Part of successfully running a website is making sure that it is optimized, in other words that your load time is acceptable and on a par with your competitors. WordPress performance optimization is no longer an option, but it has become vital to your website’s success. This article will touch on the importance of performance optimization, what we at ManageWP can offer in terms of helping you with website performance, and the top 5 basic optimization tips and plugins to install.
Why Is WordPress Performance Optimization Important?
People don’t have the patience to wait an extra millisecond for a website to load. It doesn’t help that our attention span has fallen and is one second shorter than that of a goldfish, according to Microsoft studies. Unfortunately, now quality is also measured by your website speed. We at ManageWP, have experienced this first hand, seeing how a 4 second longer page load, decreased our traffic by 50%. Unless you want people to give up on waiting for your website to load, you need to focus on optimizing it to the best of your ability. Having an optimized website can also influence your ranking and increase spider crawling in search engines. Having an optimized website doesn’t mean you need to be an expert, in fact 99% of optimizing WordPress is following good practises.
We have added some features to ManageWP that will get you a step closer to becoming a WordPress optimization guru.
What ManageWP Has To Offer?
In the world of WordPress performance optimization, ManageWP has added two handy features that will give you a good start.
- Performance Check
- Optimization Widget
You still need to make the effort and take additional steps in order to see full performance results.
What Is A Performance Check And How Does It Work?
A Performance Check is a great tool, part of the essentials of WordPress performance optimization. It gives you insight into what is happening with your website, how it’s performing and what you need to do to improve its performance. It’s the first step to solving your problems, the Performance Check tells you what they are. It uses Google PageSpeed and Yslow to give you an overall speed grade.
It also gives you a breakdown of the factors that are affecting your website. You can see each individual factor and its grade, as well as giving you recommendations on how to improve your website performance. What also makes it part of the essentials, is that you can follow your website performance over time.
To get to know this tool better, have a closer look at it on our Guide and see how you can start running performance checks.
What Is An Optimization Widget And How Does It Work?
Think of this widget, as functional rather than essential. It’s your online wardrobe spring cleaning done easy. Jumpers folded and put at the back of the wardrobe, old ones in a bag off to a charity, and boots safely stored away.
That would look something like this.
Here is what the Optimization Widget looks like.
Can you see the resemblance?
The Optimization Widget will tidy up your spam, post revisions and MB Overhead (date free of a table – allocated but unused bytes). Optimizing your spam and post revisions rids your database of needless data and unwanted pingbacks and trackbacks. Also, an article with 20 revisions will take up to 20 times as much room on your database than the actual article that you published. Just like a large wooly jumper takes up more space than your tank top that you are actually going to use.
N.B. You haven’t thrown away all of your clothes and/or built a larger wardrobe, you just tidied up and got rid of some nonessentials. This is the same for your Optimization Widget, so don’t expect your website performance to increase by leaps and bounds.
Find out more about this widget on our Guide.
WordPress Performance Optimization The Next Level
ManageWP has given you a great jump-off point, but if you want to get more serious about optimization you need to invest some more time and effort. It requires a little bit more hassle for big results.
Here are a few tips that will help you reach that next level.
Get on the Hosting Wagon
WordPress performance optimization can be compromised by bad hosting, so you need to pick a fast train. Make sure you choose the right hosting plan for your website. Avoid servers that take longer to process HTTP requests and MySQL commands. If you want to increase your website loading time don’t settle for shared hosting, make sure your hosting can handle you website and it has enough RAM and CPU attack. Invest in a good hosting plan. Here are some options for Managed WordPress Hosting.
Images are your best friend when writing articles. You can break up big bits of text with fun and engaging images. A bit like this one.
Editor’s note: Don’t worry, I don’t get it either 😀
But, they also take up lots of storage and might slow down your load time. Make sure you optimize them before you load your image up – Photoshop will do the trick, just click Save for Web. Otherwise, a great plugin is WP Smush and it is fully compatible with ManageWP. N.B. While running the plugin your website might be slowed down as it uses a lot of resources, so perhaps get it going while having your nightcap.
Clean Coded Themes and Plugins
Clean coded themes and plugins are the easiest way to improve your WordPress performance optimization. All you need to do is check them out before installing them and from the start you won’t have anything holding you back.
A badly coded theme will add tons of weight to your website. It’s not uncommon for theme developers to optimize their theme using caching and CDN’s, which means you don’t know how fast the theme will work for you. It’s good to test a few themes before settling for one and read lots of reviews, people are happy to chat about how a theme worked for them.
Apply the same principle for plugins, and make sure you check the source. This is the only case where the more the merrier doesn’t pay off. Plugins are one of the main causes of slow loading time, and if you install plugins without research you are likely to face performance issues. There could be a number of reasons for this; bad coding, calls to external servers, bottlenecking of CPU etc.
Install A Caching Plugin
ManageWP still hasn’t got any caching abilities installed on the dashboard, this is something we are eager to make happen in the future, but until then there are great cache plugins out there that will do the job well. Invest in W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache that will significantly improve your website performance and both are fully compatible with ManageWP. Cache plugin is your best friend when it comes to reducing page load time, it generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress blog. It serves users cached copies of your pages and avoids PHP or MySQL commands. Get caching!
Minify CSS and JS
Minifying CSS and JS is the process of making it smaller by combing it. It is combining multiple CSS and JS files into one, and with that reducing the number of HTTP requests. The smaller the number of HTTP requests the faster your page will load. A plugin that will help you with this is Better WordPress Minify, and it works great with our dashboard.
How To Get to The End Game Of WordPress Performance Optimization?
WordPress performance optimization takes some practice and knowledge of what needs improving. The Performance check will keep you informed on factors affecting your website performance, and the rest is up to you. When you get into the routine of optimizing images and running clean coded themes and plugins, you shouldn’t face any big issues. However, if you want to get to the end game of WordPress performance optimization, you need to do a bunch more, and here is an article, a golden oldie, that I recommend to get you there. It’s the WordPress Optimization Bible.