Hey there everyone! I just wanted to share a video today of 5 tips to keep your WordPress site running smoothly. If you follow these five tips your website should perform very well and you should feel like you have a good understanding of your website’s performance. Let’s get into these tips.
Tip 1: Security and Security-Related Clean Up
The first one is security and security-related clean up surrounding your website. One of the big things with WordPress is that it is the most used platform around the web for creating websites. WordPress is often the most targeted platform for malware, hackers, malicious scripts, etc because it’s so widely used. One thing you’re always going to want to do with your WordPress site is to get a security tool in place. Make sure your site is secure with a plugin and make sure your passwords are unique.
With all of the new changes like WordPress 5.0 and PHP 7.2, there is going to be a lot of new malware out there to target new vulnerabilities within these. One thing you should always do is have security a plugin or tool installed on your website to help protect your website.
In terms of a security cleanup, what you should be doing is you should always be keeping your plugins up to date. One of the reasons websites get malware is because there is an exploit found in an old version of a plugin and since websites around the web might not have updated to the latest version of the plugin they’re vulnerable to that malware. So one thing you can do to avoid security issues is to keep your plugins up-to-date remove old plugins that you’re not using. That can be a great way of making sure your site is kept up-to-date as well as improved security. The latest version of a plugin almost always comes with some sort of patch for past vulnerabilities, so you can always want to keep your plugins up-to-date and further down this list I’ll explain a really great and easy way to do that.
Tip 2: Uptime Monitoring and Reporting Tools
You’re going to want to make sure you know when your site is down. Some hosts will offer uptime monitoring for free and sometimes hosts don’t offer that and you can go to a tool like Pingdom. Pingdom a great tool for getting reports and uptime monitoring so if your site goes down your alerted right away. That can be a really big money saver for e-commerce websites. If you’re selling something on your website and your site goes down, you want to know about that right away so that you can get it back up and collecting transactions again. If you wait for a whole day and you never knew the site was down you can lose a lot of revenue just from not knowing that your site went down. Having enough time monitor in place it’s really crucial to keeping your website operational and not losing any sales. Manage WP is a tool that we use that has uptime monitoring and some other really great features that I’ll get into in some of these later tips. Reporting tools can give you a more in-depth look on your site performance, your site speed, your analytics, your SEO, as well as your up time. Getting that report delivered to you weekly or bi-weekly can be a really great way to stay on top of your site and keep it running smoothly.
Tip 3: Performance Audit and Optimization
With any site, you’re going to run into a potential performance issue. At RipplePop, one of the most common issues we deal with our clients is performance related. They want their site to run faster, they want their images optimized, etc. One of the things that we always will do is a performance audit where we take a look at your site and we find out you know what is causing the slowdown. Most often it’s a few basic things. Who is your host? Did you pick a good host that performs well or did you pick a cheap post that might run out of resources with the amount of traffic you’re seeing? Is there a cashing tool installed? Are your images optimized? Most of the time between hosting, images, and cashing we can find out what the issue is that’s causing your site to be slow.
We will always recommend switching to a host like WP Engine or Flywheel or a dedicated WordPress host like those because a dedicated WordPress host, although it might be a couple more dollars a month, provides much better performance for your server then you would get with a standard GoDaddy install of WordPress. Looking at some alternative hosting options can be a great way to get better site performance without doing a bunch of complicated work. Flywheel and WP Engine will migrate your site for free so you can always try their services out and migrate your site oversee if it performs better. If it does, great! You can stick with that new host. If not then you know you can go back to your old host and try some further optimizations with your images and caching.
For images, we really like to use ShortPixel. It’s a very cost-effective way, I think for $5 can get you five or ten thousand images optimized on your site and it can be a great way to make sure your images are not huge. For caching we love WP Rocket. It’s a premium plugin but it is a great caching tool. There are some others out there as well. I know Swift is becoming a big favorite among developers and then there’s WP Fastest Cache and some of the other big players in the in the cache plugin world. Make sure that you look at those three elements (hosting, caching, image optimization). Have a performance audit done on your website, we can do those for you at RipplePop. Then you can optimize based upon that audit.
Tip 4: Backups and Restores
This should probably be number one on the list because it’s one of the most important things you can do for your website, and that’s taking backups. You should be taking daily backups of your website. One of the reasons is it is the ultimate safety net for your website. At RipplePop, when we take new clients we will not do any work on their website we set up our own backups. The reason being is WordPress can sometimes be very fragile. You update a plugin and your site breaks or you update to the latest version of WordPress and your site breaks. What do you do if that happens and you don’t have backups? You can’t restore to an older version, you can’t get your site back online without a lot of involved developer work that gets very expensive. One great thing you can always do to keep your site running smoothly is to make sure you are taking backups.
More premium hosts like Flywheel and WP Engine take daily backups for you automatically. You can also look into tools like UpDraftPlus and install it on your website. You can choose where you want the backups the store: Dropbox, Google Drive, or anywhere you’d like those to be saved. Another great tool I mentioned earlier is Manage WP. It has reporting, uptime monitoring, it can do your backups and restore, and it can even do what is number five on this list which is database clean up.
Tip 4: Database Cleanup
Database clean up is a really important thing to keep your site running fast. Often times people don’t realize that whenever you make a post or revise a post or save a draft that those revisions and those drafts get saved into the database and that can make your database grow very large. One thing you can do is run a database clean up. WP-Optimize is a plugin that does this and also Manage WP (the tool that we use for basically almost everything in this list). Clearing out of your database can really help with performance and it’s something you should take a look at every now and again to make sure that your database is clean.
I hope all of this sounds like useful information to help keep your site running smoothly. If you do not want to do any of these things yourself, you can always hire a service like ours at RipplePop. We do all of these things for our clients. We can manage your security, do uptime monitoring, send you a weekly report, performance audits, speed optimizations, backups, database cleanups, you name it. We are a great team for helping you keep your site running smoothly. If you don’t want to do the work yourself you can just delegate it to our team and we can handle that for you so you can focus on other things.
I hope you had a lovely New Year and great holidays as well, thanks!