How to Fall Clean Your Website

How to Fall Clean Your Website

Why Fall Clean 

September 22, marks the first day of fall.

Just as we do a thorough cleaning of our homes, we also need to a fall cleaning of our website. Today, I am sharing 2 levels of deep cleaning and how to fall clean your website. Take a few days to perform each one or power through on a weekend and complete them all. Next week, I will be posting on how to clean up our social media profiles.

Click to download fall cleaning checklist

A “Brief” Back Story

How many remember our mom’s or perhaps it was both parent’s starting the fall cleaning at home? It was that last big cleaning before the holidays started kicking in.

My dad would go around and winterize the house on the outside. Most of the homes that we lived in, only had single pane windows, which meant that each fall my dad would go out and either put the storm windows in or staple plastic around the windows.

Inside, all of my 5 brothers and sisters  would be busy, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming every nook and cranny. Mattresses were flipped over and new winter sheets and thicker blankets were put on our beds. In my parent’s house there was always a ton of knick knacks, so each one was carefully picked up and dusted all around and placed gently back on the shelf.

Fall also meant that we would empty our dressers and closets and take out all our summer clothes. We would box them up and store them either in our closet or in the storage room. Old, ripped or soiled clothes were either tossed into the rags bucket or placed in a garbage bag which my dad would later burn in the burning barrel in the back yard.

I always thought that my parents, my dad especially, were clean freaks. Why one earth, did we have to do this thorough cleaning twice a year? As an adult, I now understand the importance of keeping a tidy house and I absolutely love the smell of a clean home.

I digress.

Back to fall cleaning our website. Let’s take a look at the entry level, which is the bronze level. These tasks will only take a few minutes but will ensure that your website is running at optimum performance and remains safe.

Just as we do a thorough cleaning of our homes, we also need to a fall cleaning of our website. Today, I am sharing 2 levels of deep cleaning and how to fall clean your website. READ MORE AT Everything's Coming Up Rosie (www.ecurosie.com)

 

Basic Level – The Backend Stuff

  • Backup Current WordPress Files

Stop!

Before your fall cleaning begins, it’s imperative that you backup all your current WordPress files.

  • Update WordPress, Theme, and Plugins

It’s a resounding yes for all three!

According to WPBeginner, 83% of hacked WordPress sites hadn’t been upgraded properly. and 14% of the web host servers were not upgraded properly.

It’s really important to update these three features on a regular basis. With each new update release, bugs are fixed, new features are added, performance is improved, and existing features are enhanced to stay up to date with industry standards. Therefore, when you do not update your WordPress site, you are risking your website security and missing out on new features and improvements.

The basic level of cleaning is now complete.

See?

Wasn’t that easy?

If you’re eager and want to continue, we can move on to the advanced level to complete before the fall cleaning is finished. Now this will take a little more time but I can promise you that it will be worth it!

Advanced Level – The Functional & Content Stuff

Get Rid of the Old

Remember, how we used to get rid of the clothes that don’t fit? Or the toys and things that are broken and are put into the garbage pile?

That’s what we are going to do here too.

  • Clean up all your tag and categories. Do you have too many? Narrow them down to a select few. Or perhaps you have tags and categories that are no longer being used? Get rid of them. Delete.

QUICK TIP: You can add new tags and manage existing ones from Posts -> Tags in your dashboard and to add new and manage categories, you can click here.

  • Fix any broken images or links and spam comments. Remove or update your staff bios and get rid of old promotions, products or services that you no longer offer.

QUICK TIP: I use Broken Link Checker, you can read why I chose this app here.

  • Delete all the old revisions of posts. Especially delete those unpublished blog posts or pages that will never be live to the public.

QUICK TIP: I use the Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions plugin to help remove all those old revisions. Once you use it to remove the old revisions, then deactivate and delete that plugin too.

  • If you still have blogging badges, delete those too! They used to be cool, when everyone was receiving the Liebster award or the feature of the week award. Now, they are no longer needed and just taking up space on your site.

Update Your Site

  • How fast does your website load? Could it be faster? Use the Google Speed Test tool to find what is slowing it down. Sometimes, simple changes can improve your load speed. Sometimes it requires development work.
  • Update your testimonials and ask for new ones! This is a great time to update your testimonials on your site. This is your social proof of how much you rock! Make sure that you have current testimonials from new clients.
  • Update your headshots and images on your website. While you are cleaning things up, why not get new, fresh images to add to your website. (be on the lookout for mine… they are coming soon!!)
  • Update your blog pages, whether it’s your home page, about page or your contact page. Check to make sure that all the forms and links work. These little changes can make a huge difference in the whole aesthetic and user experience.
  • Update your widgets on your side bar and anything else that can be found on your sidebar, such as your newsletter widget, social media buttons colour, photos and graphics.

QUICK TIP: I use a ton of stock photography for my website, blog posts and social media platforms. Click here to find 11 more places that have high-resolution photos.

  • At the same time, update your password. I understand that it can be pain to update passwords, which will mean one more thing to remember, but you will thank me for it later. The harder the password, the harder it is to be hacked into.

Click to download fall cleaning checklist

Freshen Up Your Site

  • Freshen up your social networking links. Don’t be left out in the dust! This is a quick fix to your website. Do a Google search for free social media icons and link them to your social network pages! Don’t forget to have a sharing plugin that will allow your audience to share your content!
  • Freshen up your portfolio and/or media kit. Whatever you are using, ensure that you have added your latest projects that you can showcase to your customers. When customers see new content, they can be assured that they are working with a professional.
  • Freshen up your old blog posts. How can it be updated? Add new image(s), update a old post and then link back to a newer blog post?
  • Run a new promotion or utilize your social media pages to generate traffic to your updated website. If executed correctly, your visitors will notice the time and effort you put into making this site a better experience for them, which will lead to repeat visitors.

Click to download fall cleaning checklist

Wrap Up

Like home fall cleaning, it’s wise to give your website a “deep clean” once a year. Get rid of the old and bring in the new. To achieve all three levels of clean, it can be quite time-consuming. A better way to keep the dust at bay is to incorporate theses tasks into a weekly or monthly routine. If you implement even some of them, your performance and the attractiveness of your website will increase.More importantly, your customers will thank you!

Don’t forget, next week, I will be posting on how to clean up our social media profiles!

Not enough time to do it on your own? Message me and I would love to help you out! Do you clean your website during the fall before the holidays hit us? 

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Hey, I’m Rosie! I am a strategy consultant from Alberta, Canada. I provide smart, savvy women with advice on their goals and future direction so that they can plan effective strategies for growth, whether it’s personal or business-related. I’ve been featured on Annette’s Rochelle Aben’s radio show “Perspectivepower” and ceoMom’s. When I am not blogging, you’ll find you me drinking coffee, making popcorn and hanging out with my two daughters. If I can follow my dreams, you can too!

28 thoughts on “How to Fall Clean Your Website

  1. nikkifrankhamilton says:

    Rosie, this is a great list. I have the Better Delete Revision Plugin and clean out revisions several times a week. And spam, gotta get rid of spam often, after I do all the cleanups and updates I cache my site. This helps to keep it clean. I’m much better with a weekly light cleaning, as I keep up with it, than an twice yearly deep cleaning.

    I am going back through my posts as I can and updating the ALT tags and resizing my images so they fit my new larger post area. It is a lot of work, but it’s so worth it. And at the same time I am making sure my SEO is green lighted. So I do a few at a time, so I don’t get overwhelmed.

    Love the Broken Link Checker, it can be a life saver, and this way I can fix issues as soon as they arrive!

    • Lots of graft tips, Nikki! I try to fox things before they get too bad. It’s the perfectionist in me. Lol. But sometimes, some of need. A little reminder to do a clean up on our sites. 🙂

  2. Hi Rosie, this is my first time visiting your blog and I’m so glad I found you on Twitter. I just violated my rule of not signing up for any more newsletters. You won me over with your incredibly helpful tips and I don’t want to miss out next week when you share your tips for cleaning up our social media profiles.

    After a lengthy hiatus from blogging, I’m back and the first thing I did was some fall cleaning. You’re right, it’s a lot more involved than it first appears. Sadly, while switching from Disqus comments back to my old platform I lost all my comments, but it had to be done. I’m so grateful for the broken link checker. I’ve been doing it manually. Ha- crazy I know. I’ve also discovered a ton of photos and you tube videos from really, really old blog posts that are MIA. I’m assuming that was back before I leaned anything about copyright infringement and I was just getting my photos from google images. I’m assuming the rightful owners must have zapped them away, LOL, better than a lawsuit, anyday.

    You’ve really given us an impressive and thorough list to follow. I can’t thank you enough. Too bad you don’t have one for getting our homes in fall- back -to-school order. Thank you again.

    Melissa Sugar
    http://melissasugarwrites.com

    • Thanks, Melissa! I had the flu all last well, unfortunately, my post about social media clean up will be a week late. 🙁 but, please let me know if there is anything you’d like to know in particular!

  3. Wow! What a helpful post! So glad I found you on #weekendblogshare I’m gonna follow (most of) your advice, once I shake off my laziness!!! (no, I haven’t done any fall cleaning in my house either, darn it)

    • Thanks, Sara. I’m switched over from WordPress. Com to a self-hosted site. With the switch over, I ended up with duplicate posts and photos. I had to go in and do a lot of deleting . Lol

  4. Hi Rosie, some sound advice here, especially about the importance on keeping everything up to date on blogs. I check for updates daily as just the thought of being hacked makes me sweat.

    I like to update my blog and give it a tidy up in the New Year. After the fuss of the festive season is over and everything seems fresh and new.

    #HappyNowLinkUp

    xx

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