Maintaining a WordPress website for your small business requires a lot of care and attention. Your website isn’t something you should set up once, and forget everything that goes into keeping it fresh. We always advise consistently updating to the latest version of WordPress, ensuring that the best security is in place, and confirming that backups are running regularly. We also recommend routinely reviewing all aspects of your website to protect your brand and promote the best possible image for your business.
Every few months, aside from the basics, you’ll want to do what you can to keep it immaculate. Here are 6 spring cleaning tips for your WordPress website:
1. Audit your content
Look over the content and messaging on your website to make sure it still reflects your current company brand, goals, and target market. It’s easy for your website’s content to become outdated as you shift directions, pivot, or expand. Is your bio up-to-date? Is your team information accurate? Have you added or discontinued certain products or services? If you haven’t looked carefully at your website’s content in six months to a year, because you are busy with the daily operations of your business, you might be surprised by how much has changed. Remove or update any content that sends the wrong message or may cause confusion.
2. Fix broken links
Broken links on your WordPress website are bad for business. You don’t want someone to click a link, looking for information they want, only to find a missing 404 page. Broken links make your website appear neglected, create the impression that you are careless with your web presence, and negatively impact SEO because Google wants the highest quality sites to be found first. Start by logging into your Google search console, or setting up an account if you don’t already have one. Once you are logged in, click on your site dashboard, and check the site’s status for URL errors. Depending on the error, you may need to remove the link, publish a page, or set up a redirect using a plugin.
3. Speed Up Your Website
Is your website running fast enough? Slow load times can cause high bounce rates, low conversions, and lost sales, and contribute to a frustrating user experience. It can also ding your SEO. Few visitors have the patience to sit and wait more than a moment for your website to load. Start by using the Google Developers tool, PageSpeed Insights, which will analyze the content of your website and make suggestions to speed it up. Then, get some help to make the recommended changes, which may include fixing bugs, tweaking code, compressing images, reconfiguring WordPress caching, or any number of potential resolutions. A developer will use additional tools to further troubleshoot and fix the root cause of any slow loading times. You might find that there are problems with your hosting service, requiring you to migrate your website to a better hosting provider.
Log into your WordPress dashboard and look around the back end for any pages, posts, or media that can be deleted. Do you have old pages that are outdated or have been replaced? Are there unpublished drafts of half-finished blog posts that you’re never going to use? Do you see 5 versions of a graphic you were trying to get “just right”? Are there deactivated plugins or plugins that you never use? It’s time to delete all of this extra baggage for good. Of course, be careful not to remove something that is in use and get help if you are unsure.
5. Improve the User Experience
There are many things you can do to clean up your website that will improve your user experience. You could simplify your site architecture or add a plugin that automatically recommends related content, allowing users to more easily navigate your website to find what they want. Another improvement would be to replace old images with better quality, high-pixel photographs that can be better shared on social media. And, speaking of social media, when was the last time you updated your share buttons plugin? Make sure your website has user-friendly options that include today’s popular social networks.
6. Remove old users
While you’re doing your site spring cleaning, check for and remove any inactive users that are still hanging around on the back end. You may have set up an account for a former employee, intern, friend, contractor, agency, or even the original developer. To keep your security tight, these user accounts should be removed immediately. Remember to keep an eye on user accounts going forward; there’s no reason to keep them open.
That’s just a start, but there’s so much more spring cleaning you can do for your website — like dusting your house from to bottom until it sparkles, but ignoring the boxes of paperwork from 2001 and the pile of outgrown bikes in the garage. It’s not going to tidy itself.
Need some help getting your WordPress website spiffy-clean and up-to-date this spring? Give us a shout.