After your WordPress website is up, some questions will run through your mind. Does your site perform at its best? Do the pages load faster?
Keeping your website running at optimum levels ensures that the visitors have a pleasant experience. Hence, it is a worthwhile effort to optimize your site regularly with the help of SEO to increase traffic and page views. The time it takes for your website to load plays a significant role in its success rate. If your site is slow, visitors are more likely to turn away or press the back button before it even starts. That’s how your site’s load performance influences your rankings in search engines. Website owners report having a significant increase in ranking after successfully improving the load time of their pages. That shows the importance of optimizing your website for better results.
Here we will list some surefire tips and techniques with which you can optimize your website and drive better results:
1. Choice of Webhosting Provider
WordPress is an open-source CMS or Content Management System, meaning it is a tool for designing and managing websites. You can use it to build anything related to the web, such as blogs, e-commerce stores, websites, and much more. However, the platform itself does not offer web hosting ability. Hence, a proper web-hosting plan becomes essential to share it with the world. You can use any hosting plan that fits the requirements of WordPress. For beginners, your hosting provider needs to have PHP version 7.3 or higher and MySQL version 5.6 or higher installed. And MariaDB version 10.1 or later with HTTPS support could also be a viable option.
Besides these factors, you need to determine the type of hosting you need. Whether it is shared, VPS, dedicated servers, or cloud hosting, choosing the right plan from the beginning will help you set a solid foundation. Wrong services can give you longer load time, crashes, or downtimes. Be sure to select the ones that have a reputation for quality and support.
2. Reduce Plugins
WordPress has a plugin for almost everything, and that generally is a positive statement. However, using too many plugins can also do more damage than good. Your site may experience compatibility issues if it has too many plugins installed. Some of them might have harmful code or need updates frequently. Do not overburden your website with too many plugins. Do thorough research before you settle on one, and always keep them updated to speed up your WordPress website for maximum performance. Not every plugin proves best for you, so be sure to research thoroughly and find out which ones you need to keep your website working correctly. Periodically do a plugin check and remove any unnecessary or unused plugins.
Another smart optimization is to implement caching to reduce the number of requests that your site must handle. Caching is like the short-term memory of your website. When a person visits a web page for the first time, a copy of the requested page gets saved into memory. Such pages then get displayed on the next visit to the same website. Caching ensures that the server doesn’t reload the pages directly from the server again on the next visit. It allows you to cut down the resources required to run a website and significantly improve its response time. Caching is also very easy to implement in WordPress, as there are various plugins for this purpose. By far, the easiest and most popular one is WP Super Cache.
4. Image Compression
Compressing images reduces their file size, which significantly increases site speed while saving your storage space. Compressing images can breathe a new life into your website by allowing visitors as well as search engines to navigate it easily. You can use several free tools for this purpose, like Optimizilla or ImageResize. They will compress images and videos and breathe new life into your slow pages.
5. Media Library Cleanup
Not just themes and plugins, media files such as images, videos, or documents also fill your library and contribute towards the slowdown of your site. It is not unusual for long-running websites to have thousands of media files stored. Even if you use image compression, there still might be files that are unnecessary and taking up space, straining your server resources. A fair amount of these files are often useless and unused. Identifying and deleting such files can give your site much-needed space for proper performance. You might have difficulty manually removing them, so use a plugin like Media Cleaner for this purpose. Create a backup of your website before diving into the plugin or media removal to avoid data loss.
6. Choose Advertisements Wisely
Be very conscious of the type of advertisements you choose for your website. Using an optimized image to link directly to your website is an efficient way of promoting a product or service. You can take this up a level by using text links instead of image links and speed up the performance. Adding a third party advertisement can increase loading times as user’s requests initiate calls to external servers. Ads are the key to survival for most websites, so the right idea is to keep a balance between income and speed. Always test your site speed before you take any advertisement to keep your performance from degrading.
7. Avoid Social Media Buttons
Today, social media traffic is second only to search engine traffic for most websites. That is why social media buttons are very prominent in website designs these days. Official sharing buttons have become popular as they show the number of views a page has. However, these official buttons put much strain on your website and increase load times. Similar to a third party advertisement, these official buttons make calls to external servers. By simply changing them to text links or local imagery, you can significantly reduce page size to few megabytes, respectively.
WordPress has made it easy for us to design and run our websites in a professional manner. However, just like any service, it too has its share of issues that arise with regular use. The tips mentioned above are some of the most common ones to give a significant boost to your website’s performance and optimize it accordingly. You should periodically check your site to ensure performance is up to standard.