How to Keep Your WordPress Site Running Smoothly
You work hard on your site, possibly logging hours upon hours of content to deliver to your audience. But if you don’t pay attention, the “WordPress” part of your site can become a hinder instead of a help. Take time every month to perform these basic maintenance tips. Performing them will keep your site running smoothly and quickly for you and your audience.
Take Care of Those Plugins
Most people know that plugins can cause a real slow down on their site. If you didn’t, take time to delete any plugins you aren’t using. But what if you’re not using the plugin currently and might in the future? You can deactivate the plugin. Keep in mind how this affects your site. On the front end (what your users see) it will be just like the plugin is deleted; It won’t cause any slowdown. On the back end the files still load so you might see a little bit of slowdown (but probably not much).
Take time to update your plugins. You want your plugins, and thus your site, loading the newest files available. Using the newest files will let your site load quickest.
Finally, use a plugin like P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) to find out if any of your plugins hog usage. If you find one, you may want to find a lighter plugin that still accomplishes your goal.
(re)Validate Your Code
When you customize your site you actually change the code behind that part of the site. Sometimes you might invalidate a page or section of code. This doesn’t make your site “bad,” but it may make it harder to read for a certain browser or user. All websites are meant to operate according to a set of rules. If your code follows these rules it is “universal” and can be accessed quickly and with no problem.
World Wide Web Consortium (also known as W3C) offers a number of validation tools. These tools will evaluate different parts of your site, such as your CSS and XHTML code. If it finds something that isn’t valid it will tell you so that you can fix it and help your site run faster.
Images and Links
Visit your Gallery and find any images that aren’t connected to a page or post. Get these off of the server. Delete them altogether. If you think you might need them in the future, download them to your local computer. You can upload again when – and if – you use them.
Also, check for broken links on your site. A link might be broken because the site it points to is no longer in existence. Or you might have typed the original link address incorrectly. Either way, find them with a link checker (type that into Google); Delete those links to sites that no longer exist and fix those with incorrect spelling.
Delete Spam Comments
Comments are exciting, and when you have lots of real people commenting on your site you might forget about the spam section. Go over there once in a while. First, make sure they are spam. You might find some legitimate comments (although it’s a slim possibility). Delete those that really are spam. You don’t need them.
This one my sound basic, but it’s still important. Take some time to update your WordPress software. Not sure if it needs updated or not? Don’t sweat it. WordPress will notify you of updates at the top of your dashboard screen.
It may seem counter-productive to spend time doing these activities each month. But remember that they allow your audience to access your site (hopefully) without any hiccups. In the short term it might feel like a waste of time, but you’ll be glad you maintained when other WordPress users are encountering a slowdown and you’re still running smoothly.
Vanessa James is a business technology consultant specializing in database management. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge with individuals and companies alike. She currently writes for oracle provider confio.com.