Our Monthly WordPress HealthCheck: What does it all mean?
Posted by Kelly Newcomb on December 19, 2019
As a client on one of our support plans, you will have noticed our new 28-point WordPress Healthcheck. The checklist is being sent to you alongside your monthly support plan update to help you keep in the loop about your remaining support hours and your website’s overall health.
Why have we introduced this?
The checklist helps you to get the most out of choosing Plume as your web partner. Beyond keeping your website up and running, we know it’s essential that your website’s performance is up to scratch. Think of it as a health check for your website.
What is on the ‘healthcheck’?
Once a month we’ll send you an update of your website’s performance along with any notes from our developers, often presented as a score (pass, fair, fail). We assess your website in a number of areas from the visibility of your site in search engines, to the deliverability of your contact forms… we even measure the CO2 emissions emitted from loading your homepage.
You’ll notice that we track CO2 emissions but did you know if you host your website with us, we can guarantee that our servers are being powered by sustainable energy?
Why does it matter?
The health check identifies any website vulnerabilities. Without this in place, sites are more vulnerable to hacks that can cause damage to the site and expose personal data. Not only are hacks expensive to route out, but they’re potentially devastating for your business.
Issues like bugs, slow page speeds and poor search visibility can reduce the effectiveness of your website as a marketing tool. Leaving these issues unaddressed results in less website traffic and fewer sales and it can take time to work your way back up the ranks.
What do I need to do?
If we spot something we can quickly fix, our developers will complete the work there and then and immediately move the check from “fail” to “pass”. For tasks that require more work, we’ll ask you to approve the proposed work needed to fix it. We will usually give you an estimation of how long this will take so you can cross-check it with the remaining hours in your support plan.
We’ll create cards in Teamwork for each of the issues so you can review them and track their progress should you want to go ahead with the work.
What happens if I do nothing?
The healthcheck is there for your benefit. We’re happy to discuss the impact these things have on your website but ultimately what you choose to prioritise is your call. If you’d prefer to save your hours or don’t wish to purchase more hours to do the work then, you may choose to ask us to stop running our monthly checks.
Be aware that leaving these issues unaddressed can make them more difficult to resolve later down the line as new updates and versions are released for various products.
What do we check (and why)?
Updates are essential for all of the reasons detailed above. If there’s an issue with updating or something break then we can look into this and get it resolved.
Contact forms and emails
Contact form issues can arise because of bugs and compatibility issues between two seemingly unrelated plugins. We test these to make sure they’re working as intended and can investigate any abnormalities – reducing the chance of lost enquiries.
Malware can infect your website just as it can your computer or mobile device. When your website is compromised, it’s essential that it’s fixed immediately otherwise you risk having your customer’s private information stolen (think emails and passwords, any saved bank card details etc). With our regular updates, the chance of infection is very low. We still check for malware (both constant real-time checks and monthly deep-scans) and can react accordingly to thwart attacks.
Unused themes and plugins
Plugins can provide you with all the functionality you need, however, when they no longer serve a purpose it’s advisable to remove them, along with any themes not in use on your website.
Broken links are a big no-no for search visibility and usability. Often webpages move around, the URL might change or the website you’re linking to may no longer be live. Either way, these links need to be identified and fixed by reconnecting them or removing them altogether.
Page speed tests
We test your main pages and give them a Google Page Speed score for both desktop and mobile. You want to aim for a score of 80+ but this can be difficult to achieve depending on how and when your website was built. Higher scores generally result in higher rankings in search engines.
The bug check is two-fold; one for visual bugs, another for functionality. Bugs can occasionally be introduced with new software updates from theme and plugin vendors, but usually can be easily fixed during our checks.
Each device and browser is different, and how a website is displayed on an iPhone running Safari is different from a desktop running Chrome. We run site checks in all major desktop and mobile browsers to ensure a smooth experience for all of your users, regardless of their browser choice.
High-quality images might sound like the best option, but images are often uploaded in resolutions higher than our screens can handle. Image compression reduces the size of the image without compromising on the visual quality when displayed on a screen.
Search engine optimisation is key to website visibility. We run a check across a variety of factors and give you a score. Ideally, you want to be aiming for a score of 80+ and this can be done through an effective SEO strategy. This test is automated and the score is estimated – take with a pinch of salt.
Spam comments contribute nothing to your other users and can often include links to viruses or viagra. We ensure your spam filters are working effectively and remove any that slip through the net.
Users and admins
We check for users and admins that aren’t active on your website. Dormant account holders bulk up the website and can pose a potential security risk should their account be comprised. The best option here is to remove inactive account holders.
As part of our commitment to being a sustainable, no-paper business we ensure that our websites are hosted on servers powered by sustainable energy. We also give you insight into the CO2 emissions released when your website loads so that you can stay committed to your own energy usage goals.
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