Spring Cleaning

Springtime finds me eager to clean all the things and make them fresh and new. It can be overwhelming, so I like to spread this out throughout the season. I follow a three-step process – Review, Refresh, Plan. This post explores applying these steps to a website.

Depending on your site, you will have different specific tasks for your spring cleaning. This post assumes you are using self-hosted WordPress. If you use another service, such as Shopify, I hope you’ll find some tips useful.

Step one – Review

While I advocate keeping a website updated regularly, I understand it doesn’t always happen. There’s hesitation to make changes during the holiday season, then the new year starts off with new resolutions and software updates don’t always make that list.

  1. Is your software current? This is a two-step process – check both your webhost and your WordPress dashboard. Is your PHP version current? Are all your WordPress plugins and themes updated? Are there any you no longer require that can be deactivated and deleted? What other housekeeping does your site need?
  2. Do you have access to your backups? Have you ever practiced restoring? Think through what you would do if you suddenly needed to recreate your site. Where are web-ready images (or the originals) and copies of your content? If you sell digital/knowledge content such as courses or PDFs, do you know where those files are?

Step two – Refresh

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at this stage. Set a timer for five minutes and see what you can do. That’s it, step three will cover the rest.

  1. Is your content fresh and relevant? Skim your site from a user’s perspective. Is the first thing a visitor sees an invitation to a Holiday Market that was last December? If you don’t have anything active scheduled, write a quick note thanking support over the holidays and maybe provide a hint toward something you’re working on.
  2. Don’t forget your social media profiles. If you’re not actively posting – add a note to your profile or pin “other ways to contact me”.

Step three – Plan

This is my favourite part. Set a timer for longer and delve deeper into your site. Are there changes you want to make? This is both sides of the website equations – how you feel and interact with your site and how your site visitors experience it.

  1. Are there any workflow issues you need to address before next holiday season? Do you need to add or edit content to reduce friction to sales or service?
  2. If it’s a quiet time for your business, it might be a good idea to plan bigger changes now, such as changing mailing list providers or switching webhosts.

Spend some time – away from distractions – and map out your vision. Then look for the starting steps to make that a reality.  

Spring crocus

I hope these three steps assist you in spring cleaning your site. If you need help – talking through if your plans are feasible, figuring out the technical details, or delegating the work –  please don’t hesitate to contact me and we can work together.

Note: This is a 2022 update of a post initially published in 2015.