It is easy to get caught up blogging until something goes haywire with your WordPress site. Then, your full focus will divert to fixing the problem at hand versus crafting great blog content.
Here are a few preventative steps that can help you avoid a broken site nightmare so you can focus on your blogging dreams! Best of all, none of them take a lot of time and should be something you can build into your normal routine.
1. Make sure WordPress is up to date
Make sure WordPress is up to date as well as any plugins and themes. I can’t get over how many people do not update their WordPress installs. That’s like using your iPhone, not updating any of the software, and expect it to run like a champ. Just update it already!
2. Check your contact forms on a regular basis
Contact form plugins are great and a super easy to setup. The problem is, they are not failsafe. Someone may be trying to reach you but if your contact form isn’t working property it will go to deaf ears. Be certain that if someone hits submit, a notification is sent.
3. Check your hosting CPU and Bandwidth
Shared hosting accounts typically have some type of limit on the amount of bandwidth and CPU’s they allow each customer to consume. Sometimes, web applications like WordPress can all of a sudden be very resource intensive for reasons often out of your control including traffic spikes, bad code, and bot attacks. Having a grasp of what your site normally consumes on a daily basis will help you make better judgments when systems go on the attack. If you’re over your usage, your host will often charge you for the extra resources or shut down your site without notice. Sometimes, they do so and do not tell you. Check with your host to make sure you’re not on the hook for overages.
4. Check for overlapping or unused taxonomies
WordPress is a fanatical blogging platform with a great post “filing system” otherwise known as taxonomies. Review your categories, tags and custom post types for anything that might be overlap to avoid duplication and confusion (mainly from search engines). Additionally, check to see if there are any opportunities for consolidation of tags and/or categories – this will help keep your site leaner and cleaner.
5. Scale images down to appropriate web resolutions
Beautiful images can make or break a blog. High resolution images can only break a blog. Be sure to scale down your photos to an appropriate web resolution using a program such as Adobe Photoshop. Use the best photo file extension for the job. For example, if you need transparency then use a .png file but avoid using a .png file when a .jpg will do. I don’t care, even on a retina display, you don’t need an image that is greater than 4000px wide. You just don’t.
6. Check site speed, often
A speedy site is so important, this should probably be one of the first things on this list. There are so many ways to help increase the load speed if your WordPress site and some tactics work better than others depending on your web host and other factors. I just can’t simply list them all here but spend time learning about site speed and how it affects your website and search engine rankings.
7. Review your 404 – not found errors
Maybe you’ve changed your website’s url structure or have deleted or moved a few old posts. It’s a really important point those “moved pages” to something else so your website doesn’t serve what we call a 404 “Page not Found” error. Google Webmaster tools will give you a report of any not found pages and you should take it seriously when they occur. There are several WordPress plugins to assist with redirection, including one that I’ve used for many years called Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin.
The above steps will help you maintain a healthier website and should also be in conjunction with a routine backup schedule.
Do you have any tips that maybe I forgot? Leave a comment below and I will be happy to cite you in my post.