Speed is definitely a big factor in website performance but a great user experience to a key factor. You want to keep your site running lean and mean. When it’s time to optimize your WordPress site there are some apps and plugins that come in handy to make the job easier.
I’m sharing my favorites tools that I have in my virtual toolbox. Some of these links are affiliate links, and I may make a few shekels from them, but that’s not why I’m sharing them with you. Most of the resources offer free versions or trial runs so you can make sure they fit the bill of your needs.
Let’s start getting your website into shape.
Choose A Good Web Host
The best way to optimize your WordPress site to choose the right provider for a fast-loading website. WordPress.org recommends that your host supports PHP7.2, MySQL 5.6 or greater, and HTTP/2 – fortunately, our recommendations of SiteGround and Nexcess hits the mark on all counts.
Besides meeting the recommended criteria, these hosts also provide the easy addition of an SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt and CDN service for those looking to add this functionality. Both of these resources will help to keep your site running fast and secure.
A quality host most times will not be the less expensive option but it is critical to the health of your website and the user experience.
Larger images will slow a site down, and our process is to crop, compress, and upload. Quality images are some of the heaviest assets on your website, but the image draws the reader in, so they are necessary to enhance your message. Images with a little pre-work can still do their job without slowing your site down.
Ready to optimize those images?
- Using Photoshop we crop my images. We have smart objects set up on artboards so this process does pretty quick. You can use other programs but we’ve found that we prefer to work on my desktop when doing this task.
- We use Macbooks and there is an image compression app that is a huge timesaver for optimizing. But if you’re using another program like Canva or DesignBold you can run the image through TinyPNG’s or ShortPixel’s online compression optimizer.
- Once my images are ready it’s time to upload them to WordPress. This is where the ShortPixel plugin comes into play for me. When I upload an image to my site ShortPixel does its thing to compress and optimize it even more.
Part of the process to optimize your WordPress site includes caching options that can speed up high-traffic WordPress sites dramatically, and most hosts now include some type of caching plugin. Some Managed WP hosting disallows caching because they include that in the managed part of managed WordPress.
Optimize Your Database
Over time as your site grows you start to accumulate unnecessary data from deleted plugins, posts and images. WP-Optimize is a WordPress plugin built to help you keep your database clean for maximizing efficiency when you optimize your WordPress site.
WP-Optimize will help you clean up information like spam comments, post revisions, and other trash items from your MySQL database, speeding up how quickly your site loads.
Some other options to optimize your database are WP Cleanup, WP-DB Manager and WP Database Cleaner.
Without optimization, your site can become slow and sluggish, which would allow your competition to sneak right in the door before you. Chances are others in your industry are doing their best to improve their websites, and you ought to do the same.
If you’re unsure how your site is measuring up, you can run a speed test Pingdom or GTMetrix. And if you need help optimizing your site for speed, check out our site health check audit to give you more fix-it options.