WordPress remains one of the most popular platforms to use to create stunning and effective websites, no matter what the niche. It’s used by businesses and personal bloggers and everyone in between.
It’s popular because it’s relatively simple to use and there are so many plugins, themes and other options available to spruce up your site’s appearance and to expand your website’s functionality.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can optimise your WordPress theme and get the most out of the platform. Optimising your theme will also help increase the overall performance of your website.
#1 – Choose the Right Web Hosting
You site’s hosting can really play a significant role in how well your WordPress website performs on a consistent basis. For example, shared hosting on a cheap hosting plan is not going to be as good as a more expensive dedicated hosting package.
Shared hosting might be fine for the personal blogger, but businesses will want to consider upgrading to dedicated WordPress hosting to make the most of their website’s performance. Dedicated hosting is more stable and secure and generally faster than generic shared hosting.
Not only is the right package important, but so is choosing the best company to host your website with. Opt for a hosting company that has a positive track record, particularly when it comes to hosting WordPress websites.
#2 – Be Sure To Optimise Your Images
Images are one area that can really affect your site speed. A fast loading website is vital in the modern world, as it’s one of the key things Google looks for when ranking websites. Slow websites don’t rank very well. That’s just a fact.
A site filled with large images will be exceptionally slow to load. Every image needs to be optimised for the web, and there are plugins you can install and use that will optimise your images for you. Many of these plugins are free.
A better practice is to ensure images are small files to begin with, as the more plugins you add to your WordPress theme, the more they can slow down your site or even cause glitches and conflicts.
#3 – Add a WordPress Cache Plugin To Your Theme
This particular type of plugin has been designed to boost the overall speed of your WordPress website. It achieves this by caching information, which then allows your website to load pages by skipping some steps in the process. The result is a faster loading website that pleases both visitors and the search engines.
There are quite a few caching plugins available for WordPress and many of them are free. Be sure to check compatibility with your current them and also take note of how many downloads and positive reviews the caching plugin has received before downloading and installing it on your website.
#4 – Keep the Number Of Plugins To a Minimum
The real beauty of WordPress is that there are so many plugins available to build out your website and add functionality to it. While this is indeed a good thing, it’s also common knowledge that too many plugins can have a negative impact on your site’s overall performance, as hinted at earlier.
It can really depend on the type of plugins that you have installed, what the optimum amount is. As a general rule though, try and keep your plugins to a maximum of 5 to be sure of consistent site speed and to reduce the chance of glitches and conflicts.
#5 – Don’t Embed Too Many Videos
While videos are one of the most consumed types of media on the internet today, embedding too many within your website can once again affect your site’s performance, most notably page loading speed.
If you have videos uploaded to a platform such as YouTube, or you want to reference the videos of others, rather than embed them, simply take a screenshot of the video thumbnail and link out to it. This saves using up your own website’s resources and your page loading speed won’t be affected.
This is not to say that you can’t embed any videos at all, but strive to keep those to a minimum and mostly link out to videos instead.
#6 – Eliminate Spam From Your Site Comments
All websites are going to be prone to receiving loads of spam comments, usually from bots. Too many spam comments, even if they haven’t been approved to show on your posts, can consume site resources.
The best way to combat this is to install a plugin that fights spam, such as the Akismet plugin, for example. There are actually quite a few spam buster plugins out there and, once again, many are free to download and use.
#7 – Give Some Thought To The WordPress Theme You Choose
You want a theme that’s light and well-optimised for a user-friendly experience and a theme that the SERPs will favour.
Some themes are so full of extraneous options and plugins, that they really are sluggish to load once your website is live on the web.
Less is more, or simple is best when it comes to choosing a WordPress theme.
Often it’s in your best interests to go for the paid version of a theme rather than the free version, as you get support with these themes and they are usually more highly optimised for functionality, speed and stability.
#8 – Pay Close Attention To Your Homepage
Your website’s homepage is going to be the first port of call for many of your website’s visitors. It’s also going to be the most linked to page on your site.
Your homepage not only needs to look good, be informative and easy to navigate, it also needs to load quickly. If it takes forever to load when a visitor lands on it, say goodbye to that visitor in most instances.
A well-optimised WordPress theme and website leads to both a fantastic experience for your visitors and will also find favour with the search engines. Be sure to always be optimising your theme for best results.