How-to Optimize your WordPress Website
WordPress is a very powerful and great platform. However, it has a weakness in that it is usually very slow. The speed of your website will determine its success. If your website is sluggish, you will lose new visitors who will probably click the back button even before your site loads. Most webs browsers are impatient and you could end up losing your loyal customers and subscribers. The performance of your WordPress website will also affect your rankings in search engines. Google’s ranking algorithm has now incorporated site speed. As such, the speed of your website also affects your SEO. If your site is sluggish, you will not only lose customers and visitors out of impatience but also through decreased rankings in search engines. Luckily, you can fix these performance issues by speeding up your site with proper WordPress optimization techniques.
There are several best practices and techniques you can use to optimize WordPress websites. They include:
Choosing the Right Hosting Plan
Choosing the right hosting plan is the first step in optimizing your site. You are bound to fail if your server is taking a long time to process MySQL commands and HTTP requests. You may have chosen a reliable hosting company but the wrong hosting plan. A shared hosting plan may seem like the ideal plan but it comes at a price. It has regular downtime during high traffic periods and extremely slow site speeds. Since the server is shared among other clients, their usage can affect the speed of your site. However, most hosting plans have insufficient CPU throttling and RAM. Therefore, ensure you get a hosting plan that enables your website to run smoothly. Cheaper is not always better, conversely for a low volume site you won’t need to be spending hundreds of dollars per month on dedicated hosting. Opt for a hosting plan that is able to handle traffic spikes (increased traffic) efficiently. The right hosting plan will enable you to have a nicely optimized WordPress website.
Use Content Delivery Network (CDN) Services
Optimize Your Images
Images are crucial elements in every website and it is vital for them to be optimized. When developing your site and choosing images to use, there are several things you should consider. Always make sure you use the proper image sizing. You should not upload large images and try to scale them using HTML. You should ensure that your images and photos are in the same actual size that you are going to use when displaying them on the website. Another way to optimize WordPress website is by smushing your images. Smushing removes unnecessary data (such as GPS coordinates, creation date, camera used to take the photo, etc) from your images. Manual smushing is time-consuming and requires a lot of effort. For this reason, you can use WP Smush It plugin and Yahoo’s Smush to automatically decrease the file size of an image without compromising its quality.
If you can, you should also try to use sprites for themes on your WordPress site. This is a CSS technique that utilizes a single image to illustrate numerous design elements on your webpages. As a result, instead of loading numerous small images (many small images means numerous HTTP requests every time), your website will open a single image. It is important that you consider sprites when designing your theme and thus select themes that can use sprites.
You can also optimize WordPress website by using a properly configured Dynamic Caching. You can use services such as APC and Varnish for dynamic caching although they require a lot of server configuration and modification of your application to ensure they function properly. We have found the use of a caching plugin on WordPress greatly reduces the load time on subsequent visits to a website.
With search engines placing a lot of importance on site speed, optimizing WordPress website is no longer an option, it is a requirementr. Having fast-loading webpages has become a vital aspect in the success of your website. Most people believe that only experts can optimize WordPress websites. This is not true – anybody can optimize his/her WordPress website by following the best web optimization practices and taking advantage of Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and caching. You can also take advantage of good WordPress plugins to optimize your website. Your website will load faster if you use the techniques above.
Not comfortable optimizing your WordPress website? No problem – contact us today to schedule a review of your website with our optimization experts.