The time is now to look at your current WordPress website and run through this WordPress cleanup checklist to tidy up your website.
Whether you own a single blog or you’re a freelancer/developer who will use this WordPress cleanup checklist to upsell a WordPress maintenance package to your clients, now is a perfect time to inspect, correct, enhance and promote your WordPress websites.
The WordPress Cleanup Checklist
- 1. Take a moment to make sure all of the information on your About page is up-to-date. If you do not have an About page, this is the perfect time to write one. Your website has probably been running for a while now and you should know more about your message you need to communicate to your visitors.
- 2. Do you have an email newsletter list? Now is a perfect time to de-dup your email newsletter list (make sure you don’t have duplications or dead addresses in your list). If you do not have a mailing list, now is the perfect time to start. A mailing list is vital to the continued growth and communication of your online presence. Check out two plugins to grow your email lists, right from your blog: Content Upgrades and Landing Pages.
- 3. Check to make sure your Contact page information is not only correct but that it works. That’s right, make sure the email goes to the right place, the contact form works, the phone number isn’t dead, and the address is current. Bonus: If you are a freelancer, send a postcard to the address on the website that simply says, “We are verifying the contact address on your website.”
- 4. Refresh social media links/profiles. Do you need to link up additional social networks to your website? When you launched the website you probably started with one or two social network links but you (or your clients) may have started using additional social networks over time and now would be the perfect time to integrate these into your site update.
- 5. Run a survey to ask people how they use the site, what other sites they may use, what content do they wish that your site provided, and even what was their favorite post of the year. The survey serves at least two purposes: 1) It helps to provide insight into how to improve the site and 2) can be used as material to use in an upcoming newsletter/blog post about the results of the survey.
- 6. Add a Related Posts plugin. Now that your site has been running a while and you have been generating fresh content/posts for some time, this is a great time to add a Related Posts plugin for your website. Many sites do not launch with related posts plugins due to the lack of content and nothing to “relate”. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to keep people on your site longer (stickiness).
- 7. Check for broken links. You can use a plugin like Broken Link Checker to make life easier.
- 8. Clean up and optimize your WordPress database. WordPress has a built-in repair functionality that you can find at /wp-admin/maint/repair.php. Just visit http://www.domain.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php and follow the instructions to add a line of code to your wp-config.php file. (Don’t forget to remove that line of code in your wp-config.php file once you are done.
- 9. Do you have too many post revisions? It may be time to clean out all your old post revisions in your database as well as adding a line of code to your wp-config.php file to limit post revisions. (The following code will limit your post revisions to only 3 per post.)
define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3 );
- 10. Create or add a new widget to your sidebar/widget area that highlights your most popular posts of the past. This can help to create this piece of content if you have the analytics to track this type of data. (If not… you should.)
- 11. Force everyone on the website to reset their passwords and even consider forcing anyone who edits on the site to use WordPress two-factor authentication.
- 12. It never hurts to TEST a recent backup to make sure that it restores to a localhost just to make sure you have a good backup. (If you’re not already, start using a WordPress backup plugin like BackupBuddy.)
- 13. Have you checked the Users area of WordPress lately? Are there accounts you need to remove / lower permissions? Is it possible that a client had wanted you to create an account for their intern to manage the site when you initially launched the site and now that intern is no longer with the company yet their account is still live?
- 14. Consider this time as an opportunity to convert your website over to SSL – even simply using Cloudflare’s Flexible SSL and its corresponding Cloudflare WordPress plugin. Check out our WordPress HTTPS training if you need more in-depth help.
- 15. Think about adding a WordPress notification bar on the top of your website to highlight features of the website or some special bit of content. Install a WordPress notification bar plugin like Boombar. Adding simple features like this to an older site can enhance the user experience of your visitors as well as let your “seasoned” guests know that new stuff is happening.
- 16. Investigate your Categories / Tags and see if any of those taxonomies are empty or without any attached posts. Then decide whether or not to delete those non-used taxonomies.
- 17. Do you need to update your navigation menu? Is your site getting deep enough that you might need to add a breadcrumb system to help navigate?
- 18. Utilize an SEO automatic links plugin to link your existing content to parts of your site or external sites.
- 19. Is your site speed slowing down? Look at the WordPress Media Library and if it’s getting extremely large, consider offloading your images to a CDN (Content Delivery Network).
- 21. Do an audit of your site’s SEO. How are you ranking for your targeted keywords and key phrases? Now may be the perfect time to brush up on your SEO knowledge or make some improvements to your content and site structure. Check out our WordPress SEO training.
- 22. Add/update your Testimonials section. This is the time to harness your users/customers and get them promoting your site.
- 23. Remove unused/unactivated plugins from your WordPress site. As a WordPress security practice, it’s a good idea to remove inactive plugins or plugins you don’t use.
- 24. Now that you have had some time to build up comments on your posts, you might want to consider adjusting your Discussion Settings options to allow any user who has had previously approved comments to automatically get published rather than waiting in a queue to encourage ongoing discussion.
- 25. Make a complete backup!If you’ve been following through with all of these steps on your site, you will NEED a run a new backup due to all the changes, modifications and enhancements you’ve just made.
- 26. Once you’re finished, consider running a competition to encourage new and repeat visitors to share your updated site.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this list, your WordPress site should be all spruced up and optimized. We would love to hear if this was helpful for you or if there is a step you would remove and replace with something else.
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