WordPress is an amazingly flexible tool, with plugins for virtually any conceivable need. However, like any good tool, it requires a regular tuneup to make sure it is running optimally. Today, we’re going to look at six simple ways you can make your site faster. Obviously, having a good host is absolutely critical too. But hey, if you’re with us, you’ll be okay. We have packages that are crafted for a great experience – and heavy traffic.
1. Spring clean your list of plugins
If you’ve used WordPress for long enough, you’ve definitely built an array of plugins, some of which you may no longer have a need for. So that’s where you should start. You’re looking for two things: plugins you no longer use – those can be removed easily, and also plugins that have not been updated in a long time.
For those, shop around for an alternative that is still actively supported. The benefits are two-fold. The world of WordPress moves quickly, and as each core upgrade happens, there may be speed optimizations that can be made with plugins. Secondly, active support means any potential bugs or security loopholes can be patched.
2. Use a good caching plugin
Having users cache elements of your website can give your website a tremendous speed boost, as their browsers can just fetch the newer elements from the server and pull the rest from the cache. One of the best caching plugins we’ve tried is W3 Total Cache. It has over a million active installs and is used by some of the biggest corporations.
3. Use a lightweight theme
When shopping around for themes, many themes seem to take the kitchen sink approach by including every conceivable feature in one package. Unfortunately, this causes a lot of bloat, especially with unused functions and styles. Instead, change it up with a theme that is more lightweight like these.
4. Use a content delivery network (CDN)
5. Optimize images for site
Sure, your DSLR might take super high-resolution images that are huge, but the truth is that for most websites, that level of resolution is not remotely necessary. By resizing and applying a non-degrading compression, pictures still look beautiful on your webpage but loads much, much more quickly. You could do it manually in Photoshop, or use a plugin like WP Smush, that will do the job automatically.
6. Have your website lazy load
If your blog posts contain a lot of pictures or a gallery, lazy loading is definitely something to consider in order to speed up your website. How it works is that it lets the browser load the images closer to the top first, and only once those images are fully loaded goes on to load the ones further down as you scroll. This gives the impression to your reader that the site has loaded a lot more quickly as compared to having the images not in sight load up before the ones above the fold do. Lazy Load is a great plugin created by a team that includes Automattic (creators of WordPress) lets you do just that easily!