unchecked, new images are not optimized – a lot happens in a year. Learn why it’s important to Spring Clean your website and what are some key areas to focus on.
Over the course of a year, a lot builds up on a site (similar to a home); developers discontinue and abandon plugins, deleted and changed page URLs create broken links, comments go unchecked, new images are not optimized. Many activities go abandoned throughout the life of a website that at some point need to be reviewed and cleaned up – just like the clutter you’ve been shoving in closets and junk drawers all year.
Spring is the opportunity to Marie Kondo your website. Some of the major items we recommend taking care of are:
- Delete abandoned plugins. Abandoned unsupported plugins are the top security risk and cause of hacked WordPress sites.
- Remove unused plugins; they can slow down your site and cause delays in emergency site restores and backups.
- Perform a theme Audit. Often custom built themes are not updated by their original developer and it’s important to review them for conflicts against plugins and a new WordPress release. The other side is, themes that are updated may not be compatible with some of your other site functions. It’s important to review these to make sure the latest security update isn’t causing a problem with your latest SEO plugin update.
- Google makes updates to the algorithm used to judge site speed and health regularly. Ideally, a site should be reviewed for speed monthly, but at the least review it annually, especially if you are making ongoing edits to your site (content or developmen). A slow performing site can significantly hurt site traffic, SEO rank, and conversions.
- Check your copyright date. If you have not updated the date on your website since 2010 then visitors may think your content and services are equally outdated.
- Review your backups and old files stored on your server. There may be something dangerous lurking in those old website files you held on to “just in case.” Also, if something terrible happens to your site (you accidentally delete something you should not have, or the site is hacked) and you need an emergency restore to a pristine version of your site – these old files will delay that process.
- Clear old spam comments. We’ve seen rogue spam comments bring down a website. Having a year+ of miscellaneous comments on a website can be a recipe for disaster.
- Reset your passwords, remove old accounts, confirm new accounts are correctly set up. There is only so much that can be done to help with security issues, but the things we can do help significantly. And remember that your security is only as strong as your weakest password.
security is only as strong as your weakest password.
These are only a few suggestions, like spring cleaning in your home; there are varying depths to auditing and cleaning up a website. Regardless of how deep you want to go, it’s important to recognize that content changes, sites you link to and pull from change, algorithms and best practices are updated. It does not matter if the only thing you’ve done in a year is update your copyright date – take the time to review and think about the health of your website and how it relates to your overall strategy. Odds are your site needs some updates to make sure it up to speed, ranking well, and secure.