5 Ways to Optimize WordPress Now

Are you maintaining your WordPress site?

You have a shiny new WordPress website, so how do you maintain it? There are a handful of things you should be doing on a regular basis that will help keep your site running in tip top condition.

Note: Even though this is focusing on how to keep your WordPress site up-to-date, many of these tips are applicable to all platforms (Squarespace, Shopify, etc.)

1. Keep Your File Sizes Small

If you are blogging on the reg or you have a portfolio, you are probably uploading a ton of images to your site. Keep in mind, when you load a webpage, your browser will try to load all of these images at one time. The larger the image file size, the longer it will take to load the page in its entirety. The smaller the image file size, the quicker.

Take a look at two things as you prepare to upload images. If your image is more than 1080px wide, it’s probably too large. Most websites are not any wider than this, so your image doesn’t need to be. Try reducing the overall size of your image to help reduce file size. If you still find that your image file size is large, then take a look at the resolution of your image. If your image is larger than 72 DPI, then you can reduce it down. 72 DPI is the standard resolution for screens, so website images do not need to be any larger.

Also, be sure you have an image compression plugin installed. I personally use the Ewww Image Optimizer, it allows you to reduce your image size in bulk and will compress the image as you upload it.

2. Backup, Backup, Backup

If you are not routinely backing up your website, stop what you are doing and go do it! Frankly, there are a million different things that can go wrong with websites, most of which are out of our control. A client of mine who has hosting through a mom & pop hosting company almost lost her entire site because the host upgraded their servers improperly. This left the client’s website damaged. I was able to do a quick restore and had her site back to normal within a couple of hours.

For WordPress, I use the UpDraftPlus, you can set how often you want your site to backup and save backups directly Dropbox or Google Drive for safe keeping. Bonus points for the fact that they have a super easy restore function within WordPress!

3. Secure Your Site

Because of WordPress’ popularity, it is major target for hackers. To combat this, make sure you 1) use strong passwords (not your dog’s name or your first born…something with random numbers, letters and characters, uppercase, lowercase…etc.) and 2) have a security plugin in place. You don’t want to go to your site one day to find it replaced with some fun, NSFW pics…that always seems to be a hackers go-to. Smh…

I have used iThemes Security and WordFence for security. Both work great and even if you don’t really understand all of the security terms, they have basic settings that take care of most things you need to be concerned with.

4. Check for Updates

The WordPress updates page will show you if there is an update available for WordPress itself and for all of the plugins that your site uses. Going back to #3 for a second, keeping your site updated helps to eliminate vulnerabilities that hackers look for. CAUTION: Make sure you run a site backup before you run the updates, just in case of a glitch!

5. Check for Broken Links

Want a sure fire way to get people to leave your site? BROKEN LINKS! Who wants to stay on a site that doesn’t work properly? This is one that I often neglect on my own site and need to check on ASAP! This is especially pertinent if you have external links to other websites in your blog posts. Keep in mind that you can accidentally type or copy an address in wrong or the site you are linking to may move or delete a page/post, so it’s always good to double check each one.

The Broken Link Checker plugin quickly checks and helps you remove or edit any broken links it finds.

 

wrapup

Your website is like a living breathing thing, you have to maintain it to keep it running. I hope the tips above will help you to keep your site in tip top shape.

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