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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your WordPress Site

Imagine a WordPress site. The front-end is perfectly fine, beautiful even. But you login and find a nightmare.

The orange “update” circles are everywhere. Half the plugins are deactivated. Some of them appear to be doing the same thing. And in the themes section? 30 different selections, none of them used.

And oh dear, the content. Post revisions, empty drafts, categories that never get posted to, tags that never get used, pages that were never published. The content section is a graveyard of abandoned ideas, and frankly it’s demotivating.

How can anyone possibly get anything done in that environment?!

The Fear of De-Cluttering Your Website

Fear of cleaning up a website comes from one simple question: “What if it breaks?”

Can your site function without these themes installed?

Can it function if you get rid of these plugins?  What if updating a plugin breaks the site?

Will your content still be published if you get rid of the revisions?

These are valid fears. Technology can be fickle when it wants to be. However, we live in a world in which you have a wonderful solution: website staging!

Website Staging Will Remove That Fear for You

Scary things happen on live sites all the time, so it’s only natural to be nervous about clicking several “update” buttons at once and watching things fall apart. Thankfully, we live in a world in which we have the freedom to press buttons the same way we would on our real site. With website staging.

When you setup a staging website, you create an exact copy of your website that you can change to your heart’s content. You won’t disturb anything on your live site. You can update and delete and test until you’re 100% ready to push your new, clean site.

Without all those notifications, you can focus on adding content, or SEO, or letting your developer do whatever they need to do without worrying if everything is up to date. And you get the confidence for pushing the buttons the next time. (Of course you can always keep creating staging sites to eliminate future fears, too).

So while you’re on that cleaning spree, make sure to include your website!

Here’s a Rough Order of Website Maintenance Tasks

  1. Delete all inactive plugins.
  2. Delete all inactive themes. (watch out for child themes!)
  3. Delete all but the most recent 10 backups.
  4. Delete all post drafts.
  5. Delete all page drafts.
  6. Delete all spam comments.
  7. Delete all unused tags.
  8. Delete all unused categories.
  9. Delete all unused media files.
  10. Delete all test and/or inactive users.
  11. Update all active plugins.
  12. Update the active theme (and child theme, if applicable).
  13. Update WordPress.
  14. Enjoy your funky fresh website!