clean up wordpress website

It’s great to have a website built with WordPress a leading CMS framework. According to a report it’s powering more than 17 million websites across the internet! But do you know that WordPress websites get bulky and junky in a long run?

How about removing those extra junk out of your WordPress website? It will help you manage it better, the backups will be easy, small and faster, help you improve the security and in many cases, it will help you boost your website loading speed.

Before starting any cleaning process I highly recommend  you to setup your site with Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Why? It will be covered in later part of the article. If you just setup these tools, wait at least for a month before cleaning your website.

Find unneeded pages

If you are operating your website for years, chances are you may have some pages that no longer required or contains old or dated information those are no longer relevant to your business. You need to find those pages.

How to know which pages to remove? Consider a case that you own a mobile phone repairing shop. You have a website page were offering mobile keypad services for a variety of devices.

Keypad based mobiles are kind of history now, the market has shifted to touchscreen based mobiles and so does your service offerings. Meaning that keypad services page is pretty useless now.

If you are not sure whether to delete or not a certain page then it’s always a good idea to check the traffic and engagement for that page on Google analytics.

If you see little to no activity on that page, it’s safe to delete that page. Additionally, you can check the impression and CTR ratio on Google Webmaster Tools for that page. If there is no to very few impression you can delete the page.

Find unneeded posts

Same as the page, you may have written a blog post about latest technology in couple of month/year back. That technology would be in demand or latest at the time you wrote it but chances are that technology may be obsoleted now.

There might be little to no interest or momentum in the market for that technology now. In this case you can delete the post.

How to know which posts to remove? The latest technology posts you wrote few years back and those technologies are no longer in use they would be eligible for deletion. How to guide you may have written couple of months back may not fit well with current technology/tools/methods they are eligible for deletion.

If you want to scan through each post, it would be best you start surfing from the first post you published to the latest blog post. You better prepare a list of unwanted or outdated blog posts that you think eligible for deletion.

Check those blogs for traffic and impression statistics from Google Analytics and Webmaster respectively.

Please use 301 (permanent) redirect when possible while deleting a blog post. It’s always better to serve your visitor with similar interesting content than showing not found page.

It also has some SEO advantage underlying as you are telling search engines that the old item has been deleted and when someone ask for the old item please send them to this new item. A little of rank juice would be transferred from old post to new post.

Repurpose blogs

It’s always a good idea to repurpose a blog post than to delete it. If you see an old blog post that you repurpose by editing on existing content and adding some new relative content, please do it.

A repurposed blog would rank higher than the newly post blogs as the old blog post already indexed by search engines and have gained a little more authority than a new blog.

Delete unwanted plugins

We all have installed a plugin just to achieve certain goal for just a page. And there are bright chances that we no longer need that functionality. In that case we forgot to delete that plugin! No worries let’s do this now.

First and foremost check all the inactive plugins. In most cases you may not use them again, then how if we remove them and make your website a bit cluttered free?

After removing inactive plugins it’s time to track plugins that you don’t use regularly basis but they are in active state.

There some set of plugins that your previous theme required. You may have installed those plugins but you now shifted to the new theme. There is no need to keep those plugin if you don’t use them.

Not sure which active plugin is eligible for deletion? Try deactivating it and try loading interacting with your website. If things are working smooth and perfect, you can safely delete that plugin.

Delete unwanted themes

Now this one is easier, delete a theme you no longer need. Simple isn’t it? In a long run you may have installed and shifted to many themes.

But for sure you no longer need the previous themes. Not at least those that you installed and used few years back.

Additionally I have observed a habit of WordPress website owners downloading themes for testing and forget to delete them when they no longer need them.

In such testing cases it’s always better you setup a local developer server and try out everything you wish there on locally hosted website.

So the downline is remove all unneeded themes.

Delete old post revisions

WordPress is good at keeping version of your page and post. Do you know when you hit Save while drafting your page or post it creates a distinct version for that page/post?

You can actually rollback your page/post to any saved version you want. Great feature if anyone ever messed your page/post you have easy way to recover to previous state.

But the feature comes at the cost of database and technically speaking larger the database slight longer it takes to find matching data. How if we optimize your database by removing some unneeded versions from database. You may not need the version 1 of a post where you have already done 105 revisions.

install wp optimizer plugin

Install wp-optimizer plugin first. Now open your WordPress admin area and click wp-optimizer from the navigation menu.

Go to Settings tab and check the Keep last 2 weeks data and hit Save Settings button. Now come to the Optimizer main tab and hit the Process button as shown on the image above.

Delete comments

install akismet plugin

Spammers approaching websites all around the internet, your WordPress website is no exception. It’s a better to sign up for a free Akismet plugin and activate on your WordPress website.

What it does is it recognize the spammy comments placed on your blogs and based on your preference it either deletes them directly or sent them to spam folder.

What I would suggest is you opt for this plugin. Regularly moderate the comments on your website. Accept them if they are legit and delete them if they are not inline with your content. You can delete all the spam comments identified by Akismet under spam category.

This will help you optimize website as you are deleting things you no longer required. You will have clear, optimized and relatively smaller database.

Conclusion

WordPress is indeed a good platform to build and manage website. Like any other website you may need to clear it time by time to make it clutter free and optimized. Following the ways discussed in the article you will definitely help you clear unwanted items from your website, optimize your database and revisiting blog/pages will help you get some SEO benefits.

darshanBeing a founder of a web application development company, Darshan is passionate about the web and WordPress development. You may find him sharing WordPress related articles frequently. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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