Blogging is so much more than the fancy facade that we see on our screens. Behind the scenes there are often many systems and plugins powering everything and holding it all together. If you don’t keep on top of these components and make sure they are always running smoothly, updated and secure then you could run into a host of problems and slow your site down considerably.
Not to fret, there are some great simple tools and steps you can take to regularly maintain your blog and clean up your digital home.
Let’s begin –
It’s maintenance time
Before you jump in and do any of these steps, make sure that you run a blog backup before you update anything on your site.
- Keep your blog up to date – if you are running on WordPress, make sure that you are running the latest version of WordPress. To check updates – Go to your WordPress Admin > Dashboard > Updates > you will be shown all new updates available for your WordPress system, plugins and themes.
- Update your plugins – plugin developers often release updates that have improved features, security and bug fixes, check for updates each week and make sure you run them. To run update – Go to your WordPress Admin > Plugins > Update Available > select plugins to update.
- Update your themes – all themes are different and some offer automatic updates and some need to be updated manually. Check out your theme documentation for detailed instructions on updates. To check for theme updates – Go to your WordPress Admin > Dashboard > Updates > Themes section > you will be shown all new updates / versions available.
Time to take out the trash
Now it’s time to get your hands a little dirty and clean out your database. It’s not as scary as it may sound, promise! (This is relevant to WordPress.org users). Grab yourself this plugin – WP Clean Up as it will save you lots of time and allows you to perform all the following steps in a few clicks.
- Go through all your plugins and themes and delete those that you no longer use. If you have changed themes, keep a file on your computer and delete it from your WordPress themes section so you can reinstall it at a later time if you wish to use it again. All past themes will be stored in – Appearance > Themes > click on theme and then delete button in bottom corner. Do the same for your plugins. Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins > delete any no longer in use.
- Delete draft posts. Do you have a stack of draft posts started and left to sit around for a later date? If so go to Posts > All Posts > click on Drafts > delete any drafts that you are no longer going to use.
- Get rid of old post revisions. When you write a post, post revisions can be a life saver if you need to revert to a past copy or something crashes and your computer has saved your latest revision. However if you have been blogging for a while, you will no doubt have a large amount of revisions stored on your database. There are a few great plugins to help you clean out your post revisions –
- Revision Control: This plugin allows you to choose the number of revisions to store for each post (such as the two newest) and it also allows you to delete individual revisions.
Keep on top of broken links
We all know how annoying it can be coming across broken links on the internet. There is an amazing tool I discovered for WordPress.org that scans your site regularly and lets you know of any broken links that exist. You can then easily edit the broken URL’s, ignore or delete them. Your readers will love you for it.
- Install Broken Link Checker. In your WordPress Admin > Go to Settings > Link Checker > you can set up how often it scans your links and you can click on your current broken links.
Other posts in this bite-size series:
Securing your digital home
Topic 2: Taking out the trash & cleaning up your digital home – keeping the core of your blog up to date, staying on top of broken links and getting rid of old files clogging up your system.
Topic 3: Securing your digital home – how to make sure your blog is super secure, great tools to use, password tips and an overview of the weakest areas of your blog.
Topic 4: Carrying out pest control – this is where I delve into dealing with spam, having the right filters on your blog and others measures you can take to keep online pests at bay.
Topic 5: Getting things running efficiently – lastly I will take you through page speed, reducing your bounce rate, and look at caching systems that can greatly improve load times.
Any questions? Let me know if you have any problems completing any of the steps. Jump into the comments below and let me know.