Virtual spring cleaning for your Joomla sites

Websites take maintenance, and making a habit of performing a little spring cleaning each year can keep a business website running smoothly. The tips below does not apply for Joomla sites alone, any site can benefit from most of these tricks and tips.

Here is a list of things that should be addressed before going to a well deserved vacation.

Check your domain name expiration dates

Be sure your domain name is registered for at least three to five years, and that a valid credit card and email address is on file for the administrator.

Perform a site backup

Backup all site files and databases. It is common for automatic backups or those performed by the Web host to be saved on the same server as the site. Make it a point to copy the backup files to a local computer or remote server. Set up Akeeba Backup to use the Lazy Backup plugin to do automated backups, and be sure to store these backups elsewhere. Akeeba backups can help you here too, even the free core edition lets you send the backups via mail to an external account.

Change all passwords

Change passwords for the hosting account, all FTP users, CPANELs, user logins, and any other accounts related to the site. When updating, be sure to choose a secure, complex password.

Refresh site content

Read the site like a book and make sure that the information still applies to your business and is current and accurate. Review phone numbers, addresses, and product or service descriptions. Even the copyright date in the footer should be updated to make the site feel current.

Add some new content - searchengines are preferring the sites recently updated over the outdated, rarely refreshed ones.

Update your Joomla to the latest available

If you use Joomla 1.6+ it is only a few clicks away to have the latest Joomla core, and the latest version of your key components. Don't hesitate to do it! If you have earlier versions of Joomla (1.0 or 1.5) consider migrating your site to the latest (2.5 as I wrote this). And despite the fact that this is not an easy or cheap thing don't delay it too much! Latest you came back to work after your vacation, you should do it. Until then, upgrade everything to the latest available version - that's generally is also a quickie. Generally make sure that all themes and plug-ins are up to date and that all software used is the latest version. Updates often contain security patches, which can reduce the odds of getting hacked.

Check site load times

Many search engines, such as Google, favor sites that load quickly. There are a number of speed checking tools on the Web that will measure site performance and provide suggestions for improvement.

Run a security check

Several tools are available that can analyze the site and look for vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit. Running the check is easy, but resolving any issues found may require the work of a professional.

Check cross-browser support

It is likely that many new browsers have been released since the site was launched. Some features may not work properly in all browsers, and it is much better that you find these errors before your clients point them out.

It is also a good idea to view the site on a few different mobile devices to see how the site looks on smartphones and tablets. These are popping out at a fast pace and more and more people are using them to browse the web. And your page should look great and work as expected on those devices as well.

Update meta information

Meta tags are read by search engines; they are what users see in search results. The primary meta tags include title, keywords, and description of the site. Keeping these relevant and current may assist in your search engine optimization.

Review analytics

Reviewing site traffic information from the last 12 months and comparing with the previous 12 months can provide a good indication of the site’s effectiveness and can provide clues regarding which pages are performing well and which pages need improvement.