Web site maintenance

During the year I typically add content to this site and waste some time staring at the Google Analytics pages. The Christmas and the summer holidays are my preferred periods to do maintenance work and make sure everything works properly. Here is a list of things I tend to do, in no particular order.

Pay for the domain name and hosting

I usually extend the domain name for multiple years in a row but only pay for one additional year of hosting at a time. Even though I am quite happy with ICDsoft and have been using them for years, my hosting requirements or their service could change in a fairly short time. It is better not to commit for too long!

Clean up the database

Older revisions of pages tend to clutter the database. A plug-in gets rid of those which makes a big difference in the file size of the database.

Do major WordPress or theme upgrades

I upgrade plug-ins fairly regularly and will also do small WordPress updates. The big ones however, such as migrating to WordPress 3.5, are delayed until I am sure that there is sufficient time to fix issues that might pop up.

Check for missing links & clean up redirects

The site contains almost 5000 links so obviously there are typos in some links and linked pages that disappear or move a new URL.

  • To check incoming links I use the 404 logs provided by my hosting company. Sometimes I move stuff around on the site and change URLs but forget to configure page redirection. Those 404’s tell me if I am throwing away incoming traffic.
  • For outgoing links there is a ‘Missing Links’ plug-in that is usually deactivated but that I activate briefly from time to time to check which links no longer work.

The stats for the ‘Redirection’ plug-in tell me which redirects have become obsolete, so that I can delete them.

Have the site checked by some auditing tools

There are multiple services that can do this. In the past I have used:

  • Google webmaster tools – an obvious choice so see if the Googlebot can properly access my content
  • Woorank – they do an excellent free SEO analysis of the site.
  • Additional tools can be found on this page

Download a back-up of the full site

My hosting comes with an option to back up all the data of the site to a ZIP-file and download that file to a local drive. I typically do that a few times per year, to make sure that a sudden disappearance of my hosting company (CIA intervention, major earth quake, malicious sys admin,…) does not make me lose stuff that is not stored locally, such as all the comments from visitors. I’ve never tried a restore of these data, so who knows if this back-up is actually of any use.

Update the copyright message and long term links

At the beginning of a new year the copyright message needs to get updated as well as any links pointing to information from last year. The site has such links for pointing to previous polls and previously published articles.