Determining the purpose of your website?- Checked
Designing an eye-catching theme? - Checked
Coding your theme correctly to improve user experience and serve your audience well? - Checked
Taking imperative steps to make your website as secure as possible? - Checked
If you have done everything perfectly well but you are still struggling to grab your audience’s attention, the primary reason behind this can be a slow loading website.
Online business is a fast competitive world and no one is ready to wait for anything, whether it is to stay in queue to pay bills or waiting for a website to load while browsing the internet.
Hence, to set your foot in this digital world, you need to choose a theme that is loading fast, which gives the best user experience. Other than attracting the audience's attention, an optimized website can also be well positioned in search engines such as Google and Bing, which are taking into consideration the loading speed as a factor to rank web pages.
In this blog post, we will offer you some of the elementary points to keep your theme optimized.
1. Keep WordPress Updated
Always work with the latest WordPress version. Updates aren’t just for security. Often they’ll improve the performance of the CMS itself (the same goes for a plugin or a theme).
Making updates will not only provide some bug fixes or upgrades to the visual part, but will also improve the use of some default WordPress queries and inbuilt plugins or functionalities, which will indirectly help to increase the performance of your theme.
TIP: Have you updated your Wordpress site to the latest version? The 4.1 update improved specific complex queries, which helped with the loading speed performance, while the 4.2 update increased the JS performance of the navigation menus.
2. Kick Out Unwanted and Outdated Plugins
Plugins are very handy and easy to use when it comes to implementing some complex functionalities. But remember, every element has its pros and cons.
Plugins are the greatest responsible for lowering the loading time of your website. You should never use too many plugins, but instead always trying to incorporate the plugin functionality in the site code.
TIP: the majority of the developers are using specific plugins created to include a contact form. But if you need a simple way to be contacted, then you can easily integrate a form as a part of your website's coding, so to increase its performance.
Also, it may happen that a plugin is no longer in use on your website, but still remains active. These unwanted plugins will end lowering the speed of your web pages. As a good habit, always remember to delete any plugin that you are not using. We suggest P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) to check your site performance and cut-off anything that may slow down your web pages.
3. Minify Your Files
A complex code with a large number of files is also responsible to decrease the speed of your website. We suggest you to combine these files as much as possible. Also, try to minify the CSS and JS files, so to incorporate them in your website. As a further step, it's a good practice to optimize the coding, wherever it's possible.
TIP: if you have a block of code that you need to implement many times in your theme, instead of coding the whole block again and again, try to create a function for it in your functions.php and write a call to that function wherever you need the block in your theme. This good practice will reduce the size of the files, helping to minimize the loading time of your site.
4. Optimize The Images
Images are indeed an essential part of every website, but you should always pay attention to their size. It's important to not upload high-resolution images (unless it's strictly necessary), but instead choose a correct size and eventually scale them with the HTML.
TIP: make sure that your images are not bigger than the size you're actually using to display them on your website. You can use a specific plugin to optimize your media. A well-known plugin to smush images is WP Smush.
Another tip is to try to LazyLoad your pictures. While your users are scrolling down your web pages, the images will keep loading. This is a great practice to increase your site speed.
As a final suggestion, remember to choose the correct format type (JPG/PNG/GIF).
5. Apt Hosting
If you have followed all the mentioned steps to optimize your website, but you are still struggling with a slow loading time, it might be the right time to upgrade your plan or switch your hosting company.
TIP: often, webmasters are choosing a shared hosting plan. It's cheap and it's the most popular choice. In this case, your site will be hosted on a server along with many others and you will have a very little control over the server settings. If you are planning to upgrade your plan, just consider that the DNS response time of a website hosted on non-shared servers is at least 10 times faster than the ones hosted on shared servers.
I hope these tips are going to help you improve your WordPress website.
Do you have something more to add?
Any other suggestions to optimize a website?
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Originally posted on IssueMagazinePlus.