Content Management Tips for Healthy Websites
Content is the lifeblood of your website – from the images that inspire your visitors to the words that show the value of what you offer. Just like you can keep your body healthy by exercising and paying attention to what you eat, you can keep your website healthy by feeding it a steady diet of quality content.
Follow these best practices for content management to keep your website looking as good and running as smoothly as it did on launch day.
Websites are not static
When Roger That launches a site we've built, it is operating at peak performance. We know, because we test it as part of our quality assurance process – and never hand off a website that’s scoring low on performance metrics.
But websites aren’t static. They are meant to grow over time with new content to support your mission and growth goals.
Maybe you have a blog where you publish thought leadership content to demonstrate your expertise. Maybe you add a page when you launch a new service or product. Whatever the case, it’s important to have team members who are comfortable with content management best practices.
That’s why Roger That provides our website clients with tutorials on how to add new content to their website, including best practices for content management. Most clients also sign on for a WordPress Care Plan, in which we audit their site regularly for performance issues.
Content has a direct impact on performance
We often find that when a website is acting sluggish, it’s because of unnecessarily large media files – mainly images and videos. Excessive plugins are another common culprit.
Best practices for website images
Generally, you want the images on your website to be as small as they can be without sacrificing quality. We’re talking file size here, not dimensions. Dimensions depend on your site’s design and aren’t really in your control when you’re adding content to your site using the templates and blocks we pre-built for you.
Roger That content manager Matt Brown offers these pointers for resizing images for your website:
1. The smaller, the better
Most images on your site, like those on blog posts or service pages, can be 100-200 KB. Definitely no larger than 1 MB.
2. Use the right file format for the job
Different file formats are intended for different types of images. Using the right format can help get the file size as small as possible without sacrificing quality.
- PNG: Best for graphics with just a few colors and not a lot of gradations of color. This is a must if your image needs a transparent background.
- JPG: Best for photos, or other images with lots of gradations of color.
- SVG: Best for vector graphics (images made entirely of lines). SVGs can be resized infinitely without affecting quality, so they’re often the choice for logos. SVGs can also be animated, so they’re often used for moving elements of your site.
Note: Most of the time, JPG or PNG is the right choice. Your website design may contain SVGs, but you’re unlikely to need them in your everyday content management needs.
3. Adjust your export settings
Whatever tool you use for photo editing, the export tool should give you the option to choose the file type and the quality, with an estimate of the resulting file size.
- Matt generally goes for a quality rating of 5 or 6 on a scale of 7.
- If you use Photoshop (Matt’s tool of choice), it also lets you preview the image so you can make sure it still looks crisp.
- If your photo editing tool doesn’t preview the image or file size, don’t be afraid of a little trial and error.
4. Compression is your friend
Best practices for videos
Videos are always very large files, so it’s best to host them elsewhere so they don’t slow down your website’s load times. Upload your video to a third-party video hosting service, then embed it on your site from there.
When it comes to choosing a video hosting service, here are a few we recommend:
Note: Vimeo is the only one that you can use for free, with certain limitations. The rest of these are paid services. We generally don’t recommend YouTube for the purpose of embedding videos on your website, because its user interface doesn’t look professional – and it automatically adds suggested content that you can’t curate yourself.
Wherever your videos are hosted, check the privacy settings to make sure they are public or unlisted. If your videos are private, they won’t be visible on your website.
Best practices for media library management
In WordPress, like most website content management systems, the media library is where all the media files you upload to your website are stored. A tidy media library saves space, helps your website run more smoothly, and makes your work easier when you add or edit content.
1. Avoid duplicates
Once a file is in your media library, it can be used in many places on your site without taking up extra space. When you're adding a media file, search the media library first to see if it has already been uploaded.
2. Choose descriptive file names
When you upload a file to the media library, give it a name that includes keywords describing what it is. That will make it easier to find later when you search, and help you follow tip #1.
3. Use unique file names
Avoid reusing the same file name for multiple files or when you're replacing a file with a newer version. Reusing a file name can confuse your website cache and result in the old image continuing to show up for a while. Add a version number or date to easily make file names unique.
Best practices for plugins
This one’s pretty straightforward. For the sake of security and performance, we recommend installing as few plugins on your WordPress site as you can get away with.
If you’re thinking about installing a new plugin, run it by your developer first. They may know of a native WordPress functionality to accomplish what you need, or they can offer a recommendation for the best, most reliable plugin.
Updating your website content should be easy
This may seem like a lot to think about, but most of these best practices become second nature after you’ve published a few posts or pages. When you’re working with a well-built site, it gets easier with practice!
If it doesn’t get easier with practice, or weird stuff happens even when you follow these best practices, there may be an underlying issue. Roger That clients can always reach out to us and we will help you get to the bottom of it.
If Roger That didn’t build your site (or if you can’t remember who did), it may be time for an update. So, let’s talk about how a refreshed brand and website can help your business grow!