If you are about to create a new WordPress website or trying to tune existing one and wonder what you should consider to optimize it then you have come to the right place. Several factors contribute to the loading speed of your website., such as Hosting Server, Selected Theme, Installed Plugins, Running Scripts, Content Delivery Network, Caching Techniques and Animation. Let’s discuss in details.
1. Choose an Awesome Hosting Partner
Trouble is, it is very difficult to find trustworthy reviews of web-hosting companies. My experience has not been particularly good with them. My bet is on Amazon servers but it takes a lot of effort and knowledge to set it up. My second choice would be Virtual Private Hosting for WordPress because Shared Hosting has always proven to be wrong.
2. Choose Theme Carefully
If you have tried to shop for the right WordPress theme, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a never-ending process. There are always better options available.
Another problem is most of the themes that you see a demonstration of, wouldn’t look the same after installing, the main reason being the absence of the demo content. Most of the themes do not provide the demo content and hence what you see is way different than what you get.
It’s always a good idea to develop your content first. It will not only give you an accurate picture of what your website will look like but also help you decide the right theme for your requirement. If you know your content you can choose a theme that provides just what is required for your site. When it comes to themes keep in mind, more features means a slower website. For instance responsiveness, you should consider this only if you need it. You heard it right. Contrary to popular belief, if your product is not meant for the mobile users, you should not go for it. The reason is simple, responsiveness comes with a price. Additional libraries like Bootstrap or Material Design increases the load time. There are ways to optimize that too but I wouldn’t bet my money on WordPress developers with this one.
Just choose the theme that’s right for your current requirements. For future upgrades, you can always use the right set of plugins.
3. Choose the Right Set of Plugins
There are hundreds of WordPress plugins available for almost any feature you require and sometimes choosing one could be overwhelming and confusing. Following are a few criteria to consider before adding any plugin to your site.
- Check whether the plugin is tested with the latest version of WordPress or check if it is compatible with your version.Visit the demo site of the plugin or at least see the screenshots to make sure it fulfills your requirements.
- Visit the demo site of the plugin or at least see the screenshots to make sure it fulfills your requirements.
- Check whether the plugin is currently being maintained.
- Last but not the least check the reviews.
Fine tune your existing installation
4. Regular Updates
Update plugin and widget in order to get optimum performance and ensure security. However, as WordPress sites grow in size and functionality, too many scripts in the form of plugins, themes, widgets and core files get involved and create compatibility issues.
If you are struggling to keep everything working, the best option is to maintain a stable version of each script/plugin and only update necessary ones. Also, make sure you go through the release notes and change-logs first at the provider’s site.
5. Caching and Template Tags
As you know, WordPress is developed in PHP which is a server-side language, meaning – the web pages that you see are rendered when they are requested. This is an overhead for the server. Also, it causes a delay in the response.
To overcome this you must always limit the use of template tags wherever possible, cache all your pages except for those whose contents are secure or frequently changing. To further optimize your site use Image compression techniques, load scripts asynchronously, use lazy loading for the images.
6. Regular Cleanup
Over time your site will start to accumulate unnecessary data, remove post-revision data. Delete trashed posts, spammed comments, unused tags, expired transients. It’s always a good idea to do a regular site cleanup to speed up performance.
7. Minify your Code
Along with image compression, minification also improves site performance. It is the process of removing unnecessary characters from the code like whitespaces and newlines. This reduces the overall code size and reduces page load time significantly.
8. Reduce the use of Animation
Animations always come with a cost, most of the events wait until the animation completes. Hence, it increases the response time and leaves behind an impression of a slow website. Try to limit the use of animation if your website relies on user input frequently.
Apart from the above, you can also make use of Content Delivery Networks to boost the speed of your WordPress website.