WordPress Website Assessment Details
Below is a list of things your website assessment will include. Click on any question to read the details.
Does your website load quickly?
If waiting too long for a website to load, readers may decide it’s not worth the time. Many things affect how long it takes a website to load, some of which are easy to fix, while others are more complicated. But there are some basic rules every website should follow to help it load as quickly as possible.
Does your website look good and function well on a phone? (Is it “responsive”?)
Because more than half of all users view websites on phones or tablets, it is important to realize that your website appears differently on a mobile device than on a desktop computer.
The biggest difference is that a desktop computer can display multiple columns of content, whereas a mobile device can usually only display a single column. Therfore, things that appear side-by-side on a computer will appear “stacked” on a mobile device. As a result, a page on a mobile device may grow very long, requiring the user to scroll too much.
For more information, see my blog article Responsiveness.
Is your website optimized to be found by search engines (SEO for Google, Yahoo, etc.)?
As a website owner, you are probably concerned with being easily found through a search engine.
Search engines pay attention to the actual content on your website. Therefore your content needs to be clearly presented so that search engines can recognize headlines, content, authors, images, and so on.
For more information, see my blog article How does Google search and rank your website?.
Is your website secure and correctly configured against bad actors, spam and malicious code?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are bad actors who seek to take advantage of any vulnerabilities they discover on the internet, whether for personal gain or to be annoying. Although there is no perfect way to protect a website, there are tools that can be used to protect your website from harm, and to ensure that it is not being used to harm others.
For more information, see my blog post, Hacked! Spammed! Spoofed!
Is your website listed as secure or not secure? Does it have an SSL certificate installed?
In the menu bar of some websites, you will see an icon of a lock, which indicates that the site is secure. On others, you may see a warning in your browser that the website is not secure.
These messages are controlled by whether you have an SSL certificate installed and configured properly for your website. An SSL certificate is a verification by an outside agency that your website is what it says it is, and that any information transmitted between your website and a user is encrypted. This encryption is critical if you’re taking personal information on your website, but it has become important for all websites. For example, Google will decrease your rankings if it establishes your site is not secure.
Does your website use the latest version of software?
All the software on your website needs to be regularly updated to the most recent versions, because it is frequently revised for speed and security.
There are four types of software that control your website:
- WordPress is the software that runs your website.
- PHP is the software on your web host server that runs WordPress.
- Plugins work in conjunction with WordPress to enhance its features.
- A WordPress theme controls how the website looks and functions.
Care needs to be taken when updating software, to ensure the new versions of the software are compatible. One good practice is to make sure your website is backed up before making any updates.
Is your website being backed up regularly?
One way to protect your website is to make sure it is being backed up automatically, regularly, and safely. This will help if your website breaks as a result of software that is not compatible or if someone hacks your site.
Does your website work well in different browsers and on different platforms?
Websites may appear differently in different browsers. Among other things, layout, colors and fonts can vary. Even within a particular browser, such as Explorer, things may display differently in older and newer versions.
It’s not possible to make a website identical in all browsers. The best solution is to have a website that works reasonably well in all the latest versions of all the major browsers. For older browsers, the website should still be readable and functional, even if the design doesn’t look the same.
Does your website contain broken links?
One sign that you’re not keeping your website up-to-date is whether you have links to pages that no longer exist (whether on your own site or on external websites). Users don’t appreciate clicking on a link in your website that leads nowhere, or worse, somewhere inappropriate.
Is your website bloated with unused or outdated pages, images, plugins and themes?
The more you change your website, the more you will end up with unused items that are taking up memory and slowing down your site. WordPress keeps revisions of all your posts and pages in its database. So even if you delete something, there may still be remnants of it in the WordPress database.
Some websites have multiple themes installed, only one of which can be active at a given time (or two, if one is a child theme of another). Similarly, there may be plugins installed but not active. All of these contribute to unnecessary bloat.
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