A heavy, clumsy, error-generating site is not uncommon, but this is a prevalent problem with many website owners. Why does this happen? The answer is straightforward, and it consists of the fact that few people think about the technical diagnose of a WordPress website at the stage of its creation.
Everyone dreams of creating a modern and beautiful design. And when you launch your website, you realize that your website is cumbersome, and you end up to ground zero. To create a perfect website, it must be technically optimized, and with a beautiful design. But how can you achieve this? Excellent design and technically optimized.
So today, I?ll share my personal experience and a step by step guide on how you can achieve both at the same time. The first stage is ?tips on how to start developing a site,? what you should know and what to look for, and the second is ?steps to improve the site?s condition and diagnose its condition,? or more precisely how to do the technical analysis of your website.
First Stage of Technical Diagnose of a WordPress Website: Start Developing Niche-Specific Websites
At the first stage of development, it should be understood that the market for website development is not much different fundamentally from the market in any other sphere of the economy. If you want to buy a car, for example, for business, you have a lot of options, such as taking a used one, buying a fragile brand but cheaper, buying a used one, but a brand of the first tier of manufacturers. But these are cars, and this is an example. But for the website, the question is at the core as well, but with other solutions.
We will touch on the aspect of developing our site.
And the first thing to understand:
Design that creates the perfect look of your website is easy to achieve, but you can?t add functionality and quality if you didn?t study the premium level of solutions for themes and plugins.
What does it mean?
This means that focusing on what to do with your website, you should, first of all, choose solutions where you are 100% sure of. You have to pay about $60 but get a quality solution that will save you in the future $600 for solving small problems, so don?t hesitate in spending those $60. I have seen people using nulled plugins, which now or later will insert malicious code to your website. I understand that for a beginner it is really tough to manage these initial expenses, for those people I will be sharing all clean plugins and themes that are under GPL license. You can subscribe to your Facebook messenger for those updates. Let?s move back to the main topic.
To keep this simple, I?ve made a comparative table of the quality of solutions that you should use:
Quality is 50-100% of the possible- Themeforest. Prefer buying plugins and themes from recommended sources. You can simply browse through the section at ThemeForest and read the reviews of a product before purchasing it. Dig around, you can find many reliable options. You can also go through our review section of Themes and Plugins and find the best fit for yourself.
Quality is 20-60% of the potential ? TemplateMonster, which is also an electronic goods exchange for themes and plugins. If you want quality, look for a solution in the first turn on Themeforest.
The repository on the WordPress website itself is usually for training. At the same time, I haven?t seen great products there; this is precise because there are a lot of decent solutions in the plugins section. But many solutions are not supported or outdated.
Second Stage of Technical Diagnose of a WordPress Website:
Step 1: Backup Your Files (files + database)
You can end up crashing your website anytime soon. This is the worst dream that any website owner can have. Backing up your website is an essential part of your business journey. Every owner wants a modern design for his website, so you are bound to make changes to your WordPress website. If somehow you end up breaking your website, you can simply restore it with the backup.
I love experimenting with my website, thus I end up breaking my websites very often. ManageWP allows me to create daily backups for as low as $2/mo.
Step 2: Using a Good Hosting
Choosing a good hosting is one of the most important aspects of your website?s journey. I would suggest using a hosting that allows staging. Staging allows you the make front-end changes even without disrupting the front-end.
I personally use Site Ground. The SiteGround Staging tool allows you to manage different development copies of your WordPress website. The front-end of your website will remain intact while you will be able to make the changes at the backend. Thus you can openly experiment with your website.
Step 3: Keep Your Website Healthy
There are several technical aspects when it comes to health of a website. This can be tracked by using several plugins. I would personally recommend using WP Heath By Frank Corso. This plugin provides valuable information when evaluating your website. I would highly suggest this plugin if you are getting your website developed from someone.
The WP Health plugin will provide you with information such as the PHP version of your server (I would suggest using the latest version of your PHP. Though you might face some issues with a few plugins that have not been updated.), the database version, WordPress updates, Plugins updates and supports, theme updates, working SSL and spam comment check.
The Debug Information tab of the plugin will provide you with all the information about your server settings, website settings, plugins, themes and other information that is very useful when trying to diagnose problems, and you can copy this information and provide it to the plugin / support if You need to contact them about the problems you experience with their product.
The Troubleshooting tab ( this is a gamer ) where this plugin really shines. With its troubleshoot mode you can disable all plugins and switch to the standard WordPress theme. Troubleshoot mode works only for your account and not any other user. So your site will be accessible on the front-end. Now you are free to check which plugin is interfering with your website by re-enabling them one by one. You can get the pro version and get with some major additional features like the central dashboard, broken links monitoring, uptime monitoring, blacklisting, page speed monitoring, and many other features.
Step 4: Monitor Your DB Queries
There are 1000s of queries running on your website database. There might be some junk queries that will be slowing down your website. In order to track such queries, you can use the Query Monitor Plugin. It will help you track down all the queries resulting in slow website speed. Not you can filter down your list and remove the junk queries and speed up your website.
With Query Monitor, you can also keep the track of which theme hooks and templates are used on a given page. With this, you can get a clear picture of how your website is compiled at the backend and thereby fixing problems that need to be fixed.
You can also see all PHP errors and their origin so that you can find the cause of the problem.
This is not the only plugin to monitor your queries. But I would advise you to get acquainted with anyone of them and get used to it. This will help you save a lot of time and frustration in finding and fixing errors.
Query Monitor is a free plugin that you can get it from here.
Step 5: Keep an Eye on your Plugins
I am sure you must be using a number of plugins to enhance the technicalities of your website. On my business website, I have around 21 plugins that are necessary for me. As the title says- keep an eye on your plugins, it simply means keeping a track record of what plugins you are using, are they necessary, are they from trusted developers, are they nulled, and many other similar questions. Avoid using any extra plugins, if they are inactive; delete them immediately.
It is important to keep the updated versions of all your plugins. As mentioned previously, you can do this by using the free features of ManageWP.
If the plugin is not updated, this is a big red flag and you should start looking for other plugins to replace it, which are supported and regularly updated. If the plugin is not supplied from WordPress.org, check if it has the latest version number or changelog so that you can find out if the version installed on your site is the latest version and is still actively developed and maintained.
Step 6: Audit your Installed Themes
I work as a website designer and therefore I have worked on a number of WordPress themes. The major issue with WordPress themes is that they are not updated regularly. If they are not being updated, this simply means that codes might not work with our version of WordPress and many other plugins. Thus creating a number on inconsistencies on your WordPress website. Here are some of the themes I personally like and are of the finest themes I have worked on- Astra, Genesis, GeneratePress, OceanWP, and many others. I am recommending these themes are they are the ones you can rely upon. They are bugs free, they are updated on a regular basis, they are user-friendly, they are speed optimized.
If the theme does not have a child theme, you must create it and indicate where changes were made to the parent theme, and move these changes to the child theme. Then update the parent theme.
Step 7: Monitoring Overall Vulnerabilities
It is important to check for vulnerabilities, malware, and user activity. This can be achieved with a number of plugins, I personally use iThemes Security Pro. The free version is limited to a number of features thus restricting you to access the user activity log. You can use other alternatives plugins like WP Security Audit Journal. These plugins will keep a history of all changes made on your site, as well as register the username and IP address of the person who made the changes. This way you can track how changes have occurred if you are not sure. You can also use the free version of Sucuri as an important measure of your website?s security.
Summing Up: be safe!
All of the steps mentioned above are based on my personal experience in this field for over 7 years. I would say diagnosing, evaluating fixes, and managing a WordPress website is a crucial part of a website?s journey. We all learn differently, and most of us learn from our experiences. I am sure each and every one of you has at least one bad experience when handling your websites. We fail, we learn! I hope that these steps will help you learn from my mistakes and consider this as an eye-opener.
So finally, here is a quick summary of this post.
- Be safe. Avoid using nulled plugins and themes. This is just the beginning of WPDig, I will be sharing a number of GPL licensed plugins and themes for you to get it for free.
- Always keep backups of your website, use tools like ManageWP to manage a number of your websites from a single dashboard.
- A thorough website assessment is necessary from time to time. Determining the cause of the problem is crucial. If you cannot find the cause you might end up with lengthy trials and errors.
Follow all the steps mentioned above and keep your website healthy. If you follow once these steps properly, you will never face issues with your other websites. Feel free to comment on your problems below. I will try to resolve your issues. Good Luck!