WordPress Optimization Tips Part One

This is part one of a four part series on optimizing your WordPress website.

Optimize Background Processes

There are a variety of processes that run in the background of your website. These include, but are not limited to backups, checking for updates, people fetching content, search engines crawling your website, etc. If you want to manage this so it’s happening efficiently, choose a time for backups that runs when your site is not typically busy and adjust how often they run based on how often you make changes., use a CDN as mentioned below to manage content that rarely changes, and keep an eye on your Google Search Console for errors.

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) refers to a geographically distributed group of servers that work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. The benefits to your specific site will vary based on the size and needs but essentially a CDN will improve website load times, reduce bandwidth needs, increase content availability, and improve website security by managing content your content more effectively.

Don’t Upload Audio/Video Files Directly to WordPress

Adding these types of files to your website directly eats up valuable space on the server and will significantly decrease the load speed of your site. Files like this should be uploaded on systems intended for storage such as Amazon storage, Vimeo, YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Split Long Posts into Pages

Doing this makes it easier for your visitors to read your content, find different sections, and will ultimately keep them on your website longer.

Reduce External HTTP Requests

Reducing your external HTTP requests helps with load speed by combining CSS and javascript, minifying code, enabling lazy load, removing unneeded images, getting rid of plugins you don’t need, reducing external scripts and using a CDN as mentioned above.

Reduce Database Calls

A caching plugin with the settings done correctly (there is a right and wrong way to use a caching plugin) is one way to help with load speed.

Limit Post Revisions

Storing post revisions takes up space in the database for your site which can slow down the load speed and take up valuable space on the server.

Use Lazy Loading if Needed

Lazy load can reduce the initial load time of your website because it reduces the pages weight and manages the bandwidth use. What it does is leave non-critical resources such as images off-screen until you need them.

Fix HTTPS/SSL Errors without Plugin

Whynopadlock.com is a website that can tell you exactly why your HTTPS/SSL isn’t working right so you can fix these at the core.

Choose High-Performance WordPress Hosting

Good website hosting is the first thing you want to make sure you have for your website. Without it, anything you do will not give you the results you are seeking. Your hosting makes the biggest difference at the core.

Choose a Server Closest to Your Visitors

Usually the closer the website visitor is to the server, the fewer networks the data has to pass through so your site will load faster.

Change Your WordPress Login URL

Changing your login URL helps to keep the “bad guys” out. It’s harder for them to figure out where to try and gain access to your website minimizing the attacks and hacks.

Disable or Tweak Plugin and Theme Updates

Most of the time you want to wait just a bit before making any major updates to WordPress, your plugins and your theme so if there are any issues with those updates, you won’t be caught off-guard with a broken site that now needs some quick fixing. Once you know it’s safe to make the updates, go ahead and do so. The one exception to this is when an update is related to security. I always do these right away.

Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

While you will find experts on both sides of the fence for this strategy, I feel it’s best to disable the pingbacks on your site. While there are definitely benefits to allowing pingbacks, the cons outweigh them in my opinion. If you allow them, they end up getting used to send spam. Not just a little bit but a lot of spam. They also create a ‘self-ping’ meaning any time you post a link to your own site, the pingback will send a notification. This feature can be disabled with a plugin but why not just disable them completely to avoid the issue.

This post is the first in a series. You can read part two of Optimizing WordPress Tips here.