Faraway.co

The Project Brief…

Please outline the Problem you need help with…
Hi there,
This is a small job. I currently have a modest WordPress website for my hobby (outdoor writing and photography.) It needs a revamp, but I can’t justify the expense of professionally building a new site from scratch.
I’m looking for someone who can – backup the existing page, upgrade Envision to the current version, help with better look and feel, and help with SEO.
The page will point buyers to Amazon.com and other online retail so does not require e-commerce.
Can you help? As I said this is a hobby so I’m looking for a cost effective way forward.
Thanks,
Peter Ryan

So, this began as a simple request to update a theme and get site software up to date. Turned out that it was a little bit more awkward than that:

  • The site was still running WP v3.4 but the current version was 5.6.1. The plugins were in similar state.
  • The Envision theme was abandoned by its developer long ago.
  • There was no security implemented, no backup mechanism.
  • The site’s hosting was running PHP 5.4.
  • There were no settings available in the Control Panel to update PHP or amend any settings…
  • And disk space was too tight to run a backup to transfer the contents!

So, another daunting mission – and remedying such situations can be a nightmare.

  • The first step was to search the directory structure for old ZIP files, error_logs and other garbage, recovering 150+ Mb in the process.
  • Then I installed Shortpixel Image Optimisation and run that with Lossy compression. That regained a further 150 Mb of disk space

Luckily, Updraftplus is capable of functioning in almost all PHP versions… Not everything works in 5.4, but with the additional disk space available, it allowed me to create a backup which I then loaded onto my development server.

  • The old Envision theme was replaced with Genesis + Executive Pro.
  • WordPress and all components were updated to latest versions.
  • Security was addressed with a WAF (web application firewall) and brute force login protection.
  • Implementation of WP Rocket Cache further enhanced the Genesis performance.
  • Media Cleaner was used to find and remove unused images
  • The 500 Tags were deleted
  • The “Quick Featured Images” plugin was used to set the first post image as the Featured Image – no posts had a featured image set.

At the end of the process, the site’s performance is excellent.

Core Web Vitals score:

core web vitals - page speed