It’s no wonder why there are over 20 million WordPress websites out there right now.
WordPress has dominated the user-friendly website-building realm since it was first introduced in 2003. Why, you ask? Possibly because this content management system makes it immensely easy to build and manage a website without knowing how to code.
If you have a WordPress website, you may have heard about the various techniques you can use to make it perform better and load faster. Taking extra steps to optimize your website can be tremendously rewarding because your viewers are more likely to come back to visit if they experience faster loading times.
Would you like to learn about some of the tips and tricks you can use to optimize your WordPress site? If so, stay tuned!
What is WordPress?
Let’s talk about the most famous CMS that exists at this moment, WordPress. By ‘CMS,’ we are referring to a Content Management System.
A little Bit About WordPress:
WordPress makes website building not only possible, but convenient for those who aren’t web developers. On top of that, there are nearly 1.5 billion plugins available for WordPress, about 50,000 of which are completely free.
WordPress As Defined Within Our “WordPress Child Themes & Why to Use Them” Blog Post: “WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), which is an application that enables people to build and manage the components of a website without coding. All you need to do in order to get your WordPress site up and running is a 1. domain name and 2. a hosting provider.”
WordPress overview, check. We’re ready to digress to WordPress optimization techniques!
Start By Checking Your Site’s Current Speed:
If you are interested in testing out how fast your site loads currently, GTMetrix can help!
What is GTMetrix?
GTMetrix is a website that displays metrics pertaining to your site’s performance. It’s a good place to start if you are wanting your website to load faster.
Click the link below to use GTMetrix:
If your website is loading very slowly, it may be a result of one of the following issues:
- A sharp increase in the amount of traffic your site gets
- Graphics, photos and images that are not optimized
- Databases that are not optimized
- No caching system in place for code, scripts, or resources
- A poor connection
- Too many processes, scripts, or plugins running simultaneously
- Too many redirects in the http request
- Errors in site code
- DNS misconfiguration
- Page composition and structure
- Site configuration
- In rare cases, server problems
- Poorly written or outdated scripts, website code or plugins or themes
READ MORE: Common Reasons for a Slow Website
Next, implement the following optimization methods.
Image & Video Optimization:
WordPress has a great plugin that can help with this one. It’s called EWWW Image Optimizer, as in ‘EWWW, slow-loading images – Let’s fix them.’
More Information About EWWW From Our “Recommended WordPress Plugins for Optimization” Guide:
“This easy to setup plugin will optimize/compress any images you upload to your site to significantly reduce their size. Image loading is one of the primary reasons that will slow your page load, so shrinking images should have an immediate impact on your load time.”
Click The Link Below to Review More EWWW Image Optimizer Details:
ProTip From “Recommended WordPress Plugins for Optimization Guide:
“If you see warnings on GTMetrix afterwards about ‘Serving Scaled Images,’ try running the following plugin to force regenerate all the thumbnail images for the site (this will work in conjunction with EWWW to optimize as they regenerate):
The two of these plugins together are very powerful and will be a great help to reduce image size.”
ProTip From “Common Reasons for a Slow Website” Guide: “If you’re wanting to show off pictures or images on your website, the suggested way to store these is to have them only be as big as they need to be.”
Example From “Common Reasons for a Slow Website” Guide: “If you’re using a picture for a 100 x 100 px profile image, it is best to save that picture on the server at 100 x 100 px; if you save the picture as 1000 x 1000 px, the server will take longer to not only upload the image to the page, but also resize the image and compress it down to fit. It’s advised to have a number of sizes for each picture saved, with thumbnail versions used more often than full-sized images.”
Another great image optimization tool is ‘WP Smush.is.’
Up Next: Caching!
Caching & Caching Plugins:
Caching reduces the number of requests your website is responding to at a time. It is an integral component of WordPress website optimization.
What Does a Caching Plugin Do?
A caching plugin will create an exact replica of a dynamic website’s pages the first time someone visits it so those same pages don’t have to be recreated every single time a user views them after that. This, believe it or not, makes the loading time for the site twice as fast at minimum!
If you are searching for an excellent caching plugin, we recommend W3 Total Cache.
This particular plugin is known to be quite easy to work with.
To that end, we also recommend a CDN called Cloudflare, which happens to be compatible with W3 Total Cache. These two will make your site faster and more secure.
We recommend using a CDN in order to improve your site’s overall performance, and Cloudflare is a great option.
What is a CDN (Content Delivery Network)?
A content delivery network ensures your website loads as fast in other continents as it would where you’re at. How? By storing copies of your site within a network of data centers throughout the world. If your website’s viewer is in, let’s say Singapore, your CDN will find its copy located in the closest data center to the viewer’s location, then display said copy to the viewer.
Consolidate Your Database Information:
Make sure there aren’t unnecessary files or information in your databases, including but not limited to, “ temporary files, spam comments, drafts, etc,” as mentioned within our “How Do I Make My Site Faster?” guide.
READ MORE: How Do I Make My Site Faster?
Now, let’s talk code minification.
Adjust Code to Make it More Concise:
Minifying your code is of huge importance in terms of your website’s speed.
What is Minification?
Definition of Minification: When one ‘minifies’ their code, they consolidate it to ensure no superfluous code exists.
Question: Why Minify?
Answer Found Within Our “How Do I Make My Site Faster?” Guide:
“Any unnecessary code can have an impact on your site’s loading time. Even things as simple as extra line breaks, spaces or indentations. And WYSIWYG editors, which are very common these days, are notorious at sometimes creating sloppy code.”
A Few Tips & Suggestions Found Within Our “How Do I Make My Site Faster?” Guide:
- Use GTMetrix to test and optimize your site’s HTML
- Use Clean CSS to minify your CSS
- If you run your server, automatically optimize your site by installing one of Google’s Page Speed modules
Compress Your Files:
Reduce your disk space and bandwidth by compressing your files. You can use software such as GZIP to carry out this task.
Don’t Be a Hoarder of Elements:
When it comes to the elements on each of your web pages, a minimalistic approach is key. If you happen to be an element hoarder, the following excerpt from our “How Do I Make My Site Faster?” guide might inspire you to change your ways.
“Much of the time spent loading your site is simply trying to download and assemble all the different elements on the page: images, scripts, stylesheets, etc. Each element will send its own http request, so if there are lots of different elements to load it’s going to take longer.”
More Advice Found in That Guide:
- Use CSS instead of images where you can
- Limit the number of scripts and keep them at the bottom
- Combine multiple stylesheets so you only have one
Even More Advice Found in That Guide:
“You can also use cPanel’s Optimize Website, which can help clean up clutter from your site and make it run faster.”
RELATED: How to Use cPanel’s Optimize Website
Reduce the bloat created by too many elements, and clean house!
Check Your WordPress Themes:
If possible, try to ensure your WordPress theme isn’t one of the hefty ones that can be a bit cumbersome. There are several resources online that direct you to the lighter themes.
Note: The Twenty Nineteen theme is a good choice if you would like a lighter theme.
Furthermore, if you have themes installed that you are not using, get rid of them (even if they have sentimental value 😃).
Check Your WordPress Plugins:
Just like you want to purge themes you aren’t using in order to improve performance, you’ll also want to remove plugins you aren’t using. The same goes for widgets!
Make Sure You Haven’t Overloaded Your WordPress Site with Plugins:
Too many plugins make a website run slower, so it is best to ensure that you have only installed the plugins that you absolutely need.
Update Your Plugins & Themes as Frequently as You Possibly Can:
It is also a great idea to update your plugins, and your themes for that matter, as often as possible. Ensure your website is up-to-date. That sounds obvious, but it is crucial.
Don’t Wait For WordPress to Automatically Empty Your Trash:
Although your WordPress trash will be emptied every 30 days by default, you can delete your trash more frequently to speed up your site.
Follow These Instructions to Program WordPress to Empty Trash Every 5 Days:
1. Open your wp-config.php file.
2. Type the following line of code in the file:
define (‘EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS’, 5);
3. There’s no step 3! You’re all done!
Last but Not Least, Select the Right Hosting Plan AND the Right Hosting Provider:
Selecting both the right hosting plan and the right hosting provider is paramount when it comes to your website’s speed and performance.
By the way, did we mention that Hostwinds coincidentally offers WordPress Hosting plans that are optimized specifically for WordPress sites?
Click the link below to get started with Hostwinds WordPress Hosting today!
Signing Off: Have a fantastic week, folks!
If you have suggestions about how to optimize a WordPress site, please feel welcome to comment below.
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