Spring is a time for a fresh start. For many people that means refreshing their home and doing a good spring clean. But spring cleaning isn’t just for your home. You can also do a spring clean of your website.
What do I mean by spring cleaning
If you’ve had your website for any length of time, you’ve probably added several pages and gone through a few iterations. But over time you might have missed some areas. That’s why it’s a good idea to go through your site and make sure everything is still working the way it’s supposed to work.
There are so many plugin options, it can be tempting to add several of them. Or perhaps you’ve had multiple VAs or website managers work on your site with different goals. It’s easy to overdo it. Part of your spring cleaning should be to take a look at your plugins. There are three areas to consider when looking at the plugins on your website:
Having plugins that do the same thing can cause issues. They can interfere with each other and cause unexpected behaviour.
Make sure your plugins are up to date. Plugins that are not updated can be security risks. I recommend updating one plugin at a time to make sure nothing is broken when you update it.
Not being used
I recently looked at a client’s website for plugin issues. She had a plugin installed for MailChimp, but was using MailerLite for her email platform. She had several social media plugins installed that weren’t being used.
Take a look at the plugins you have installed on your site and deactivate the ones you think you are not using. Then check to see if your website is still working properly and delete the plugin.
If you are not using plugins that are subscription based, then make sure you stop the subscription so you're not paying for something you’re not using.
Your website theme is another piece that might need some maintenance. You’ll want to make sure it’s up to date.
If you are using a free theme then keeping it up to date is easy. You'll see if the theme needs to be updated in the backend updates. If you have a paid theme, you’ll need to keep the subscription up to date to keep your theme up to date.
It’s important to back up your website on a regular basis. . If something goes wrong or your website is hacked, having a backup will save you months or even years of work. Most web hosts provide ways to do a site backup. You can also install plugins to do this.
You also should do a backup before you make any major changes to your website.
Contact - make sure the form still works and you still get notified. Make sure any other information on the page is still valid
About me - You should have a recent image on this page. Also check to make sure the messaging is still right and that none of the information has changed.
Work with me - Are all your products and services listed still offered.
That's the important part of the backend. Now let's take a look at the front end. These are things that should be checked on the front end of your website, but will need to get fixed on the backend.
Links still working
If you have a lot of blog posts, then this can be tedious, but it’s important.
On the front end of your website, you’ll want to go through each page and check the links. Make sure that the links still go to valid pages, especially if it’s your own pages. If you retire a program or service, you’ll want to make sure that there are no links still going to that program.
External links and affiliate links are also important to check once in a while.
Or do you need to add links?
Every time you create a new blog post or a new freebie you should be going though old posts and adding links where relevant. Make sure you take a look at this while doing your spring cleaning.
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Check for broken images
Another thing to check on the front end is images. Make sure all the images still look right and not like (broken image)
This can happen if something has changed with the image file, or with plugins that manipulate images.
People decide to stay on your site or leave within about 3 seconds so if your site is taking longer than that to load it’s probably not helping. Site speed is also a factor that Google uses.
And if you’re checking on your own, make sure you turn Wi-Fi off. Your site will likely load slower with cellular service.
While on the subject of mobile, you’ll also want to check to see that everything looks right on mobile. You can use ??? To check this.
Ideally you don’t have broken links, but even if everything is perfect, there may be old links out there or someone might type the wrong url. Some themes will allow you to customize a 404 not found page. This can be valuable real estate on your website.
Spring cleaning is always a chore, but you’ll likely find a few details that make it worth while. If you need help with website spring cleaning, sign up for a one off or a monthly or quarterly website cleanup.