If you missed my last post about getting your website ready for the holidays, then now's a great time to invest a few minutes on some basic website maintenance, to help get your WordPress Website ready for the New Year.

Keep reading to gain some valuable tips on ensuring your website's in tip-top shape for the upcoming year.

Update Your Copyright Date

A lot of website owners forget to update the copyright date on their website, and some don't even realise the importance of it. An updated copyright date indicates to visitors that your website is maintained (and not abandoned), and that the content is up-to-date.

Update WordPress, Plugins & Themes

This one's a no-brainer and should ideally form part of your monthly website maintenance! ALWAYS make sure that your website is running the latest version of WordPress and that all your plugins and themes are updated. Remember to take a backup of your site before updating, just in case you run into any conflicts.

Test Your Forms

It is not uncommon for contact forms to suddenly stop working (usually after updates). Make sure that you are receiving all form submissions sent from your website and that contact and subscription forms are functioning properly.

Update Pricing & Information

Remove any outdated banners / advertising, and ensure all your products are priced correctly. If shipping costs, business contact or banking details have changed, be sure to update all these important details on your website.

Remove Old Users & Update Passwords

Delete any users (admins, shop owners, subscribers, etc) that no longer require access to your website, and update passwords to ensure your website remains secure.

Remove Unused Images, Themes and Plugins

Images, themes, plugins, and documents can take up a lot of space in your hosting account and can also affect your website loading times. Now is a good time to do a quick clean up of all the stuff that you're no longer using and ensure you're not storing any unnecessary files.

Add New Content

Create and add some fresh and engaging content such as a new blog post or page. Adding new content will not help maintain, or in some cases improve your Google ranking (Google LOVES new content), but will also help draw new and existing visitors to your website.

Wrapping Up

Keeping your website in good health is important, and what better time to focus on cleaning up your website than right now!

Read also: getting your website ready for the holidays

Yet another year has come and gone, and you've finally finished up all your last minute, pre-holiday orders. And while grateful for having a busy end to the year, you simply cannot wait to take a much needed break and forget about your business for a short while. Sound familiar?

Ah, the thought of sipping on cocktails or even just relaxing on the couch feels like bliss, but don't forget that while you are taking some time for a well deserved break, your website keeps on going, and going, and going....

Preparing your website before going on holiday:

So, how can you make sure that your website is updated and running smoothly before Closing For The Holidays? By preparing.

Follow our guidelines on how to prepare your website for the holidays, and avoid having to face potential website woes upon your return.

Clean-up your website

To ensure that your website is in optimal condition, make sure it's cleaned up by getting rid of extraneous data such as saved revisions, spam comments and other unwanted clutter. This will ensure that your website runs more smoothly.

Secure your website

Every client I've ever dealt with can tell you how serious I am about website security, so this should always be an important point for any website owner. During the holidays however, security is more important than ever!

Most of us don't focus much of our attention on anything work related while away for the holidays, so if your site goes down or get's hacked, you probably won't even be aware of it.

Hackers also take advantage of the holiday season, and are out in full force to increase their attacks. If your website is not secure while you are away, how would you even know if your website has been hacked? You probably wouldn't...

Make a backup

Before you get carried away in the festive cheer, make sure that you have a backup of your website. Ideally, you should try to increase your backup intervals during this time so that if anything goes wrong it’s easier to go back to an up-to-date version.

Schedule your posts

If you are maintaining a blog, it’s always a good idea to keep publishing relevant posts to keep your readers (and Google, who loves new content) engaged.

Luckily, WordPress has a scheduling feature that allows you to schedule your posts on a future date. To do this, simply click on the "Document" tab in the post settings, and next to "publish" click on "Immediately", and select the date and time for your post to go live.

Facebook offers a similar scheduling feature so your entire marketing campaign can continue running even while you are away!

Keep your website visitors informed

You don't want to come back from your well deserved break, to an unhappy customer who was expecting their champagne glasses to be delivered in time for their new years bash.

Avoid the post-holiday stress by adding a "pop-up" notification or "sticky" notification bar to your website so your visitors know that you're away for the holidays. This is especially important for online shops as courier companies, suppliers and service providers are usually on holiday during the peak season, so online orders cannot be processed.

Summary

Preparing your WordPress website for the holidays is an easy, yet important task that should not be overlooked. By following the guidelines in this post, you can sit back and relax, while your website keeps on working effectively. Here's a quick summary:

  1. Clean-up your website by getting rid of revisions, spam comments, unused plugins, and other clutter.
  2. Secure your website
  3. Create and schedule regular backups
  4. Create and schedule blog posts and / or Facebook posts.
  5. Let your visitors / customers know that you are away, by adding a "pop-up" notification or "sticky" notification bar to your website.

Not sure where to start, or simply don't have the time? Contact us for an obligation free quote and leave the holiday prep to us while you enjoy that cocktail!

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