Free time over Christmas? Ideas for improving your website

By | December 17, 2012

This blog post is for those with a bit of free time over Christmas. Personally I have no intention of working over the Christmas period, unless needs must. However I know many people who will spend a bit of time, working on their websites over Christmas, so I am writing this post with those website admins and contributors in mind.

 

Build a better image library

I learnt a long time ago to be better prepared when it comes to my website’s image library. When I need a ‘featured’ image, or just an image to brighten up a blog post, I make sure there is already a selection of images available. Don’t get me wrong, often I will use an image just for one blog post or web page, but I also make sure there is a prepared collection available.

Tips for building your media library:

  • Regularly take photos throughout the year, to build up your own library.
  • Make sure all images are already cropped, uploaded and website optimised.
  • Use a naming convention, such as ‘featured_X’, ‘thumbnail_X’, to make finding images easier.
  • Always keep original images backed up, ready for use in the future.

Also you might want to use some of those images, to help enhance your social network activity. For example you could liven up your Facebook page, by regularly changing your cover photo. You could also promote blog posts on Facebook with the help of images, by uploading an image, and then including an overview of the article, as well as the blog post link in the image description.

 

Automate the backup of your website

Many people ‘wing it’, when it comes to website backups, and rely on manually backing up their website. Personally I think that is a disaster waiting to happen. However with the help of a ‘cron job’ or a backup plugin, you should be able to automate either all or part of a website backup. Even if you just have your website’s database sent to you via email, it is better than nothing.

Tips:

  • Make sure you regularly backup your website database.
  • Don’t forget your ‘media library’ and other files which you might not have multiple copies of.
  • Also it is wise to backup your website theme every time you make a change. Even an ‘off the shelf’ theme is often modified on a per site basis.
  • You do need to have ‘full backups’, just in case your site is hacked or another site-wide issue occurs.
  • Don’t store your backups on the same server which hosts your website!

 

Change contributor privileges

It never ceases to amaze me how much access website contributors are granted, even if they are just submitted website blog posts. A quiet moment is an ideal time to assess the level of website access people have to your website, and adjust if necessary. That way if their access is hacked or they become disgruntled, hopefully the damage that can be caused is reduced. With that in mind you should also make sure your contributors are using unique, and complex passwords, which they securely protect. i.e. don’t have written down in a notepad file, or a password book!

 

Access your website performance

It is easy to lose sight of website performance over a year. A logo is replaced with a large new version, a few new plugin are installed, blog post are uploaded which might not be website optimised, and before you know it, your website’s performance has been hit. There are numerous ways to improve website performance, and a good way to start is to actually find out how quickly your website loads using http://loads.in. If your website is slow, then a good ‘starting’ point is the following:

  • Perform a plugin audit.
  • Assess whether any images used in your website’s theme can be optimised.
  • Setup a website cache if you’ve not already.

Always make sure you perform a ‘full backup’, before making any chances, and never jeopardise the security of your website.

About the guest post author: David is a website expert, and especially enjoys setting up eCommerce websites.