Note from Abhay: This article has been contributed by Pankaj Solanki, a WordPress lover. He manages his own web development company in Jodhpur. He has been experimenting with WordPress poems for 2 years. Here he is sharing his tips for speeding up a website. Take it away Pankaj…
There has been a debate in web developers if a website must be beautiful/slow OR simple/fast. There are pros and cons in both sides.
I will tell you what I believe. As long as simple/fast does the work, don’t go for beautiful/slow. Because beautiful designs require things like HTML 5 OR CSS 3. There are still people who use Internet Explorer 4, how will your website look on those devices?
Other thing you know is that speeding up your website is important. It improves user experience and makes them happy. At the same time, it is an official google ranking factor.
But have you ever really tried speeding up your website? I have! It was a frustrating 2 month experiment that I did. In the end I learned so many things. And, I am going to share some of those with you. I will talk about things other than caching and image optimization. These have been talked by everyone out there.
I know when you are starting out, you can’t afford costly host. That is fine. When I started this experiment, I myself did not change hosts to verify which one is faster. So I won’t talk about hosts now.
Yet, I will say that if you can afford, go for premium hosts, they are much faster. I have heard internet giants recommending WPEngine. But for stater You can visit Top 5 Best Cheapest and Reliable Web Hosting to Use in 2016
When you are starting out, it is easy to get trapped in free theme’s dilemma. Why not, there are thousands of free themes available.
Free themes are not coded properly and premium themes are costly. What options do we have?
Use Freemium themes. They are free themes released by a premium WordPress theme company. They are perfect for what we want here.
Always use minimum number of plugins. Keep reducing the number of plugins you use on your site. Plugins add up their codes to our WordPress site which makes the website heavier.
Use P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) plugin to analyze all installed plugins. If a plugin is heavy either uninstall it OR switch to their competitors. You can also use plugins to speed up wordpress like WP Super cache.
CDN is a great technology to speed up your website. What it does is, load your website from US if you are located in US and from Canada if you are located in Canada.
There are many CDN services available. Cloudflare has been working effortlessly for me. They also have a free lifetime plan. Perfect for new websites.
They also have a WordPress plugin for WordPress users. If you are using W3 Total Cache, then no need to install this additional plugin.
Optimize your Homepage
It is important, because it is the most important page of your website. People will visit this page often.
If you are showing full posts on homepage, minimize them to excerpts. Don’t show more than 3-5 posts on your home page.
Remove unnecessary widgets and keep your social sharing buttons limited only to posts.
Optimize your database
WordPress uses SQL database to store the information. Your posts, post revision, drafts, auto-drafts, comments, comment meta-data, spam comments etc are stored in database.
Eventually, it becomes heavier and heavier. So to make it light again, we need to optimize the database.
WP Optimize is the best solution I have found. It can be set to optimize your site on autopilot.
Your need to be cautious when using database plugins, they can make or break your site. But, WP Optimize has never broken my site.
It is a good trick I learned from another marketer. Keep-alive keeps the connection alive and loads even partially created HTML.
To enable keep-alive you need to add the code to your .htaccess file:
<ifModule mod_headers.c> Header set Connection keep-alive </ifModule>
WARNING: Make sure to back up your .htaccess file before you make any changes to it.
Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
It was a frustrating thing GTMetrix kept telling me to optimize. I never knew what to do.
This was a huge problem for me until I found this plugin Remove Query Strings From Static Resources.
Just install it, no settings no options, and it fixes the problem.
I have listed everything what I did to speed up my website. If you yourself are struggling with your website speed, I hope this article will help you.
Install these plugins and make your website rocket fast. Keep speeding up!