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Overclocking your Website: 4 WordPress Optimization Tips

Updated on June 20, 2019
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Papdan is a comprehensive web design, web development and SEO digital agency based in Australia

Getting the best result using the best tools and a large amount of resource is easy. It's in trying to get the same level of result with limited tools and resource that's considerably more difficult but that is exactly the core purpose of engineering. Clever engineering isn't about getting the best possible result, it's about achieving the highest level of efficiency.

This process of getting the most out of something is commonly referred to as optimization and it's the main reason why our phones are packing considerably more processing power than the ones from a decade ago even with similar sizes. This optimization process is also quite important in web development as even a slight increase in load speed could lead to a corresponding decrease in conversion. For a business whose website play hosts to a lot of contents, this is even more important as those will definitely slow your website down.

Squeezing every last drop of your website

The internet, for all its powers and capabilities, isn't magic and it is still bound by the laws of physics. When you're watching a video on YouTube, that video isn't being magically beamed into your computer; they are instead transmitted as data through an actual, physical network of interlinked cables with millions of network equipment placed in-between. One way of making this data transmission faster is by using content delivery networks (CDNs) which in layman's term would require your business to put up mirror copies of your website and contents in those very same equipment.

Let's say that your website is hosted in a server in Japan and that one of your customer happens to be living in the UK. When said customer wanted to access your website, the data have to travel from the eastern end of Asia into western Europe. With a CDN, it is possible for you to put up a mirror copy of your website in, say, Ukraine, which would practically cut the distance in half and would also lessen the time it takes for said customer to access your website. However, this is rather costly since the more scattered your customers are, the more copies of your website you're going to need, hence the need for an alternative in the form of optimization in web development.

Out of every website that is running on a known content management system (CMS), 60% of them are powered by WordPress, so this discussion will specifically revolve around WordPress optimization. Now, if you're looking for additional tips online, some of them would probably include CDN as one of the methods but the optimization I'm talking about here specifically refers to changes made on the actual website. Things like CDN or getting a good web host provider falls under the umbrella of logistics and wouldn't be included in the 4 optimization tips I'll be mentioning.

Try to find a lightweight theme or framework to use

One essential element to any WordPress website is the use of themes and/or framework, which largely defines how a WordPress website is going to look. These themes can include a lot of bells and whistles that not only add to the appearance of your website but might also add additional functionalities but they come at a cost. The more element a theme and/or a framework has, the more burden it would add to the website and since you're going to probably add more plugins, which would slow your website even more, try sticking to a theme that's relatively lightweight.

Go easy on the plugins

One of the tips I learned during the course of my writing is to try to eliminate unnecessary sentences. If I can remove a passage without negatively impacting the overall piece, then that passage doesn't actually belong here. This same strategy should also be used with your plugins. If your website can still function normally without the existence of one particular plugin, why keep it there? Quantity isn't strictly the issue here as each plugins affect your website differently, an issue that could paradoxically be solved with another plugin.

Yes, there are actually WordPress plugins that work by telling you how much other plugins are affecting your website, such as UsageDD. Plugins might also cause additional problem as when WordPress receives a major update, those plugins will have to be updated as well to make sure they could still work. If the plugin developers went AWOL, there would be no choice for you other than to remove them completely or look an alternative so it's always best to keep your plugins on the minimum side.

Optimize how image will be displayed on your website

A picture is worth a thousand words and for businesses that traffic in physical products, having high-quality images to showcase those products might be necessary. However, the more pixels an image have, the bigger burden it's going to be to your website, which would be a nightmare for pages that contain a lot of images. The solution is to either reduce the size of those images with minimal impact on their quality by using image optimization plugins or by implementing lazy loading, which makes it so that images are only loaded when a user has scrolled to the corresponding area.

Enable website caching

If you're in the business of running a blog or an e-commerce website, you'd typically count on users making repeated visits to your website. In cases like these, you might want to think about enabling caching on your website. By enabling caching, the browser that is used to open your website will be able to store some of the files locally on their computer, like logos and CSS & Javascript files from your website that typically stay the same. This way, they wouldn't have to download those files all over again when they open up your website for the umpteenth time and there are a number of WordPress plugins you could use to fulfill this function.

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