11 Actionable Ways to Optimize Your WordPress Website

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11 Actionable Ways to Optimize Your WordPress Website

It is not surprising that WordPress is a commonly used content management system.

For one, it is easy to use. Second, it is customizable due to the various plugins that you can install on the back end. Lastly, it is easy to optimize. And by “optimize,” we mean you can make your WordPress website SEO-friendly.

If you are curious about improving and optimizing your WordPress, we suggest that you keep on reading.

1. Find a great web host

First, choosing the right hosting plan is one of the most important decisions you need to make for your site. That’s because this is where your website will live. It will do a lot in determining your site speed, performance, and how it can cope with high traffic. 

If a user accesses your site, your web host server will retrieve the visitor’s needed information. Hence, it is essential to choose a web host that is near the majority of your site visitors. If most people who visit your website are from the US, it only makes sense to pick a US-based server.

Meanwhile, ensure that your Content Delivery Network is activated. Doing so can help improve your WordPress website’s page load speed for those outside the US.

Lastly, ensure that you purchase the hosting plan with the largest bandwidth you can afford. It is common for web host providers to limit a website’s resources. However, it can also impact your site’s usability. 

In other words, a poor hosting plan can nullify all your other speed-enhancing efforts. So, even if you’re optimizing your site, it won’t make much of a difference if you have a server that’s too slow or your plan is inadequate.

2. Choose a lightweight theme

WordPress themes have plenty of dynamic elements, widgets, sliders, social icons, and so much more than are eye-catching. But you have to remember that too many elements in your site and higher page sizes can significantly affect your web server. 

So, one of the best options is using lightweight themes. One option is going for default WordPress themes. If you’re opting for a more feature-rich website, though, you can also choose a theme that utilizes an excellent framework. A perfect example would be Foundation and Bootstrap.

3. Optimize your images

Images can drain a large chunk of your site’s resources.

While they can make your site look great and even supplement the text content, they also need server space and bandwidth. This is true if your site has high-quality images in your photos, galleries, or online store. 

At Sytian Web Designer in the Philippines, we tell our clients that bigger file sizes can hurt your website’s loading times. This can also impact your site’s overall user experience. So, a good trick here is to reduce these images’ size without compromising the quality. This is easy to implement, and you can entirely optimize the process. 

Perhaps you’re optimizing your images using the Chrome Pagespeed Insights extension, Photoshop, and other tools. This process can be time-consuming.

Fortunately, there are plenty of plugins for image optimization. Great examples are Optimole and WP Smush. Using these plugins will help you dramatically reduce image sizes and improve your site speed.

4. Minify JS and CSS Files

If you run your site in Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, then you’re probably notified in minimizing the size of your JS and CSS files. It means that you need to decrease the CSS and JS calls and the size of these files to improve the loading speed of your site. 

Also, if you know how to work your way through WordPress themes, study the guides that Google provides and fix them manually. If you’re unable to do so, there are still plenty of plugins that will let you achieve this goal. You can use Autoptimize in optimizing your CSS, JJS, and the HTML of your WordPress site. 

5. Implement caching

Another great way to optimize your site is to implement caching. One of the easiest ways to understand caching is to think of it as some short-term memory of your site. 

If a user accesses your site for the first time, a copy of all the requested files will be saved. These cached files will then be shown the next time that same site is visited. This makes sure that your site files don’t need to be requested and loaded directly from the server each time somebody sees it. 

Moreover, it significantly cuts down the resources needed to run your site, which can speed it up considerably.

6. Optimize your WordPress database

The database will store all the contents of your site. This includes but is not limited to posts, pages, user registrations, comments, and settings. 

Therefore, you also have to keep a lean database. You can do this by eliminating unwanted spam, unapproved comments, trashed posts, or revisions. 

You can use plugins like WP-Optimize that will help you optimize your site’s database. What it does is that it will remove old and redundant data, as well as defragment your database.

7. Make fewer HTTP requests

One of the ways to decrease the number of HTTPS requests is to integrate similar files. 

As the HTTP requests go down, your page loading speed goes down as well. When using a minified plugin, pick one that will combine similar files.

8. Get rid of unused plugins

Using unwanted plugins in your WordPress site will add junk to your web files. Hence, increasing the load on server resources whenever you back up your files. 

That’s why it’s better that you remove plugins that you no longer use. You can also look for alternate plugins that provide a combination of other plugins’ features.

For example, you’re using a plugin to optimize your content and another to connect your WordPress website to Google Analytics. Consider searching for a plugin that can do both.

9. Activate gZIP Compression

The amount of data transferred between your server and users is quite large and is why you will have poor site performance. 

To rectify this, you can use gZIP to compress your data files that include your JavaScript and CSS files. That way, your server will be compressing your content up to 70% of its original size before you transfer it to the browsers. 

It also reduces your site’s loading time significantly. That’s because the content size that’s being transferred has decreased considerably.

10. Disable hotlinking

‘Hotlinking’ is a term coined when one site uses another site’s resources. Let’s say someone has copied an image on your site. 

After their site has loaded, it will load the image from your site and consume bandwidth and resources from your server. Meaning, hotlinking is a clunky bandwidth “killer.”

11. Update regularly

You need to update your WordPress site at all times. These need to stay updated, whether it’s a specific plugin or theme. 

Updates can also be improvements to make your site compatible with the latest PHP versions and optimizations. Usually, updates also include regular fixes for bugs and other security issues in your site.

If there is a new patch available, you can test every update on the WordPress staging site before applying it and going live.

Website owners need to optimize their sites for search engines. It does not matter whether you are using a WordPress backend or not. That’s because doing so ensures that your website will be visible online and rank for the right keywords.

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Kenneth Sytian

Kenneth Sytian is a professional web designer in the Philippines. He is the owner and CEO of Sytian Productions. He has been designing websites and developing web apps for more than a decade. He is the driving force behind the company and influencer in the industry of web design and development in the Philippines.

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