WordPress refers to the content Management system on which websites are created and maintained. WordPress offers great backend features that enable your website to run and function properly. Thus, many things happen in the background that is likely to slow down your website and increase its load time leading. WordPress optimization is vital because it ensures this tool functions at its optimal at all times.
What is WordPress optimization?
Understanding what is WordPress optimization and what your site has to gain from it is important. It ensures you know what to look for and where to focus your energy. WordPress optimization refers to the process of customizing a WordPress site to enhance its performance and produce better speed. An optimized website is a make or break for every site working to attract more visitors.
In the current time we live in, the last thing people want is a site that takes too long to load as this not only discourages them from using your site but negatively affects your conversion numbers leading to low sales. Thus, it is essential to know how to optimise a wordpress site to ensure that it retains traffic. This factor also helps it get high rankings by Google to ensure accessibility to the relevant audience.
WordPress performance optimization and WordPress SEO optimization play a vital role in ranking a site and in increasing the total sales made. Thus, it is one of those areas that should be well thought out and properly invested in.
How do I optimize my WordPress site?
Some of the strategies that are essential to WordPress performance optimization and informs the process of how to optimise a WordPress website include;
Choose an excellent hosting plan
A web host is one of the most vital things to consider when analyzing how to optimize wordpress sites. This is because a site can never be faster than the server that hosts it. So, no matter how much effort you make in optimizing your WordPress website, your efforts are in vain if your hosting plan is limiting or inadequate. An excellent host is not cheap, but the one that provides value for money. Most people opt for shared hosting because it is economical, but its long load time makes it inefficient for business.
Thus, optimizing managed WordPress hosting goes a long way in ensuring your WordPress functionality is perfect to handle your traffic and have excellent speed. You should also pick a hosting plan that meets your needs. It is better to spend more on an excellent host plan as it ensures your WordPress is fully optimized and creates an opportunity for you to work with experts. These individuals help in making your website journey easy, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business to help it grow. The image below shows a few hosting options WordPress offers:
(Image Credit: WeDevs)
Opt for a fast WordPress theme
Properly coded and lightweight WordPress themes play an important role in WordPress SEO optimization. Select a WordPress theme that needs you to make a few additions to it to ensure you do not overload it with too many code lines that make it slow. Most WordPress themes are built to support efficient performance; however, most people ruin their speed by adding their own unique features that make the sites take forever to load.
Choose WordPress sites that do not offer too much room for tweaking as it may be easy for you to make the changes. This factor ensures that the servers do not find it hard to run through reading and sending information which inhibits its performance. When adding codes, ensure you hire an expert to check that only lightweight code is properly embedded on the existing code to enhance optimization and increase performance.
Use updated plugins and WordPress software
Using the latest updates goes a long way in optimizing and understanding how to optimise a wordpress website. Updates provide you an opportunity to enjoy the latest technology. WordPress developers are constantly working to improve speed and develop themes and plugins that focus on how to optimize wordpress sites. Thus, by keeping all these factors updated, you ensure you place your website on the right track of enjoying the latest technology.
Using the recent themes and updates ensures the site is protected from an outdated site, prone to new attacks or leakage. New plugins and themes also come with compressed and improved codes that ensure your website takes less time to load information and protects you from attacks. Recent plugins also support caching and using static HTML files that improve performance and deliver excellent speed.
Utilize image optimization
Images play a vital role in enhancing user experience, representing your products, or directing your guests. They are thus indispensable, especially in online stores. Thus, you can not entirely do away with images. However, having high-quality images that take up less storage space and bandwidth ensures you provide a quality experience to your users and enhance the loading time.
Various image plugins work to optimize images and seamlessly reduce their sizes without altering their quality. Purchasing or using hosting plans that provide such optimization is essential to ensure your site automatically detects large images and works on them to ensure your visual message is still passed without affecting your site. Using optimization channels such as lazy load ensures your optimized files that are still large get to load as one scrolls through your site.
By doing this, you cut down on your site load time while ensuring the message is passed. Installing Lazyload works by loading images one at a time, starting with the top ones. This process ensures your website is up to speed and your image quality is maintained.
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Use optimized WordPress databases
Optimizing your database is essential, especially for sites like WordPress that are database driven. You can optimize your database through PhpMyAdmin or plugins such as WP-Optimize or WP-DB Manager. The mentioned plugins and sites offer you an opportunity to carry out several activities such as deleting saved drafts, spam, trashed posts and comments that take up too much space in your database. They also ensure only relevant and useful code is left in the database, positively optimizing it. Here is an example of the WP-Optimize plugin:
Since your WordPress speed is directly influenced by the database that powers it, a fast database directly translates to a high-speed optimized WordPress site. This optimization enables your site to quickly pick information from the site and act on it accordingly. Having lines of code that eliminate loops and properly arrange tables ensures your servers do not get a hard time trying to get information that may delay the amount of time taken to retrieve the data.
Compress website files
It is tempting to write codes in a readable manner as it makes it easy for other developers to understand your code. As much as this is a great initiative, it works against your site’s overall performance by increasing its load time due to the spaces experienced in your site. Compressing your website files includes minimizing your files and codes by removing all spaces that make your site slow.
Use Content delivery networks
CDN plays a vital role in offloading the amount of static information in your site. CDN ensures your primary server has less to handle which positively impacts your site’s speed. Files such as images, CSS files and scripts copied from your primary site make use of CDN to ensure shorter distance coverage which helps shorten its load time. You should also note that while the internet is experiencing advanced communication achievements, distance is still the same. Thus, prompt delivery of information from different areas remains the same.
Using CDN ensures that information stored on servers in particular parts of the world reaches you quickly. You do not have to worry about distance or hinder your server response as the CDN acts as a connecting bridge. It works by accessing static content from your site and replicating it to the nearest server allowing you to access the information faster.
Choose a type of CDN that is easy to use and provides a friendly and simple interface. Different CDNs also offer different security levels to your site; thus, choosing one with powerful firewalls and connections ensures your information is not intercepted or wrongly changed. The image below shows where to go on WordPRess to control your CDN:
(Image Credit: Kinsta)
Use quality themes and plugins
The quality of themes and plugins used is essential as high-quality plugins ensure quick interpretation and easy understanding of code, leading to less load time. Most people focus on having fewer themes and plugins and take this as an ideal way of ensuring proper optimization. However, having properly written code themes and plugins ensures they can pass information clearly and have proper security to optimize wordpress sites and protect it fully.
Plugins that focus on optimize performance, SEO and ecommerce platforms tend to have long lines of code. However, if these codes’ quality is high and properly laid out, they are unlikely to slow down the site. Having too much information jumbled up and written by a novice developer works against you. It gives you an aesthetic website that looks good but has complex codes, making it hard for the servers to navigate and deliver information leading to longer load time.
Install a caching plugin
A caching plugin works to optimize your site by reducing the number of times a similar query repeats itself, server access to static resources, MYSQL database access, and HTTP requests. This action is essential as it temporarily stores the user’s information reducing the load time it takes to access this information once a similar query gets invoked.
Having website caching plugins installed provides a better experience to your users and ensures they continually come to your site. Caching is essential for online stores as it d provides a fast and reliable service making your site useful and preferred for shopping. This graph shows the improvement in speed tests certain caching plugins have caused:
(Image Credit: WP Rocket)
Delete or control post revisions
Did you know that once you post a draft to your WordPress, it saves the information indefinitely? This action means that every draft written on all pages of your site is saved and stored, taking up your storage space.
Installing plugins such as the WP revision control plugin offers many options to deal with the problem. The plugin allows you to delete drafts freeing up space and set up the limit of the number of post revisions stored for every page.
The process ensures the availability of space while letting you choose the drafts you need for future reference. However, having the power to eliminate all drafts that have served their purpose allows you to optimize your site by successfully freeing up tons of space and making your code light, allowing it to load faster.
Disable pingbacks and trackbacks
Pingbacks and trackbacks refer to the communication between websites. WordPress sites such as bloggers developed to provide an opportunity for sites to communicate with each other. A pingback or trackback alerts you every time your site is mentioned or tagged in another blog. Especially for established sites that have their sites mentioned often, this may mean too many pingbacks to your site, slowing it down.
By disabling trackbacks and pingbacks, you get an opportunity to optimize your site without affecting your code as it does not tamper with your backlinks. This action provides you with clean code allowing your site to load faster. Here is where you need to go to complete this action:
(Image Credit: ShoutMeLoud)
Delete unused themes and plugins
Deletion of unused themes and plugins is a site maintenance activity that should get carried out often. After deciding which themes and plugins are fast or doing away with outdated themes and plugins, it is essential to delete them to free up space. Storing of unused themes is a practice that hoards information at the expense of your site speed, leading to longer load time.
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Enable gZip compression
Serving your guests with gZip compressions enables them to get small sizes of your website and enhance your load time. Having plugins that support the compression of documents ensures your users get quality information in a compressed manner. These plugins work to maintain and safeguard the quality and authenticity of information while reducing its size.
You can enable gZip compression through your cPanel in cases of using a shared server. Utilizing the latest GZip compression models also ensures you get an opportunity to use the best compression and save up time leading to efficient speed. For example:
(Image Credit: torquemag.io)
Spam is a huge nuisance that negatively affects your website speed. Deleting spam comments prevents a buildup and saves your site storage space and time. Having a tool that identifies spam and automatically deletes them ensures you do not have a lot of work and automatically optimize your site.
Opt for Multipurpose plugins
Plugins play an important role in optimizing your site. They help you automatically deal with issues and offer solutions to your site. However, not all plugins are useful, and some have intertwined purposes, making them redundant. By prioritizing your plugins, you ensure your site only has plugins it uses, which solves its problems. Opting for plugins that solve more than one issue is also essential to optimize your site and make it fast. You can thus delete outdated plugins and have those you do not use removed to ensure optimum performance.
Implement CSS sprite
CSS sprite plays two vital roles that are essential in website optimization. They work by saving your bandwidth, improving your site’s overall performance. CSS sprite also reduces the number of image requests by merging these requests and arranging the images systematically. This process reduces the load time and is common among video game designs where the same request gets repeatedly made.
Perform routine maintenance on plugins
Routine maintenance enables you to identify outdated and older plugins protecting you from attacks. Carrying out routine maintenance also helps you identify loopholes in your plugin features, providing an opportunity to seal loopholes that may be used against your site. So how does regular maintenance help optimize my WordPress site? Well by helping you identify unused plugins that fill up space. Routine maintenance includes regular updates to your site to ensure it uses the latest plugin versions.
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This is a WordPress optimization plugin designed to help you clean up and better mobilize your WordPress site. It helps to remove unwanted and ineffective data such as: pingbacks, trashed commends, post revisions and spam.
WordPress itself isn’t great for SEO. It is simply the tool you can use to achieve a more optimized site. You need to find plugins that work for your specific needs and optimization requirements.
The overall flexibility of the CMS to conform to the needs of almost any user, allowing customization in almost limitless ways, makes WordPress seem complicated at first. However, with a little practice, you’ll soon be a pro.
It is always best, for overall SEO and speed, to delete any themes you aren’t currently using and to update the ones you use regularly.
AMP for WP is a fantastic tool for anyone who wants their website to appear quickly and normally on a mobile device (so..everyone). This automatically adds Accelerated Mobile Page functionality to your WordPress site.