WordPress websites require a lot of maintenance.
As a WordPress website owner it is important that you take good care of your website to ensure that it is safe, secure and functioning as it should be. But I understand that we all have busy lives and website maintenance is usually at the bottom of our to-do lists.
If you have been neglecting your website for sometime then maybe it’s time to carry out an audit. A website audit involves working through your website to check everything is up to date and in good working order.
An audit will also highlight if there are any areas of your website that you need to work on to improve the overall experience for your visitors.
In this post I am going to show you how to audit your WordPress website.
Backup your website
When was the last time you backed up your website?
I know I go on and on about backing up your website regularly but it’s so incredibly important! If you get hacked, or you make changes to the code of your website and it breaks everything, a backup will save the day.
The good news is you can install and setup a plugin to automatically make backups for you so you don’t have to remember to do it. I recommend using UpdraftPlus and I have a tutorial which will show you how to set up this plugin.
Update plugins and themes
Are you plugins and themes all up-to-date?
Out of date plugins and themes can be a gateway for hackers to gain access to your website. In fact, a survey by Wordfence found that the majority of compromised WordPress websites are hacked via plugins.
Go through and update any plugins and themes that require an update. You can check for updates by hovering over Dashboard in the left-hand menu of WordPress and clicking Updates.
Remove any plugins and themes that you don’t need
Do you have any plugins installed that you don’t actually need?
As I just mentioned, plugins can be a security risk. But they can also slow down your website, and having more plugins that necessary means more work for you because you need to keep them up to date.
Take a look at the plugins you have installed and deactivate any that you do not need. Then delete them to remove the files from your system. It’s a quick job but it could make a big difference.
The same applies to themes. Delete any themes that you no longer need to free up some space and reduce the chances of a security breach.
Check for broken links
When was the last time you checked your website for broken links?
Not only are broken links bad for user experience but they can also have a negative impact on SEO. This is because they prevent search engine crawlers from navigating your website properly and therefore they can not successfully index your web pages.
You can use a plugin such as Broken Link Checker to automatically search for broken links on your website, but bare in mind that this plugin will slow your website down.
Alternatively you can use an online broken link checker which will search your website for broken links so you can then update them manually.
If you haven’t checked your website for broken links in a while then you might find that you’ve got a lot of work to do! This is why I recommend getting into a routine of checking for broken links every month.
Update your about page
Is your about page up to date?
I recently checked the about page on my personal website and the information on there was so old and in desperate need of an update. My age was wrong, it said I was saving to buy a house (I’m now a home owner!) and the picture of me was about 3 years old!
Take some time to check over your about page and make sure the information is up-to-date and relevant.
Test your contact forms
When was the last time you checked on your contact forms? Do they still work?
If your contact forms don’t work then it could be costing you business! So test the contact forms on your website by sending a message to yourself.
If you receive the message, great. If not, there must be something wrong and you will need to investigate further.
And don’t forget to check that your form is sending messages to the correct email address! If you’ve changed your email address since creating the form you will need to update this.
Clear out your spam comments
Do you use a spam-filter, like Akismet, to trap spammy comments?
If you do then you need to make sure you are clearing out your spam queue regularly. These spammy comments are just a waste of space so delete them!
I also recommend having a quick scan of your spam queue just in case any legitimate comments have slipped through the system. Annoyingly this does happen sometimes.
If you aren’t currently using an anti-spam plugin but are interested in installing one, this will tutorial will show you.
Moderate any pending comments
Do you have comment moderation turned on?
If you have to approve comments before they are published on your website then make sure you check your pending comment queue to see if you have missed any comments. Approve them if you want to keep them, delete them if you don’t, and mark them as spam if you want your anti-spam plugin
Test the speed of your website
How long does your website take to load?
Like broken links, the loading time of your website can have a negative impact on user experience and SEO. That’s right; Google take website speed into consideration when ranking your website! Therefore it’s important to be aware of your website’s speed, and to work on improving it if needed.
I have created a list of simple things you can do (that don’t involve touching any code!) to improve the speed of your website. If you are interest, you can check this out here.
Improve the security of your website
Is your website secure?
While WordPress is a secure platform to run a website and blog on, like any other website it’s not 100% secure.
It is up to you to ensure that your content is safe and secure, and therefore you should have measures in place to reduce your chances of being hacked.
For more information about protecting your website, check out this post.
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