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Keeping your Nonprofit Website Functional in 2016

By JD Tinney

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As a developer I care that your nonprofit’s website stays functional after you are given access to the site. I want you to be able to update content and make changes, but also keep your website safe while you do it. Keeping your site safe and fast is an easy process, it just takes a little time. There are some major areas of the site you should keep an eye on while maintaining your online presence.

WordPress Updates

Updating is important, but sometimes those 300 plugins you previously installed may not be fully compatible with the changes you’re trying to make. I like to backup the site before a major update to save myself time in case a major issue occurs during the updating process. To avoid any potential compatibility headaches that may come from backing up or updating the various components of your site, I’d recommend allowing your nonprofit’s website developer to take care of it for you.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins cannot save the world, not even your online world. If you find yourself looking for a plugin every time you need something done on your website, please stop! Plugins can be nice and easy to use, but many times they become outdated and can break other aspects of your nonprofit’s website. Sometimes there is no way to avoid using them, which is fine, but when the number of installed plugins surpasses the number of pages on your site, you may have some sort of plugin addiction that could use an intervention. Amassing too many plugins will eventually cause problems with your site, so please avoid going overboard!

Image Size

That picture of your recent fundraising event may be too large, and could slow down your nonprofit’s website. A simple way to decrease page load time is to ensure that you resize any images to a much smaller load-friendly size so WordPress can properly process the data. Most websites do not display any images wider than 1200px, so why are your images over 3000px wide? Always make sure your images are at a reasonable size before uploading them to your site. You may also want to check that your image is saved as the proper file format, to keep file size smaller for site speed. For more information on uploading and editing photo size for WordPress check out this article on Photo Uploading 101.

Theme Editor

One section I tell folks to avoid is the Theme Editor. This area is the quickest way to take down your nonprofit’s website. Even a simple change within the editor could take your site offline. While your site is down you would be locked out of WordPress and unable to undo the damage. The best way to avoid sabotaging your site from the inside is to just ignore this section of your site.

The above are just a few quick tips for keeping your site functional and fast. Don’t be scared to update or add plugins to WordPress, but think about if the site is going to be that much better with a widget that displays the weather. Chances are that your nonprofit website has nothing to do with the current conditions of Pittsburgh. As a general rule of thumb, keep updates simple to avoid overcomplicating things. And, as always, if you have questions feel free to reach out to the Imagebox team for help!