The holiday season is jam-packed with events, which means your site’s calendar is about to get extra busy. To help you prepare your WordPress site for higher traffic volumes, we’ve pulled together some helpful housekeeping tips.
Holiday Calendar Maintenance Tips
Backup Your Site
Hopefully, you’re already doing this regularly. If not, do it now. The rest of this post can wait. (Really, it’s THAT important.)
In the event something goes wrong over the holidays, a complete backup of your site will help ensure you’re able to get back up & running so you don’t miss out on traffic or sales.
There are a few different options to create a backup database. No matter which you choose, you’ll want to follow the rule of thumb to keep more than one backup, each stored in a different location. This way, if one backup file is compromised, you still have an alternate to use if you need to restore your site.
Make Sure Plugins & Themes Are Up To Date
In addition to updates for WordPress itself, it’s important to keep your plugins and themes up-to-date. Updates provide important security and functionality improvements, so it’s recommended you always run the current version available for your plugins and themes.
There are two ways to keep track of available updates:
- Automatic Update Alerts – Notifies you of available updates within your WordPress dashboard
- Manual Updates – Useful when your server configuration doesn’t allow automatic updates
That said, not all updates are created equal and there is always a chance an update could cause something to go wonky on your site. For this reason, it’s important to test updates on a development or staging site before rolling them out to your live site.
Find & Fix 404 Errors
Users and Google alike are disappointed when they hit broken links on your site. Google and Bing both provide free tools to check your site for errors.
- Google Search Console > Crawl > Crawl Errors
- Bing Webmaster Tools > Reports & Data > Crawl Information
If you’re seeing errors specific to your event listings, we’ve got a handy knowledgebase guide to help you fix HTTP 404 errors. For more detailed instructions on fixing 404 errors, including ways to search for broken images on your site, check out Yoast’s article on website maintenance.
Add/Update Important Information
It’s easy to overlook adding important information to your calendar during the holiday season because we don’t necessarily think of certain things as “events” in the traditional sense.
- Special sale days and promotions
- Upcoming deadlines or shipping cutoffs
- Extended holiday hours, customer service hours, or closures outside the norm
Want to expand your calendar beyond your own events? We’ve made it super easy to import events from other websites with our new Event Aggregator service that supports imports from Facebook, Meetup.com, Google calendars, iCal, ICS, and CSV.
Don’t forget to look ahead beyond the holidays while you’re adding and updating information. Once the holiday season has ended, your visitors will want to see what’s coming next on your calendar.
Prepare for More Traffic
Whether you anticipate more traffic this season or are planning ahead for your 2017 growth goals, now is the time to put scaling measures in place so your calendar can keep pace with your visitors’ demands.
- Clean Up Old Events – From a pure volume perspective, the more events you have, the more resources your site needs to display all of them. That’s why periodic cleanup is important, especially if you have lots of recurring events. With Events Calendar PRO, you should periodically review your recurring events cleanup settings to see if they need any adjustments. (You can find this under Events > Settings > General)
- Improve Performance – Already have loads of events on your site? You can find useful tips for improving performance & load times here.
- Make It Easy – Take advantage of our included filters and views to make it super easy for site visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for on your calendar. For brick & mortar stores, you might want to use the This Week widget to display special holiday shopping hours. Specific views can be embedded into posts and pages using the [tribe_events] shortcode.
Spiff Up Your Calendar
Even if you don’t know code, you can spiff up your calendar with a few easy visual updates.
- Add or Change Colors – You can change the primary colors of your calendar without needing to write CSS with our built-in Color Customizer.
- Add Images to Events – Images add major visual interest to your calendar. Besides displaying on individual event pages, featured images can be added to Month View, and thumbnail images can be added to the upcoming events List Widget.
If you do know CSS, our tutorial for basic font and color changes is also a handy resource.
And Remember, We’re Here to Help
If you run into any questions as you get your events calendar ready for the holidays, hit us up on our support forums. We’ll do our best to try to help you out.