Roomba vacuum on wood floor

More Suggestions for Website Spring Cleaning

I asked the amazing WordPress Community of Practice (CoP) at NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) what I missed in my last post about Spring Cleaning Your Website and got some great suggestions!

In the original post, I recommended you do the following at least once a year:

  • Prune plugins and themes
  • Check that your scheduled backups are running and can be restored
  • Test your forms (particularly if they get you money!)
  • Audit your content

Here are some other things to do or check on.

Data Pulled Into Your Website

Lots of websites grab information from Facebook, Twitter, CRMs, calendars, and more to provide valuable information to their visitors. But sometimes things can go awry. Gordon shared the following story:

We have a lovely one that pulls from our google calendar of public events and loads it into a web page for events of the day. This page shows up on monitors throughout our facility. Imagine my surprise when one of our custodial crew inquired if we were really going to have lunches all day long? He showed me the monitor which was indeed showing the next upcoming event as a whole screen full of lunches.

If you’ve got data coming into your website, don’t just assume it’s working as you’d expect!

“Dedupe” your Media Library

Jason had the great suggestion to review your Media Library and remove duplicate images. This gives you multiple benefits:

That can keep the overall backup size of the website down, and just makes it easier to manage.

If you do delete images, make sure that you check your site for broken images and fix any that you removed.

…And don’t let it happen again!

I’ve seen lots of sites with 5 versions of a logo or two copies of every single portfolio item. This often happens because people don’t accurately give their images Titles so they can’t search for images! Every time you upload a photo, give it a useful descriptive title (that future you would search for) and appropriate alternative text for people and computers that can’t see the image.

Password Check

Jason was on a roll and also made another great suggestion: confirm that you know who your web host and domain registrar and can log in to each account. You rarely need these until you really need these, so find the information when you’re not in a panic.

Seriously, Audit Your Content

And the most popular suggestion? Really make sure to audit your content!

I loved how Dan framed this with excellent examples:

We all do our best to keep our plugins, core, etc. up to date, and that’s a good thing. But a good, healthy content audit can’t be beat as far as user experience goes.

How many times do you see a website that says (c) 2014…. Or something along those lines. Uhg.

How many times do we go to a ‘In the Press’ page and see the latest entry from 2012….

Content!

Peter followed up, pointing out the importance of broken links and how a content audit really requires a human touch:

If something technical goes wrong with your website, you can usually tell right away, but outdated content can be easily overlooked. And check all outgoing links! Broken links are even more easily overlooked, because you wouldn’t know they’re broken unless you check them.

Schedule the Next One

Peter earned the conclusion with the reminder of the importance of your content audit and website spring cleaning:

I know this is obvious, but it’s incredible how fast a year (or more) can go by, so add a reminder to your calendar and be religious about it.

That’s it. Now go do it! (And add it to your calendar for next year too!)

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