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It’s finally that time of year – the snow is starting to melt and we are beginning to see signs of Spring. I know you are used to making sure your home is in order this time of year – but when’s the last time you did a little spring cleaning on your website?
Just like anything else, websites can get bogged down with clutter and broken items that can drag down your SEO. Extra clutter means slower load times, which waste your time when you’re making updates and your viewers time when they are trying to use your site. Broken links and missing images mean you aren’t being as helpful as you could be to your viewers. An out-of-date website will reflect poorly on your business. But spring cleaning isn’t that hard and some basic things can be done in less than half an hour. Here’s what you should do:
Strong word of caution here- backup your entire site (files & database) before preforming these tasks. Some actions are irreversible. You hosting service can usually help you with this or you can use a plugin like BackupBuddy.
1. Delete any unused plugins & themes and extra backups from your site. Update any themes and plugins that you are using.
Time needed: Approx 10 mins
These things add extra weight and also leave your site vulnerable if they are not updated regularly. Just delete them. With the bulk update and bulk delete options, this is easy to do.
One note here: if your theme uses some kind of parent theme or framework, like Genesis, be sure not to delete that theme!
2. Get rid of the extra bloat with WP Sweep
Time needed: Approx 5 mins
The WP Sweep plugin can really reduce the size of your website by getting rid of extra revisions, deleted comments, orphaned post meta, extra. The plugin lets you decide what to delete, so there is some work to be done by you, but it will leave your site much leaner.
Once you install this plugin, you can find the options under Tools > Sweep.
I saved a lot of space by deleting these post revisions and spammed comments. Then I went down and also deleted my transient options, which are like a basic cache system used by wordpress. Finally, I optimized my tables.
3. Use the Broken Link Checker on your site.
Time needed: Approx 15 mins (depending on site of site)
This plugin not only checks for broken links but also looks for missing images. Then links can be edited directly from the plugin page without manually updating each post. I recommend installing this, fixing the links, and then uninstalling.
Once you install it, you can find your list of broken links under Tools > Broken Links.
One note on this plugin, when I first installed it, it said I had no broken links out of 715. Then when I came back a little while later, I had 3. And a few minutes later, I had 16. So obviously it takes a little while to go through the whole site, so don’t look immediately, see you have none, and consider yourself golden. Give the plugin a little while to scan the whole site. For me, I had a lot of broken links in the comment section, so I chose just to unlink those.
Once these things are complete, your site will be faster and leaner, which will hopefully mean increased SEO rankings and user engagement for you. Are there other things you like to do to keep your site in tip top shape? I’d love to hear about them here.