WordPress is a fabulous platform for creating interesting and engaging websites, but if it is not correctly optimized, it can be a slow, lumbering beast! Use this quick guide to find out four of the biggest mistakes people make and avoid these pitfalls in optimizing WordPress speed.
Number 1: Ignoring plugin updates
Plugins are essential when optimizing WordPress speed. Plugins are what take WordPress from “just a blog” to a functional platform capable of just about anything. But beware, plugin developers are only human! Far from producing a perfect, finished item first go, they will offer updates to combat security issues and fix bugs.
Some are tested with the current version of WordPress and some are not. But ignoring these updates can have the effect of making site speed lag. Keeping plugins — and WordPress itself — regularly updated will help the site stay safe and fast.
Number 2: Not Installing a Cache Configuration Plugin when optimising WordPress
Plugins like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache help a visitor store recently accessed information from the website on their own hard drive. So, for example, if the logo is on every page of the site, it does not have to be loaded every time a new page is accessed, saving download times and bandwidth. They also squish down scripts and external files as well as images. Most plugins will have a lot of settings, so it’s worth going through these thoroughly.
There are several techniques for scripts when optimizing WordPress speed. One of them is to “minify” and combine them, which simply means taking out all the spaces and comments and then putting them in one file to download. Fortunately, there are several plugins to help webmasters do this, for example, Autoptimize and JS & CSS Script Optimizer. Images can be optimized by saving them at high compression and lower resolution with a graphics package.
But they can also be optimized with plugins such as ShortPixel Image Optimizer or WP Smush. Another way to speed up downloads for scripts, images, and video content is to host them on a CDN (Content Delivery Network). These are servers that are spread across the globe that host copies of the content. Site visitors will be served information from the server physically closest to them, speeding up download times significantly. Even when information is traveling at the speed of light, CDNs can still make a difference!
Number 4: Not choosing the right hosting package
A shared hosting package can be cheaper, but response times from some of these servers can be excruciating! There are a lot of choices out there including dedicated servers, cloud hosting and scalable solutions. Choosing WordPress specialised hosting is one way to ensure a faster website. It might be a bigger cost, but if people would otherwise avoid the site because it’s too slow, there will be a greater return on that investment in visitor numbers, revenue, and engagement. Nonetheless, you can always contact us to learn more about our hosting services here at DomainStar.