One of my pet peeves is when web designers, developers, and agencies build a WordPress website for a small business, and then leave it behind to be unsupported.
Think of your website like your house. You can’t just build and then never maintain it. Eventually life will pass it up and it’ll fall apart. Websites work the same way. The Internet is constantly and rapidly evolving. Just in the past 18 months as I write this post, WordPress has completely upgraded to a new editor and made massive strides in how its software operates. Yet, millions of websites have been left behind by careless creators who no longer support their work.
This is one of the largest reasons I started Louisville Web Nerds in the first place. Yes, building websites is important. It’s a large part of our revenue, but maintaining them and making sure they stay up to date is equallty as important. A website does no good if it gets so outdated that it doesn’t work.
Here is a list of 10 things to check on your website this year. This is not an exhaustive list, but it’ll point you in the right direction. If you need help with any of these, check out our monthly support plans to get the ongoing help you need.
Is your software up to date?
This is one of the most critical components of keeping a WordPress website up to date. WordPress evolves quickly. They release upgrades a couple of times a month usually, and plugin developers release software upgrades even more frequently than that.
Every week we upgrade dozens of websites for our clients to make sure they’re on the most recent software and WordPress release. Failing to do so will expose security flaws, cause software to work incorrectly, and could even result in fatal errors, especially if your website uses some of the more highly targeted plugins, like Elementor, etc.
Are you running at least PHP 7?
Another recent upgrade in the WordPress world is the evolution of PHP from version 5 to version 7. As I write this point, version 7.4 is the current, and is incredibly more efficient and secure than its predecessor. If you’re not running at least version 7, you’re leaving money on the table, because your website isn’t as fast or secure as many of your competitors.
If you don’t know how to check this, get in touch and we’ll help you out.
Is there any incorrect or missing information?
Things change over time. Photos get outdated. Prices change. Phone numbers change. Policies change. Services and Products come and go, and more.
Is the content on your website up to date and an accurate reflection of your business? If not, again, you’re leaving money on the table. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called a business and they tell me something that is on their website isn’t offered anymore, or worse, they have other valuable services that aren’t even listed.
Make sure your website reflects the current state of your business.
How quickly does each page load?
Performance optimization for a WordPress website is multi-faceted. There are a dozen or more different variables that affect the speed of a website. Anything from the host, to CDN usage, to image compression, to caching, to CSS and JS, and more, can effect how efficient a website loads.
And when you’re dealing with the short attention spans of web users, if your pages don’t load in a few seconds or less, they’re probably going elsewhere.
We run a full performance optimization on all of the websites we support, and would be happy to help with yours.
Are you missing any images?
Broken images are another common flaw on websites. People delete images without thinking, or databases get lost. Whatever the cause, if you have broken images on your website, it dramatically affects the usability and trust factor of your website.
Would you want to do business with an organization that has dozens of missing images on their website? Let’s get those fixed for you.
Can you find your website in Google?
Have you ever Googled the name of your business or your primary keywords to see what comes up? It’s a good idea to do so from time to time. Not only do search results change by the minute, but this is also a good way to check that your website hasn’t been compromised by break-in attempts.
Often times, a website can have small hacks living in it that are invisible to users and site owners, but search engine crawlers pick up. This will get a website banned from search engines very quickly, and this has a very detrimental effect on business.
Here’s a tip. Go to Google and type “site:yourdomain” and click enter. That’ll show you all of the pages Google has listed for you. For example “site:louisvillewebnerds.com”.
If you’re looking for help with SEO, we help a small number of cilents with SEO on a monthly basis. We only have a few of these spots left, so if you need help with this, get in touch soon.
Are there any SSL warnings?
Look at the top-left of your website. Is there a broken lock icon? Or do some of your pages throw insecure content warnings? SSL encryption is becoming commonplace on the Internet in today’s world. If you’re not running your website over an “https” connection, you’ll be left in the dust by your competitors in search results, as well as security of the transactions on your site.
Do you have any broken or incorrect links?
It’s also a good idea to check your links from time to time. Internal links don’t change often unless you have someone changing your URL structure, but external links change frequently, and not all website owners are kind enough to redirect them when they do. You don’t want to link to broken content.
Links can also be affected by hack attempts. It’s a common practice for hackers to invisibly redirect links to malicious websites without the knowledge of a site owner. This can not only get your website banned from search engines, but your users won’t get where they need to go, and they’ll be gone from your website in seconds.
Are there any other obvious errors?
Click around on your website for a few minutes. Are there any other obvious errors. Are things misspelled, or calendars not updated? Images not appearing correctly or pages not loading right? Does your site load well on a mobile device? Do your contact forms submit. There is a laundry list of things to check to make sure everything on a website works correctly.
Use your website like a customer would from time to time to make sure all is well.
Are you confident in your website security?
Last, but not least is website security. WordPress is used by over 1/3 of websites on the Internet. This makes it a target. However, there are simple ways to secure it that can thwart the vast majority of break-in attemtps that would otherwise compromise a perfectly good site.
If you’re not 100% confident that your site is secure, get in touch and we’ll help out.
Partner With Louisville Web Nerds
Feel free to go through the list above and check out your website to make sure all is working correctly. Or, if you don’t want to do that, get in touch with us to hire a partner who will do it for you. WordPress is what we do each and every day.