For the sake of your own health, you probably have a regimented workout program, which may include running, weight training, maybe even yoga. If the condition of your website is an important element of your business, then it, too, requires a regimented program, much like your own. It’s time you take a serious look at the health of your website and plan one.
So, pull on your shorts, slide into a comfy shirt, slip on a headband, and grab your towel. No, we are not going to the gym. That is for after the workday. Instead, we are going to talk about your website’s health and go over a planned regiment that you can implement to keep it in top shape.
Much like our own, the health of our websites is not a “set it and forget it” detail. It takes consistent and regular maintenance to ensure continued peak performance. Things like applying updates, monitoring security, and regular backups are all essential to remember. If you are a customer with Maintainn, these details are already covered with your plan.
Weight Training: Moving up to the latest and greatest
There is more to your website’s health than those three aforementioned items. The software used on the server level is often neglected, if remembered at all. And there are often other more technical and complex details to address, too; so do not feel bad if you are unaware or this is over your head.
Quality hosts will make sure that the latest and most up-to-date WordPress versions, plugins, and themes are available, but that does not mean they will get your site running on those new versions right away. They leave that up to you.
By doing this, they allow site owners to test and prepare for upgrades and ensure little downtime. The support staff for your hosting can help confirm available updates. They may even be willing to help move you to the updated versions.
Cardio: Helping visitors consume content
Your visitors come to your website because they want to consume the content that you provide. They will also leave as quickly as they arrived, if your site is taking a long time to load. Making sure the frontend of your website loads as quickly as possible is imperative. Search engines have begun penalizing websites for low performance. This means you are now at risk of a lower ranking, if you are not well-optimized. Keeping a regular eye on the speed of your website will help make sure it ranks higher and gets found more often.
Resistance Training: Protecting transferred data
Search engines do not only prefer performant websites. They have also begun to prefer secure websites. If you take online payments, you will already be familiar with SSL certificates. Sites served over https and with certificates are beneficial to everyone. They ensure that all data transmitted gets encrypted. This prevents interception of the data for malicious intent. In the past couple of years, a lot of effort has gone into making secure websites both inexpensive and easy to set up. This allows for easier access for everyone.
Diet: Cleansing the server files
The longer you have had your site, the more potential you have added multitudes of content and media. Sometimes this may be via WordPress’ built-in media library. Sometimes it is via traditional file uploads to the server. You may have also experimented with many various plugins throughout time. Finally, you may have gone through many themes throughout the years. All these details add the potential for a messy server that could use some spring cleaning.
If you have plugins that you are no longer using, and have no plans to use, you should uninstall them. Since WordPress only allows one theme to be activated at a time, it is not a bad idea to remove any that are not necessary. Do note that if you are using a child theme, you will need to keep the parent around. Any others are removable.
Changing themes affects the optimization of your media library. Every theme registers its own image sizes. This varies from theme to theme. So, when you upload an image, that image gets resized for the available sizes for that particular theme. Once you change themes, those intended sizes change to accommodate for the new theme’s image standards. Due to this detail, it is good to use a plugin that will regenerate thumbnails for the current state. If the plugin is good at housekeeping, it will remove the image files that are no longer relevant. This is also a great time to run your media library through an optimization process. This will help make sure each size is as small as possible, allowing for quicker load times. Uploaded files would need a manual review for what should remain and what should get removed.
Gym Dues: Applying premium licenses
We have touched on the importance of premium license updates before. You can read them in full at “Why You Want to Get WordPress Plugin Support Licenses” and “Yes, You Want to Apply Licenses to Premium Products.” It is worth repeating that it is important to apply licenses for your premium products. Without them, you very often can not update them at all. Each update may offer bug or security fixes, as well as new, useful, features.
Shower Time: In conclusion
Keeping your website running in tip-top shape is crucial to the success of your business. These are just some of the items you should consider when reviewing your website’s health. If you think your site due for its own health check, contact us today to discuss having our team perform an audit.