This is the kick off to our annual January Blog Challenge: 31 Days To Clean Up Your Blog. What better time than January to sit down and review your blog? Over the 31 days we'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to deal with all those pesky maintenance tasks, take steps to grow in the new year and make blogging easier. This is Day 23.
Auditing wordpress plugins is a regular blog maintenance task you should do several times a year.
When was the last time you went through your plug-in repository on your WordPress site? If it's been more than six months it's time to go in and take a look at what's hanging out in there.
WordPress plug-ins are handy dandy tools that help your site be more functional, efficient and secure. And according to the internet there's over 50,000 of them. That's a lot of plugins!
Hopefully, you're not using anywhere near that number. While plugins can do a lot for your site, too many can start to bog your site down and poorly coded ones can cause security and speed issues. Every plug-in on your website should be working hard for you.
Before we go any further we have one very important disclaimer: before you update your WordPress installation, your theme installation, or delete or turn any plugins inactive, make sure you run a full backup of your site - not just a database backup.
What WordPress Plugins Do Food Blogs Need?
This is a question that always gets a lot of debate! But here's a few plugins that we think all sites should have:
- a backup plugin
- a security plugin
- a caching plugin
- a recipe plugin (if you're a recipe site this is critical!)
- an SEO plugin
- an anti-spam plugin
- a social sharing plugin
- an image compression plugin
Your specific wordpress theme may require additional plugins in order to function properly but those should be noted in your theme documentation.
Inactive WordPress Plugins
Go through your plugin directory and see how many are listed as inactive. Do you still need these plugins? Can you remove them safely?
If you're not using a plugin and see no need to use it in the future, it's probably a good idea to remove it. Inactive plugins can present a security risk (mostly because we rarely update inactive plugins!). The files can still be hacked and infected.
There are occasions where you may have 1 or 2 plugins that you use sporadically (usually for cleanup tasks or to execute a specific job on an as needed basis) and then make them inactive until the next time you need them. You can keep those plugins but make sure you are updating the files when new versions are available to keep them as secure as possible.
Active WordPress Plugins You Don't Use
Most of us probably have a few (if not more) plugins in our directory that are active but we don't use them. We may not even know what they're for!
If that's the case, it's time to investigate. If you know you don't need a plug-in, make it inactive for a few weeks - to ensure you don't break anything - and then delete it.
If you're unsure if you need a plugin because you didn't install it, talk to your web developer or whoever installed it for you and find out what its purpose is. If it has no current purpose, make it inactive and then delete.
Most well maintained plugins will be updated fairly regularly both for functionality and for security. It's always a good idea to have your plugins updated to the latest versions - with one exception:
- if WordPress has just launched a core update or a major version update you'll notice that almost all of your plugins will have updates that follow very quickly. Hold off on updating for a few weeks until things settle down and any major bugs in either the wordpress update or the plugins updates have been found and fixed.
It's also a good idea to update plugins one at a time. That way, if anything breaks you'll know which plugin caused the issue and you can fix it quickly with a minimum of stress and panic.
If you update them all plugins at once and something breaks it can take some investigating to determine what happened - and you'll probably be pretty stressed out and a big panicky which can lead to making mistakes and making the situation worse. So... update one at a time when you have some time to sit down and focus.
- Finding The Right WordPress Recipe Plugin For Your WordPress Site
- Backups and Security For Your Website
- Creating An Emergency Blog Binder
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