This week we celebrated WPCacheOn second birthday by reviewing all angles of optimizing a WordPress website, to help you build better internet presence for yourself and your business. The previous optimization talks are:
- Monday: Web hosting – all we have to know about the server that will affect our website speed
- Tuesday: Database optimizations – how to maintain healthy WordPress database
- Wednesday: Application optimization – plugins, themes and WordPress core
- Thursday: Post revisions, pingbacks and trackbacks – how they affect our website speed and do we need them
- Friday: Content Delivery Network or CDN. Is it only for enterprise websites or anyone can use it too? What is the CDN service and how to configure it for my WordPress website
Today we will give last optimization guidance so you can achieve maximum performance for your website. Let us no longer delay and look at them:
Keep WordPress updated
WordPress updates are released quite often. New major versions come out every 152 days on average according to CodeinWP statistics but smaller updates appear more often. In short, it is crucial for you to update WordPress core as soon as a new version comes out.
Every new update comes with new improvements, new optimizations and security patches, thus making your website quicker and safer.
Keep plugins updated
The same thing goes for your plugins. Every new plugin update comes with new improvements from optimization and security point of view. Once again, whenever you see a plugin update notification, go ahead and perform the update.
Remove the plugins and themes you don’t need
Once you are done with the plugin updates, it is a good idea to reconsider even having some of them in the first place. Let’s face it, not every plugin is necessary. Most probably you can do without many of them. Do you need a reason to remove plugins? Plugins often contribute to around 80% of your website total load time. So ensure to keep only the necessary plugins.
We also advise to remove the inactive themes and plugins on your WordPress website as they will add an enormous amount of junk to your website file system. Moreover they will also increase the size of your backup and put an overwhelming amount of load on your server resources while backup is being generated. Respectively the restore of a backup will also take more time and more server power.
Use fast WordPress theme
Design that is coded badly uses images throughout the design, this will add unnecessary “weight” to your page. It is not uncommon for some WordPress themes to be a few megabytes in size. Such design will add a few seconds to your pages loading time.
When you choose a theme watch for design that is optimized for desktops, tablets and mobile devices. The search engines (Google, Bing, Baidu, etc.) favor responsive designs as they ensure all pages have the same URL. On the other hand, adaptive designs that were created specifically for mobile devices will improve the user’s experience considerably. The great adaptive design will even reduce the page size.
Remove Gravatar images
Gravatar is the default way of handling comment avatars in WordPress. This is a cool feature by itself, but it can have a negative impact on your website speed especially if your posts receive a lot of comments.
This is a result of your website having to display tons of avatar images. This load can be reduced by disabling the Gravatar images completely. You can easily perform this change in the admin dashboard > Settings > Discussion, and then deselect the “Show Avatars” box. After this change do not forget to press the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page. Otherwise, the new configuration will not be applied.
Keep external scripts to a minimum
The usage of external scripts on a web pages adds data to your overall total loading. Thus, it is best to use a low number of scripts, including only the essentials such as tracking tools for service like Google Analytics or commenting systems like Disqus.
Optimize your widgets, consider not using official social media buttons
For most website owners, social media traffic is second only to search engines traffic. Which is why social media sharing buttons are so outstanding on website designs.
If the scripts or CSS files are not likely to be updated often, you can upload them directly to your server and serve them locally from your own server or even from the CDN service. Not relying on external servers will improve your website speed. Other option is by simply changing to text links or locally stored social media images, this will also reduce your page size.
We have reviewed the secret optimizations and below are the final words for closing the WordPress Week of Speed at WPCacheOn. But where is the surprise? Well the surprise is right here! By the end of the first quarter of 2020 we will release version of WPCacheOn that optimize even the images of your website. Want to experience this new version before all others? Be sure to Contact Us for more details.
With that being said we want to thank you that you were part of our Birthday Week and followed us through this journey of making WordPress websites load faster!
We now look forward to our Birthday Week next year, as a chance to showcase more exciting WordPress features and tweaks for building better, faster and more secure WordPress. We know that this is an effort for more than one week. This is an effort that takes place all year long. During this year we will improve our service and the things we optimize for you, however this requires the help of our partners and especially you – our customers.
Thank you for being our customer, providing valuable feedback and helping us stay focused on our mission – building a better, faster WordPress.
Do you want to get more like this week’s announcements? Subscribe for next year’s Birthday Week and our newsletter for regular updates on WordPress and WPCacheOn.