The Ultimate Guide to Boost WordPress Website Performance in 2017
If you are running a WordPress website, be aware that you are one among the 27% of the Internet that is powered by WordPress. Unarguably, it is the most common Content Management System that website developers and owners prefer when they want a new website. The user-friendliness, abundance of templates from sources and 47,000+ productivity enhancing extensions have all made WordPress into a first choice for web development.
However, there is a catch. Some WordPress websites suffer unusually slow website loading and performance that worries website owners and irritates users. Since an average human’s average attention span is less than 5 seconds, a slow loading and fuzzy WordPress website is nothing but fatal to traffic growth.
So how can you improve WordPress website performance and speed without breaking your bank or getting your hands dirty with coding?
We did some intense research on this and came up with a list of shortcuts that will turn your WordPress website into a blazing fast one.
WordPress creates a cache of the website each time a new visitor visits it. Over a period of time, with repeated visits, the cache of the every single page graphic can add up to a big size and slow down the website side. This problem can be solved by removing the cache frequently. Just like you clear the recents in your system or the history in your browser.
However, since manual caching can be quite hectic for the forgetful website owners, the best thing is to get a caching plugin that can take care of the caching automatically. A caching plugin works by creating a single cache of the entire website and serving it to visitors each time they come, thus, improving the website speed. There are plenty of free and paid WordPress caching plugins available in the market like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache which can do the caching work for you.
Optimize Image sizes
High-res and heavily sized images and graphical content can slow down any website drastically. While it is impossible to have a website without imagery, it is always possible to compress them to optimal sizes that reward an uncompromised user experience as well as helps sustain the website performance.
But, how exactly does one do that? Get used to image compression and optimization plugins like Smush.it, Kraken.io or any other WP Plugin for lazy loading of images. These plugins will render images in optimal sizes. Moreover, they do not load the content unnecessarily. They serve the imagery only when the user scrolls over them or accesses that part of the website, thus keeping your website speed at top knots at all times.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Imagine a network of systems that contain the exact copy of your website content. Now, all these systems will be spread across regions from where your maximum traffic originates. This is a Content Delivery Network, the simplest and easiest way to deliver content quickly and to achieve maximum website speed.
When a client system visits your website, the data is fetched from a nearby located CDN system thus preventing the number of requests raised to the server.
Use WordPress Instant Articles
If your website is heavy content oriented, then the WordPress Instant Articles Plugin can help improve user experience by preloading the latest content. The Plugin pre-renders the latest posts thus preventing any website delay in loading content.
Image source: Hongkiat.com
This is almost similar to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages and Facebook’s Instant where content is delivery instantly without keeping the user waiting for loading. Needless to say, it increases engagement, rewards better SEO ranking and also helps increase time spent on the website.
Uninstall unused Plugins, templates and themes
Overindulgence is the root cause of damage. The goes true with WordPress plugins, templates and themes. WordPress templates from online sources like TemplateMonster make your website look great, work great and automate your tasks. But, having too many of them will bloat your WP website server and slow down performance.
The best way to avoid bloating is to check the active plugins, themes and templates every now and then and uninstalling them. Secondly, when you have too many of these extra add-ons, you have to update them regularly for security patches. Missing to update any of these add-ons will again end up in security risk.
An easier way out will be to uninstall plugins, templates and themes which you don’t use or need anymore.
Some plugins forcibly include stylesheets and JS files that your website does not need to function properly. Although these stylesheets and JS files are harmless, they can add up in quantities and weigh down your website performance.
So, to make your website function faster, you will have to dig into the plugin or theme code and remove stylesheets and plugins that you don’t actually need. This will help reduce the weight your WP website has to carry, thus improving website performance.
WordPress developers dish out regular updates to keep the CMS platform up to date and brimming with great functions. These updates fix the issues in the earlier versions and also plug any security loopholes that were present.
You can turn on auto update for WordPress updates by doing the following steps:
- Access cPanel -> File Manager -> WordPress Installation Files.
- Search for define ( ‘AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED’, true );
- Delete the file from WP-CONFIG.PHP
- Click save changes and you are done.
Turning on auto updates will ensure that your WordPress updates are installed in the background even when you are sleeping away at night. You can also turn off auto update, however, it only makes the task more of a burden and an additional task on your to-do list.
In a Nutshell
Having your WordPress website performing at top notches can improve search engine rankings, conversion rates and user engagement. Website loading speed plays a vital role in delivering all these. The above methods explain how you can speed up your WP website performance and speed effectively.
Kunjal Panchal is a Digital Strategist and a social media geek. She is passionate about content marketing and strongly believes in the power of storytelling for marketing. A perfect day for her consists of reading her favorite author with a hot cuppa coffee. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.Read Full Bio