Original and high-quality content is king but performance of any website is another very important factor for higher rankings in search engines.
Creating a website is not difficult, there are hundreds of free and premium services and CMS available but to make sure that your website loads quickly, you will have to optimize it for speed.
WordPress is the most popular and widely used CMS, which lets you create and manage blogs and website. With the right combination of plugins and themes, you can create different type of websites with WordPress without learning to code. There are two ways to set up a website with WordPress.
If you will create a free site with WordPress.com, You don’t need to worry about hosting, speed, performance, and other issues but if you’d like to setup and manage a website yourself, you will have to make sure your website is fast and perform best on different devices and screen sizes.
Many people prefer to setup a self-hosted WordPress site because it gives them full control over their website. With the self-hosted website, you can install additional plugins and themes.
According to Research performed by Aberdeen Group: 40% visitors will abandon the web page and 44% will develop a negative image of the company if a website is too slow. 47% people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. You can read more about How Loading Time affects your bottom line at kissmetrics blog.
Don’t forget that If your visitors are waiting too long for your website to load, they will choose your competitor’s faster website and probably they will never visit your website again.
In this article, I am going to discuss what you can do to improve the performance of your WordPress website.
There are different ways to optimize your site for speed but before but first you should run a speed test using some online services. With a speed test service, you can identify the areas in your website that needs improvement.
To set up a self-hosted website with WordPress, You need to buy web hosting. Web hosting companies offer the different type of web hosting plans. Shared Hosting plans are very cheap starting from as low as $3/month.
With shared hosting plan, you can start a small website, but keep in mind that shared hosting plans are not the best choice. Your site speed will be slow and you will have to install caching, image optimization, security and other important plugins to secure and increase the speed of your website.
If you are planning to start an online business, don’t hesitate to pay few extra dollars for managed WordPress hosting. Managed WordPress hosting providers offer some great plans for developers and freelancers. You will be able to host multiple websites and they will be very fast.
Static websites built with HTML and CSS are very fast but dynamic sites built with WordPress are slower than static sites. So make sure, you choose a fast and reliable hosting provider.
There are thousands of free and premium plugins and themes available online. Default WordPress themes do not offer a lot of advanced features and functionality but they are the best themes. If you are a developer, you can easily customize these themes with child themes.
If you prefer premium themes, buy premium themes from trusted theme developers and marketplaces. Make sure, your premium theme is used by hundreds if not thousands of users, read what other users are saying about the theme. Always download free themes from official WordPress Theme Directory or trusted developers.
Make sure your theme is optimized for speed. Keep in mind that you don’t always need a premium theme with hundreds of features. Experienced developers make sure that their theme is optimized for speed.
For every WordPress website, we need some essential plugins. Social sharing, Site stats, SEO plugins are very common. Delete outdated and unused plugins and themes.
You don’t need to install 10 plugins for different features created by different developers. Use JetPack, it has 30+ modules and this plugin is created by WordPress developers.
There are some must have plugins for every WordPress website, these free plugins can decrease the page load time of your website.
Every time a visitor requests a page or post on your WordPress site, WordPress executes several PHP scripts and make numerous database queries to build the complete web page. By default, WordPress will generate a page on-the-fly for every visitor.
But it is not necessary to regenerate a page. If the information on the page hasn’t changed, there’s no need to regenerate it. Caching process stores previously generated pages in memory or on disk, and this stored page is served to the next visitor.
There are many free WordPress caching plugins (W3TotalCache and WP Super Cache) available, these plugins are easy to install and setup. These caching plugins work well, in most cases you just need to install and activate these plugins and they will work great. Advanced and experienced users can change the default settings to improve performance.
Always use the latest version of WordPress. Never ignore WordPress core updates but don’t forget to backup your website. To improve your rankings in search engine, optimize your content for SEO.
Images are the most important part of any website but large unoptimized images and screenshots can make your website too slow. You don’t need to pay extra money to optimize your images. You just need few minutes to compress your images.
tinypng.com is a free online image optimization service which lets you reduce the size of JPG and PNG images without losing the quality of your images. You can drag and drop multiple images and tinypng lets you download all optimized images as a zip file.
WordPress image optimization plugins are also available but not all bloggers prefer to install extra plugins, especially if you don’t upload too many images on your blog, try to use online image optimization service.
If your website is hosted on US servers and most of your visitor are accessing it from the US, your website will load pretty fast. But your website will usually perform slower for visitors from other parts of the world.
A CDN can solve this issue by delivering the site content from the closest servers to your visitors. cloudflare is a popular CDN service and has a free plan for personal websites, blogs.
There are many free and premium CDN services and WordPress plugins available. WP Super Cache and W3TotalCache lets you enable CDN support.
Minification refers to the process of removing unnecessary or redundant data without affecting how the resource is processed by the browser – e.g. code comments and formatting, removing unused code, using shorter variable and function names, and so on. developers.google.com
Optimizing sit for speed is very important but make sure your readers can read all your content and they can view your website on all type of small and large screen devices.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and responsive and it looks great on smartphones and tablets. WordPress theme developers are using Responsive design technique to make their Premium and free themes mobile friendly. If your theme is not responsive and mobile friendly, you can install plugins to make your website mobile-friendly.
Make sure your content is accessible. Don’t forget to add alt and title text for images and links. Write descriptive text for links. Read more about WordPress and accessibility is much better than click here to read more.
To be honest, this is not an ultimate WordPress optimization guide but if you will follow these few tips, your website will perform much better.