WordPress Optimization in 5 Easy Steps
Have you noticed that your WordPress website has been taking a long time to load lately? Are you finding more bugs, more site errors, and more dashboard clutter in recent weeks? If you answered "yes" to either question, then you have a problem-a serious problem. An unoptimized website can be the bane of your business's Internet presence, causing speed, security, and connectivity issues.
In fact, KISSmetrics has estimated that for every additional second of page load time, your website loses out on 7% of possible conversions. That's essentially 7%+ revenue loss-just for having a website that isn't speed-optimized!
If you're not enthusiastic about kissing your hard earned conversions goodbye and you have created a blog with WordPress, then you're in the right place. In this post, I'll show you how to optimize WordPress in just five easy steps.
1. Start caching with Cache Enabler
The first and foremost way to optimize your site is to start using a caching plugin. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of "caching", here's a brief explanation.
When you setup a website for caching, static HTML files of each your site's pages are created. When visitors view these pages, they load these static HTML files, instead of the much heavier & load-intensive WordPress PHP scripts, resulting in a faster page load speed.
It's imperative that you use some sort of caching plugin on your website. We personally recommend Cache Enabler. We also developed the plugin!
2. Compress images with Optimus
Optimus is another great WordPress speed optimization plugin. It automatically reduces the size of the images you upload to your WordPress site (thereby reducing the sizes of the webpages your visitors load, increasing website speeds).
In fact, Optimus is developed by KeyCDN-so you know it's good!
The great thing about Optimus is that it maintains your image's visual quality even though the file size is reduced.
The free version limits you to image sizes 100 KB and under, but you can extend the functionality by purchasing a premium license, which starts at just $29.
3. Use WP-Optimize to declutter your database
Your WordPress database is a lot more cluttered than you may think.
Did you know that every time you save a post revision, delete a spam comment, or allow trackbacks to your post WordPress saves some data?
Over time, this pile of unused and useless data just grows and grows. In the beginning, it may not be a big problem; but as time goes on, your database will continue clutter until it has a major impact on your page load times.
WP-Optimize is the ideal plugin to make sure that this data doesn't get saved and continually slow down your website. Not only can you use it to clean out any existing database clutter you currently have, but you can also schedule regular database clean-outs every day/week/14 days/month.
So once you activate the plugin and configure a few settings, WP-Optimize is almost entirely hands-off.
4. Lazy load images with BJ Lazy Load
BJ Lazy Load is an optimization plugin that saves bandwidth by "lazy loading" all of your images.
Basically, lazy loading is when a user visits one of your webpages, but all of the images don't load at once. Instead, the images will load only as they come into view when the user scrolls down.
This means that the images at the bottom of your pages won't load until your user actually scrolls all the way down there. This decreases the page load speed when the visitor first gets on the page.
The only scenario in which you don't want to use lazy load on your website is when you have lots of important images above the fold on your website. The lazy load plugin could prevent some of these images from loading. This would mean that users could have to wait 0.5-1 second as these important images load, which can be a deterrent for some visitors.
5. Leverage a CDN (content delivery network) for location based page loads
Let's say that your hosting company hosts your website in a data center in the United States. As a result, any time that a visitors comes across your site, their browser makes a request that goes all the way to the US-based server, retrieves the webpage data, and comes back to their location.
Now, if your visitor is based in the US to start with, then the request takes no time at all and the delay is no real problem.
However, not all of your visitors will be from the US. Some could be based all the way over in Australia. Every time visitor from "down under" accesses your website, his browser requests have to travel all the way to the US and then back again to Australia, resulting in a longer page load time.
A content delivery network (CDN), however, will reproduce copies of your website in multiple data centers across the globe. When a user hops on to your site, the CDN will direct their browser requests to the data center that's closest to the user, resulting in a significant cut in page load time.
KeyCDN offers an inexpensive, pay as you go content delivery service that's worth checking out here.
To quickly deploy a CDN for your WordPress sites KeyCDN has launched a new lightweight plugin called CDN Enabler. It's freely available and setup can be completed within minutes.
Bonus: Secure your site with Sucuri Security
Speed isn't the only important part of website optimization. Security also plays a pretty big role. The only trouble is, a lot of WordPress users don't realize the importance of securing their website and setting up firm safety measures until their site gets hacked or infected with malware.
Sucuri Security is a terrific security plugin help you keep an eye on all the activity going on with your WordPress install. It features active auditing, remote malware scanning, file integrity checks, and effective hardening.
Also if you are using their Cloud Proxy (firewall) add-on there is now an integration with KeyCDN.
Over to you
Have you been using WordPress optimization plugins and services to ensure that your website loads fast (and stays secure)? If so, what products do you recommend?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!