Today, people are less willing to spend time watching web pages, and WordPress Optimization becomes essencial. The main reason for optimizing a website for fast load is the benefits of SEO, which directly affects the success of the site. That is why I would like to talk about the possibilities of optimizing WordPress in this article.
Google research has found that 53% of people leave web sites that load longer than 3 seconds, given that the average site takes 19 seconds to load over 3G, it does sound like something incredible, but it’s not!
It was also found that websites loaded in 5 seconds compared to 19 seconds have: • 25% greater visibility on Google • 70% more visits • 35% less leaving visitors
That is why web developers now need to create websites that not only work well but also load fast. Google takes into account the speed of the website as a ranking factor, which also contributes to the overall experience of using the website (which in turn is another factor in Google ranking and affects how Google will rank your site).
The importance of optimizing the speed of WordPress is difficult to overestimate. Fortunately, in the case of WordPress, this is not too complicated and you can even optimize with a minimal budget.
There are 6 main things that you can focus on:
Everything starts with a good foundation. Even if you do everything right with the speed optimization of WordPress itself, slow hosting can bring all the results to nothing.
When a person loads a new web page, files are retrieved from the web servers where they are stored. If you have a fast server, the search for files will also be fast, and if the technology on it is old or lacking the necessary settings – no plugins will help accelerate this process. Therefore, choosing a good web host is of paramount importance.
Of course, good hosting is not just a technology. The hosting provider should also offer professional customer support in the event of a malfunction. If you create an online store, any malfunction may negatively impact your profits, not to mention the trust of the customers..
Here are some great WordPress hosting solutions with great reviews that I tested myself:
- Bluehost – Best for professionals
- InMotion Hosting – Best for the yearly plans
- SiteGround – Best for commercial projects
Backing up your website is another important element when choosing a good web host. The backup system ensures that you have additional copies of all important website files or all content in case of a malfunction.
Backups can be configured directly from the hosting, but if you do not want to work there and prefer a more manual approach through the WordPress admin panel, I can recommend the following plugins:
Another important element when it comes to optimization is the template of your website!
The huge files associated with the template are most involved in loading the site, so affect the load time tremendously..
The fact that the WordPress theme was optimized for speed is usually indicated by relevant promotional materials that describe their benefits of the template. However, it’s always best to test and check the template before selecting it for your project. It’s worth noting that WordPress’s own themes – such as Twenty Nineteen are created, in fact, with an emphasis on speed … but they are often too simplistic in design and not suitable for commercial purposes (not to mention the fact that they are used by many people and they may look the same, and this is rarely the desired result!).
Here are some great templates that are professionally created and ready for projects of any size and type:
- OceanWP – Best for general Websites
- Uncode – Best for modern corporate projects
- Astra – Lightweight & Well-optimized template
One of the greatest benefits of WordPress is the ease of customizing a website for your needs, due to the large number of plug-ins available: both paid and free.
In the case of WordPress, a good result can be achieved for any budget (even for FREE!).
Not surprise, paid plugins are generally considered to be better and offer more advanced features than free plugins of similar nature. However, very often the difference is too small and it can be neglected if your project does not have the goal to achieve the best possible results or needs paid functionality of the plugin.
Also, it’s important to always test plugins before you use it on your project. Just because the plugin works well for somebody does not always mean that this will happen in your case. Each web site (and its structure) is different!
With all this in mind, here are some of the best wordpress optimization plugins that complement the fast web host and WordPress optimized theme:
In short, cache plugins help WordPress work more efficiently. Usually, whenever a visitor comes to your WordPress page, the content is dynamically generated and takes time to load all the files needed to display the page. Hundreds of processes occur with each click, including database queries and template code execution.
Caching plugin optimizes this part of the process by creating a static version of your site, which results in fewer queries needed to display the page to the user. At the moment, this is one of those technologies that are easy to setup, and you will feel the benefits immediately! Many solutions are offered among cache plugins, I want to highlight the following:
Most of the time, the images form the bigget part of the files of the website and its pages, especially if it is a high-resolution images. Editing or resizing of a photo is often not enough to speed up loading. That’s why there are plenty of plugins that can optimize your images and speed up site load without much loss.
Here are the best ones you can try on your project:
The physical location of your server with the site may also affect the time the website is loading: the closer the server is to the visitor, the faster the site is loading from that server.
Cloudflare is one of the most popular solutions that offers CDN services, as well as helps protect your website and allows you to set a large number of parameters. However, there are also some notable alternatives:
- Photon CDN (free) – If you use the Jetpack plugin then this is the easiest solution for you
- StackPath (paid) – The service offers a wide range of settings for working with your site and super-fast CDN to go with it.
As WordPress is extremely popular, it is often updated with new features and additions to bring new solutions and technology innovations.
These updates are important for troubleshooting system issues and for providing new features. Plugins and themes can also be updated from time to time, here, in fact, the advantage of paid plugins in which this happens systematically guarantees more security when updating WordPress itself.
It’s important to regularly update the website created on WordPress to reduce vulnerabilities caused by security breaches, as well as to speed up the work of the site. Fortunately, in the case of WordPress, this is quite simple and is carried out through one click of a button, however, I suggest using it carefully so as not to miss the important work of translations or revisions on the site after the update. It is best to do this with specialists and be sure to create a complete backup system before such actions.
I can help you in this matter – hire me!
The following section refers more to hosting settings, but it is often possible to change it in the control panel of the website.
PHP is the programming language on which the WordPress system works. Setting up the proper version of the language on the server is necessary for successful of the website and it’s elements.
Why is php important?
For proper work, WordPress now requires that your web host has a PHP version 7.3 or higher in order for the site to be able to upgrade and function properly. Back in 2017, WordPress announced that PHP 7 would be the minimal requirement for the installation.
Also, I want to note that the reason why WordPress recommends the most up-to-date version of PHP is also because it affects the speed of the site.
WordPress sites running PHP 7 receive 2-3 times the speed increase due to a 30-50% reduction in hosting capacity, and the latest versions are allowed to serve up to 3 times more requests per second.
To configure this item, it is recommended to contact the support of your hosting provider and tell that you want to update the PHP version for your site.
However, here you should also be careful, because if you are using an old template or plugins that have not been supported for years (free plugins), then they may not be adapted to work with new versions of PHP, and therefore this can break the site.
It’s important to test and update gradually!
How can I check WordPress site status and find ways to improve speed?
The presence of a fast web site can contribute to better usability, SEO and more efficient website performance. So, optimization is a crucial element of the work on the Internet.
There are so many ways you can do by yourself. To start, you should analyze the site to identify the weaknesses of the site and see the recommendations where you can improve.
I recommend starting with the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin that was created to check the status of the WordPress website and all its components (plug-ins, template and how they work together, and the necessary settings on the hosting)
After that, you can start a deeper analysis. To do this, there are hundreds of free and paid tools (the most convenient for me are the following):
- Google PageSpeed
These tools will indicate the current state of the site and the possibility of improvement, most of which are mentioned in this article.
Effective steps to create a website with proper WordPress speed optimization include choosing the right theme, professional hosting, enabling site caching and image optimization plugins, as well as using CDN for fast delivery of static files, frequent updates and the highest version of PHP with which the website would be able to work.
If you have any questions or need help with optimization, contact me!