Every website needs regular updates to make sure everything’s secure, but equally it’s worth giving it the once over every now and then to make sure it’s working properly and looking good.
The beginning of spring is as good a time as any to take on these kinds of projects. I’m not sure what it is about the spring bulbs coming up and perhaps it’s just for having that bit of warmth in the sun, but it always energises us all to want to clean – be that the house, the loft, the garage, OR…your website!…OK, maybe not….but here’s my top 5 ways to spring clean your website:
1. Make sure your software (core and theme) and plug-ins are all up to date
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about this before, but in case you missed it, have a read of my earlier blog where I talked about updating the backend of your website.
Alerts for updates come out very regularly, and as easy as it is to ignore them, sometimes those updates could well address vulnerabilities. Hence why that blog talked about how often you should update them and why.
But…if you haven’t done an update this month, please if nothing else, make sure this is your first task you do towards spring cleaning your website.
2. Check for broken links
If you have added blogs or linked to websites for referencing information on your website, then it is worth checking they still work.
Pages will move and that will leave your websites with a broken link.
There are online tools around such as Broken Link Checker, but equally there are plug-ins you can install which will periodically run tests and email you if it finds any broken links. Well worth adding, or asking your Web Designer to add.
3. Confirm your website looks good on mobile
Whilst your website “should” have been tested on mobile when it was created, it’s always worth checking this periodically (after updates perhaps) just to make sure the layout works as it should.
If you’ve never tested it on mobile, scroll through each page to not only make sure it looks good, but that any actions you want your visitors to take, such as buttons to book, or feed through to different areas of your site are as easy to see and use as they are on your desktop.
Also check the font size works and words aren’t being split up over 2 lines.
4. Look for new internal linking opportunities
This may already be an area you are actively doing, especially if your aware of and working on your SEO, or search engine optimisation scores. However, generally most will add links when they add a new post….
BUT – have you ever gone back to old posts, or content on your site and linked it up with some of your more recent posts? If not, then now is the time to start looking at this. This will improve your on-site SEO.
5. Perform a speed test
Speed is quite an important area to regularly test, but even more so when you perform updates. If you have caching software, or plugins to help optimise images, your database and files, then it’s worth ensuring you have run those following updates.
Likewise you’d want to clear the cache (and then preload the cache if your plugin has that option) – but it just fine tunes everything and will ensure it’s running at it’s best.
There are numerous sites you can check your speed, but a good one to use is : GT Metrix
By default it runs the test from Vancouver, however if you create a FREE account, you can change this to your location. It will obviously be faster if you run it “locally”…or you can choose the closest location to you.
Whilst updates should be carried out fairly regularly to ensure your website is secure anyway, running through the rest of the above will just help give it the “once over” to make sure it’s still performing like you want it too.
Or, if linking is something you’ve not previously thought about before, it will increase your SEO and therefore perform better.
As always, if you have questions, please do get in touch.