Here are 10 tips to optimize your WordPress website. Please note that there are many other factors but if you go through the list and implement some of these changes, you should see an improvement.
These days, everything seems to be about speed and your website is no different. A fast loading website keeps visitors interested and is a plus factor to rank better on search engines.
1 – Select a good host.
This is an obvious one but still needs to be said. A good hosting company is the foundation for a solid site. Some hosts have rubbish shared hosting (if that is what you are after) and others have excellent shared hosting. I always recommend Siteground for affordable fast hosting. Click here to read a bit more about hosting
2 – Update your PHP version.
Some hosts automatically default to a lower PHP version such as 5.6 but for the fastest technology, you should be on at least version 7 or higher. It’s worth noting though that depending on what plugins you use (especially older unsupported ones), some sites may not be compatible with the latest PHP version. For that reason, I would recommend taking a backup before updating to the latest version. In most cases you will be ok, I just don’t wish to be blamed for a blank screen! Click here to see how to update manually.
3 – Cut down on videos.
Videos convert they say. This is true but they also can be a drain on resources and a slow loading site will lose visitors. Also sometimes videos can distort on mobile view. So while everything looks good on a laptop, it may not be so visually appealing on a smartphone. Try and use Gifs or convert to images if possible.
4 – Image compression.
These days cameras and phones take incredibly detailed photos. The problem is that these images are loaded with information, heavy on detail and need to be trimmed. There is no point uploading a 3000 x 3000px image if you only want to use it for a 150 x 150px thumbnail. Resize accordingly. Install an image compressing plugin, there are free and paid available depending on your requirements. Read more about image compression here
5 – Minimize your requests.
Check your website details at GTmetrix.com. The fewer requests you have the better. More requests mean that the different components of your page take longer to download. The cause of this is usually down to excess plugins. Check on GTmetrix or a similar site like Pingdom tools. Deactivate a plugin and retry the test to identify slow loading plugins. You may have a very slow loading plugin that adds a very basic feature to your site. It’s up to you to if you need to keep the plugin or find a workaround.
6 – Reduce plugins.
Ok, so this and point 5 kind of go hand in hand. In the development phase, you may be testing different plugins and their features. Some you will need, others you will not. Always remember to deactivate and delete unused and unwanted plugins. Not only is it a possible security issue but there’s really no need to keep a selection of plugins for no reason. The number of plugins won’t necessarily slow down a site but a poorly coded plugin will. Also if you ever hand the website over to a developer in the future, they may find it difficult to assess which plugins are being used and which are not.
7 – Minify and combine files.
This is another topic which relates to point 5. Combining your HTML, CSS and JS will definitely reduce your number of requests. You can learn to do this manually or with the aid of a plugin. Autoptimize is free and very popular. There are also many paid plugins such as WP Rocket, CometCache etc.
8 – Caching.
A cache plugin stores data from visitors. Information about the layout and CSS of your site means that the next time they visit, the old cached data is at hand to speed up load time. There are a lot of these on offer, both paid and free. WP Fastest cache is a good free option as is Autoptimize (mentioned earlier). WP Rocket and CometCache are my two recommended paid plugins. Click here to read more about caching and the plugins that can help you
9 – Use a CDN.
A Content Delivery Network will serve up your website from different parts of the world so the website loads fast for a visitor, regardless of where they are located. Cloudflare is free and a very good option. Click here for more CDN info.
10 – Get rid of unnecessary content.
This one pretty simple. quality over quantity all day long. There are no plus points for having pages and pages of clutter. Combine if possible and keep content short, sweet and to the point!
Hopefully the above content will help you in some way. If you can only implement 2 or 3 changes then you should notice a page load improvement. There are obviously other factors that can help but this is a good start.