You might wonder how you can speed up your WordPress site because speed matters especially loading times. 53% of mobile users will leave a webpage if it loads more than three seconds.
Fortunately, in this article, I’ll be explaining eleven of the best practices on how to optimize your site quickly, and I’ll also give a few more reasons why optimizing your WordPress site is necessary.
Let’s get started.
1. Choose A Reliable Host
The very first thing you need to do is choose a great WordPress hosting provider. A web host specializing in WordPress would have already made the necessary tweaks in their software and hardware to give maximum performance.
Every web hosting provider has different plans for WordPress hosting. Check for the one that fits your needs while also giving the best price for it. If you want to get plenty of benefits like SSD storage, DNS management, and WordPress acceleration, check out this WordPress hosting for a great example of what to look for.
2. Update Your WordPress Site and Plugins
It’s essential to keep updating your WordPress site, themes, and plugins. You will get the latest security updates that ensure that your website is safe from the latest threats, but it also ensures that your site remains as fast as possible.
The developers are always optimizing WordPress to become better and faster, so by updating, you ensure that your site is running at it’s best. The same goes for the themes and plugins. Always update them to be compatible with the latest WordPress version, thus working as efficiently as possible.
3. Optimize Images
High-quality images are among the most draining files on your website because they require extra server space and bandwidth to load. This thus harms the overall user experience.
One of the ways to solve this problem is by using image optimization tools. How it works is the instruments take the image and compress its size without affecting its quality too much. It’s straightforward to use. Some excellent image optimization tools are Optimizilla, Kraken.io, and TinyPNG.
4. Minimize Plugins
You might have plenty of plugins installed on your WordPress website, and it’s easy to lose track of the ones you use and don’t. It’s a good practice to audit plugins to see which can be disabled or uninstalled.
An easy way to check is by going into your wp-content folder through your web hosting provider’s file manager and delete the ones you don’t use there. Doing this will save precious time on load speed because WordPress no longer needs to read and load the unused plugins’ configurations.
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5. Empty Your Trash
WordPress introduced a trash system. It stores all deleted content. It could be posts, pages, comments, media, and other types of content. The contents in the trash can be restored or deleted. This helps you recover content in case you accidentally deleted it.
Trash will store the deleted content for 30 days before permanently deleting it automatically. But because trash stores content, it can take up a lot of unnecessary space in your website’s database.
To solve this problem, you can either reduce the trash holding time to seven days instead of 30 by going to wp-config.php.file and typing in define (‘EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS’, 7); or you can permanently disable the trash system by typing in define (‘EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS’, 0); so any content that is deleted will immediately be erased forever.
6. Don’t Upload Video Files Directly to WordPress
WordPress does allow you to upload video files directly to your site, and it will display them in an HTML5 player. However, this is not recommended because hosting video files requires a large amount of bandwidth, and your current hosting plan might not be able to handle it.
Having large media files also means that your backup size will also increase immensely, and become challenging to restore WordPress. Instead, you can use video hosting services like Youtube and upload your file there.
WordPress has a built-in feature that allows you to embed videos, so just copy and paste your video’s URL to your post.
7. Use a Content Delivery Network
People who visit your site come from various places globally, and as such, the site loading speed will differ if the visitor is located further from your site’s location.
A way to tackle this issue is by using a CDN (Content Delivery Network), which helps improve your site’s loading speed for people worldwide. How CDN works is it gets a copy of your website and distributes it to its various data centres located worldwide. So users visiting your site from far away will be directed to a CDN nearest to them. An example of a great CDN is Cloudflare.
8. Use Faster Plugins
WordPress plugins that are poorly coded can cause too much bloat on your site. This, in turn, increases your page load speed, thus slowing down your site.
The best way to figure out which plugin is the fastest for your site is by doing a speed test before and after installing a plugin and its alternatives. You can use site-speed measuring tools like GTmetrix for this.
This is another best practice that most people are skipping out because they might think this is too complicated. Minification means making your site’s code more efficient by removing all unnecessary content from it. This will improve your site’s loading speed.
If you don’t have any coding background, don’t worry because plugins can help you do this. Some of the popular ones are Autoptimize and Fast Velocity Minify.
10. Break Comment Sections into Pages
When you get a lot of comments, it means that you are successfully engaging your audience. But the more comments people leave, the longer your site might take to load when trying to pull them up.
An easy way to optimize this is by only going to your admin dashboard and go to Settings, then head to the Discussion section. There you’ll see an option that allows you to break comments into pages. You can also set how many comments are shown on one page. Test out to see how many comments start slowing down your site and adjust accordingly.
11. Optimize WordPress Database
Optimizing your site’s database means reorganizing them to reduce space and increase their efficiency. WordPress serves content from a MySQL database. Thus it needs to do some queries before loading the webpage and its content. Having a new database will take longer for the queries to execute.
Again, you don’t need any technical expertise to be able to do this. You can use plugins like Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions and WP-Optimize to do the cleanup and optimization for you.
Why Should You Optimize Your WordPress Site?
- An under-optimized website won’t rank high on Google or other search engines.
- An optimized website can improve your click-through rate.
- Optimized keywords help search engines understand your website better.
- A slow website negatively affects your site’s bounce rate.
Now you know the eleven best practices to optimize your website and why you should do it. Let’s recap on them:
- Choose A Reliable Host
- Update Your WordPress Site and Plugins
- Optimize Images
- Minimize Plugins
- Empty Your Trash
- Don’t Upload Video Files Directly to WordPress
- Use a Content Delivery Network
- Use Faster Plugins
- Break Comment Sections into Pages
- Optimize WordPress Database
All that’s left to do is for you to start applying these best practices to your WordPress site. Remember that you should do it regularly to keep updated with the latest updates and keep having optimal speed for your site. Good Luck!