It’s an easy trap to fall into, you hear about agencies selling maintenance packages, about how your websites will inevitably crash if you don’t do so. Don’t buy it, automate it yourself!
But a few months down the line the website is slow, some of the pages look slightly inebriated, and you have no idea who is making changes to your website anymore. Well, rest assured because we have put together some simple yet powerful ways to maintain your WordPress website yourself.
PNG or not PNG?
Ah, one of the world’s age old questions that’s been passed down through generations and generations whilst baffling some of the greatest minds through the ages. I have no idea why, the answer is simple. Not PNG. Use JPEGs wherever possible as they are a lossy compressed file format compared to PNGs which are, well, bigger. Higher image sizes on your website increases loading speed and in all likelihood, will cause more of your users you have worked so hard to acquire, to leave your website.
Obviously there are some great uses for PNG images, below are some of the times where PNGs are the best file choice:
- If you are creating small icons or graphics
- Any line drawings are probably best in PNG format
- If you need text in your image, then PNGs are normally the best choice
- Images where you need transparent backgrounds
Bigger isn’t Always Better (thankfully)
Whilst we are talking about images, compress the hell out of them. There are a number of plugins that do this really well without compromising the quality of the images. Our personal favourites are Ewww Image Optimizer and Smush. However, if you do not have a whole load of images on your website, I would suggest doing it manually or by using online image compressors such as this one. Larger images on your website cause loading speeds to skyrocket, and even reduce SEO rankings, harming both your traffic and conversion rates.
Don’t Work too Hard
With over 20,000 free plugins to pick from, it’s so tempting to play around and add some functionality and some fun to your website. However, do you really need Never Gonna Give You Up lyrics on your dashboard? Where possible, try and limit the number of plugins you have. As a rule of thumb, the higher the number of plugins, the greater the risk. If you are not an experienced WordPress user, I’d suggest limiting the number of plugins you add onto your website after the development is finished.
Keep up With the Times
Not updating your website is so last year. If you have a staging website, update all the plugins, the theme and the WordPress version on that first. Make sure the website functions correctly, then do the same on your live website. If you only have the live version of your website, then you are everything we despise. But I guess we can still give you a few tips:
- Update your website regularly, it’s best if you can do this as soon as an update is released, but if this is too time consuming, set a reminder to update it once every couple of weeks.
- This one is important, tough situations are always better with backup, and websites are no different. Before any live updates, backup your website. You will not regret it.
- Lastly, if you stop using the features a plugin provides, then delete the plugin. There is no need to keep it, as it’s an added risk. If you are reading this article and not just skimming through the witty titles, you will remember that more plugins = more risk.
- This is a cute little tip to wrap things up, update WordPress first, and then the plugins and themes.
Security is Sexy…
…Said no-one ever, but security is paramount with websites. A quick overlooked way of enhancing security is by making sure that not every Tom, Dick and Harry has login details, and that if Harry does have his own account, he only has the permissions he needs. We would also recommend not using “admin” as your username and change this to something a tad more unique and relevant. A lot of websites also switch the admin URL to something harder to identify, this can slow or stop some automated hacking software from even finding your admin page.
There you have it, 5 ridiculously simple but powerful ways to maintain your WordPress website. More complex websites can require more bespoke maintenance solutions. Fraser Marketing offers free website maintenance packages which keep your websites healthy, or give us a call if you have any queries about maintaining your WordPress website.