I just got back to NYC after a month spent working remotely in the mountains of Colorado. As I was riding the Subway home from La Guardia airport, I got to thinking about hygiene and how it applies to your website. (It's no secret New York can get stinky, especially in the August heat! And hey, it was a long trip).
When you launched, your website was squeaky-clean and perfect. Since then you've written a few blog posts and uploaded new images but that's about it. If that sounds like you, I've got news:
Your WordPress website is totally stinky. Like, NYC in August stinky.
Here's how to clean up your act in 10 minutes or less. Do this once a month for a site that's minty fresh:
1. Make a manual backup your site
Your online business is too important to mess around with. Don't risk having zero backups (or relying exclusively on one company, like your web host). Make a manual backup of your whole site (database + files) at least every 30 days. I like the free Updraft Plus plugin for this. I save my backups to Dropbox, my desktop, and an external hard drive because I believe in CYA - cover your ass.
2. Update your plugins + version of WordPress
Plugin updates aren't there to annoy you, I swear. Updates contain important bug fixes, upgrades, and code tweaks. It's essential that you keep your plugins updated to prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in your site. Same goes for WordPress itself. After you've updated everything, give your site a quick once-over to make sure it still looks good. Pro tip: backup you site beforeupdating plugins or your WordPress core.
3. Declutter old themes and plugins
Channel your inner Marie Kondo and delete any themes and plugins you're not using. More plugins = more potential for security holes. Delete (not just deactivate!) anything that's not currently serving a purpose.
4. San your site for malware with Sucuri's free scanner
It's free. What are you waiting for? https://sitecheck.sucuri.net/
5. Test your contact form and email opt-in
Contacting you and signing up for your list are two of the most important actions a visitor can take on your site. Make sure the process is still working by testing out your forms. For extra credit, have a friend or your partner test the forms, too.
Bad website hygiene is bad for business. Full stop. End of story. So take action:
- Schedule 10 minutes on your calendar once a month and go through the list above
I like to do this on Friday afternoons because it's quick and easy. No major outlay of energy required - just a simple 5-step checklist before you waltz off into the weekend.
See you in the clean site club!
ps. Questions about any of this? Let me know in the comments.
pps. Squarespacers, your maintenance looks a little different. If you'd like your own checklist, let me know.