End of Year Housekeeping for Your WordPress Website

An image of a guy with a broom cleaning his WordPress website because he knows an updated website won't crash and make him cry.

I’m a broken record over here, y’all. I’m having difficulty accepting this year is almost over. The time just went whoosh! And while I don’t mind my Spotify Year in Review, I don’t think I’d appreciate the same type of review how I spent all of that time! I don’t want to know how much screen time I spent on my phone or how many minutes I spent enjoying Paqui Chips.

Look, we’re not here to talk about me, though. The title in this article clearly stipulates and indicates that I’m here to help you help yourselves by keeping your WordPress website up-to-scratch as we close this momentous chapter called 2022 out.

WordPress Housecleaning Tips

  1. Update WordPress and plugins and themes: It is important to keep your WordPress installation and all plugins up to date to ensure that your site is secure and has the latest features and bug fixes.
    • Pro tip: Update your plugins one-by-one to avoid your site crashing and also to easily identify the pesky plugin or theme culprit that brought your site down.
    • IgnitionDeck Customers can always download the latest and greatest version from our Members Dashboard.
  2. Check for broken links: Use a tool like Broken Link Checker to identify and fix any broken links on your site. Also, Ahrefs (paid subscription) is a great tool for finding broken internal links.
  3. Optimize images: Large images can slow down your site, so it is a good idea to optimize them for the web by reducing their file size. You can do this using an image optimization plugin or tool. My personal favorite is ShortPixel and Imagify (in that order).
  4. Delete unused themes and plugins: If you have any themes or plugins that you are no longer using, consider deleting them to keep your site clutter-free and improve its performance. Any additional code you host on your website can increase your website’s susceptibility to attack. Reduce this threat by removing what you’re not using.
  5. Back up your site: It is important to regularly back up your site to ensure that you have a copy of all your content and data in case something goes wrong. I’m a HUGE fan of BlogVault (we use it for IgnitionDeck).
  6. Monitor your site’s performance: Use a tool like Google Analytics (free) to track your site’s traffic and performance, and make any necessary changes to improve its speed and usability. A great alternative (but not free) is Fathom Analytics.
  7. Monitor your website’s uptime: It’s helpful to know when your website is down not only because downtime sucks but because it can affect profitability (especially for e-commerce shops) but it can indicate your web host is failing you. I use and love Uptime Robot.
  8. Check your site’s security: Use a security plugin or service to scan your site for vulnerabilities and take steps to secure it. WordFence is a standard bearer in the WP Security space.
    • Here are some other plugins that I personally like for boosting security and making it harder for someone to hack your site.
      • Limit Login Attempts Reloaded – This plugin is great at stopping brute force attacks before they become a problem. The free version is superb. There is a pro version too. Every site I build has this plugin.
      • WPS Hide Login – A nifty plugin that changes the default login page from wp-admin to something else. This can throw off script kiddies or brute force scripts trying to break into your website.
      • Stop User Enumeration – An MVP of a plugin. This plugin prevents, or at least makes it more difficult, for scripts to output your website’s user IDs and emails, which by default can be easily extracted from your WordPress website. This helps prevent brute force logins but also a lot of unwanted spam.
  9. Ensure ongoing maintenance occurs – Keep your WordPress website safe from attacks, keep it up to date by getting a WordPress Maintenance plan from one of IgnitionDeck’s Partners. Check our Partner Directory.
  10. Review Your WordPress Site Health Dashboard – You can see at a glance if your WordPress website has any important issues to address. You can visit yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/site-health.php (replace yourwebsite.com with your actual website domain). The dashboard can provide suggestions to improve site health, performance, and to address any critical issues.
  11. Check your backups and test restores – Your backups are only as good as your restores. Test a restore of one your backups. Most hosts provide backups, so it should be easy to test a restore. Always do this on a test/dev environment.

In Conclusion

Starting the New Year off right is easy when you check on your website’s plugins and themes. Keep a regular interval of checking on your website’s updates or at least hire someone who can help do it for you. Between our Partner Directory and the WordPress ecosystem, there’s no reason to not have your website kept up-to-date.

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