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WordPress Website Cleanup: The Hows and Whys

We are not exactly germaphobes and excessive compulsive individuals (unless you really are one) but …. seeing WordPress in complete disarray and clutter can be quite triggering. Yes, from a certain point of view — a progress-filled one — all those files, new plugins, content, etc., symbolize that the site is indeed growing. Nonetheless, we could do some WordPress Website cleanup and thorough organizing. After all, growth is not an excuse to leave whatever is behind the curtain unattended and, well, dirty.

And since WordPress is the backbone of some websites (yours, to be specific), it must be part of your overall website maintenance to perform some cleanup tasks as well. Doing so does not take that much time and will result in your site’s easier, faster, and better use. 

Today, we’ll discuss why a WordPress Website cleanup is necessary and some of the best ways to do it. So without further ado, let’s make your WordPress squeaky clean!

Why the need to perform a WordPress Website Cleanup?

Aside from the obvious that it reduces those chaotic and frustrating feelings you get whenever you open WordPress, it also helps (a lot) make your site run faster and become more user-friendly, thus, enabling you to create high-quality content.

Remember those times when you were uploading images to your library, and WordPress would just make several copies of them? We know! It’s bothersome, right? To further add fuel to this fire, themes and plugins also request different image sizes, which leads to your library amassing files that you are not even aware of. 

And before you know it, your entire website is brimming with unwanted files that take up too much space on your web server, which makes back-end managing difficult. Not only that, you end up with high bounce rates and bad user experiences. Ultimately, these all lead to loss of business to your competitors. 

So before something like that happens, make sure to do regular WordPress Website cleanup and maintenance. 

Here’s how…

How to perform a WordPress Website Cleanup?

That is the question, isn’t it — a loaded one at that.

But to make it not as tiresome as it may seem, we’ve compiled a list of some simple things you can do. Before diving headfirst, though, make sure you have recently backed up your website. We don’t want any irreversible damages, now, would we? 

Out with the old post revisions

Why keep them in the first place, other than for the reason that we tend to hoard things? Those revisions just take up space and make WordPress bloated. 

Let us reason with you. You won’t need them anymore once you’ve stopped working on a specific post. So, why bother? While there is no instant and default way of deleting old revisions, you can still easily do so by installing plugins. These tools have features that will enable you to choose which to discard and which are worth keeping. Some plugins even combine this ability with deleting spammed comments and unused tags. 

But if you don’t want another plugin, you do have an alternative. Another way of removing old revisions is to add a code to your website’s wp-config.php file. 

Unused media files to the bin

As mentioned before, images along with videos and GIFs take up a lot of space. In turn, these files become a problem, especially if you have accumulated a good amount from deleted posts and pages.

To remove these unused media, you can go to your media library and delete them manually. However, this method is time-consuming. Hence, it would be better if you installed a media cleaner plugin. This type of plugin performs the WordPress website cleanup task for you by automatically clearing media that are not used in any of your content. 

Show unneeded themes and plugins out the door

There is no denying how plugins and themes make for excellent partners in WordPress. They help in making website management easy and extra thrilling. Unfortunately, installing unnecessary ones can put a strain on your site. 

Themes, on the one hand, need deleting and not just deactivating. Go through all of them, then remove anything you are not using. The same goes for plugins. Though, it may not be easy to know which ones should stay or go. You can then ask yourself whether a specific plugin sparks a great feeling (it may sound cliche or something unrelated, but in our defense, it does help) in you because of its function. If it does, then that one stays. But if it doesn’t, well…you can show it where the door is. 

Keep everything updated, and that includes your user info

An updated site is a site that runs smoothly and effectively. Sticking with the old versions of the software is bound to cause headache-inducing problems, such as:

  • Bogging things down
  • Generating security holes
  • Creating compatibility issues 

And you wouldn’t want those. Therefore, we’re giving much emphasis to the fact that your site must always be up-to-date. While smaller updates happen automatically for WordPress itself, some of the larger ones require you to install them manually. As for your plugins and themes, updating them is also relatively simple. You only need to go to that section in your WordPress dashboard and click on Update Now for those that need it.

On a slightly different note, it is easy to overlook your user information when performing a WordPress website cleanup — a would-be mistake on your part. You can do this by deleting old users, ensuring all information is updated for current users, and allowing specific people the appropriate permission level they need. 

This particular one focuses more on your users’ experience. It is important to keep in mind that they must be able to browse and perform actions on your live site hassle-free. And a great source of hassle (and disappointment) for them is encountering a broken link. 

Broken links often come to be when the content they lead to no longer exists or has been moved. To avoid these, you can manually fix them by going through all of your content and checking all the links inside. But this task can be arduous. Fortunately, you can (again) choose to install a plugin for this one. 

Spam comments are the bane of (your) existence

Spam gets out of hand. And when it does, it becomes too taxing to sort through all the comments posted in all of your content. As a matter of fact, they also pose security risks when they include malicious links. 

A solution to your spam problem is the popular plugin Akismet. This is typically installed by default on several WordPress sites. With it installed, you can kiss spam goodbye on your site’s front end. Akismet moves all the flagged comments to the spam folder but does not remove them entirely. Still! That’s one less thing to worry about. 

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Optimize your existing images

Another tip for a better WordPress website cleanup. Even after removing irrelevant media from your library, you still have to ensure that the ones that did stay are properly optimized. Otherwise, they would also contribute to slowing down your site. Deleting those unused media files would then be rather pointless.

But won’t this change and lower their quality, you ask? There are plenty of ways to avoid this. For one, WordPress has a built-in function that allows it to compress your images automatically. But if this is not enough, you can simply just add a little code to fix your images.

Another Alternative: The One That Requires Little from You

We understand that keeping your website growing (and converting) is a top priority for you — as it should. But this does not have to mean that your WordPress website cleanup would just be something that you don’t take seriously. Remember that when dirt accumulates, the entirety of your site is also affected immensely.

Now, here is where we come in. With SecurItPress by your side, you can experience a WordPress website cleanup that will leave your brand looking squeaky clean and always at its best. Our services also include malware cleanup, maintenance, hosting, and support, all for an affordable price, whether you are a startup, small, or medium-sized business.

So, leave all these technicalities to us and focus on growing your brand instead…

Nathan Baldwin
Nathan Baldwin

Founder of 465-Media.com and SecurITPress.io, providing business solutions to other WordPress site owners.

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