One of the most important parts of successfully running a website is making sure that the system is fully optimised. In other words, you’ll need to ensure that your loading times are acceptable, and on-par with the options offered by your competitors.

Since WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms for modern developers and website owners, it’s crucial to make sure that you take the time to optimise your install and ensure its running exactly as it’s supposed to. Here, we’re going to look at why performance optimisation for your WordPress install is so important, and what you can do to make the most of your CMS.

Why WordPress Needs to be Optimised

You might wonder why you would bother taking the extra time to optimise your WordPress website when the CMS makes it so easy to simply jump straight into building your online web presence. Unfortunately, the truth is that most people simply don’t have the patience to wait extra seconds for your site to load.

A moment of extra waiting around for your customers could mean that your clients race elsewhere, rather than giving you their full attention. At the same time, it’s worth noting that the professionalism and quality of your company are also measured by website performance. If your WordPress platform doesn’t load as it should this might convince your customers that you’re not willing to invest in the solutions you need to keep their custom.

Ultimately, having an optimised WordPress install can influence your ranking online, improve customer perception, and ensure that you’re prepared to outshine your competitors. So, how do you get started?

1. Choose an Excellent Web Host

First, it’s impossible to run a speedy and efficient website that’s being hosted on a slower server. Choosing the perfect host provider could help you to make sure that you have a more appealing website. Ideally, you’ll need to choose a host that not only delivers great uptime and fantastic speed but also plenty of support when you need it most.

If you’re not sure which host might be best for you, you might consider reading up about some of your options online or looking for reviews published on reputable forums.

2. Optimise Your WordPress Theme

Once you’ve chosen the right host, make sure that you’re using a fast and responsive theme. While themes that include plenty of features can make your job simpler, they can also make your browser and web server work a lot harder. Some WordPress themes are very larger, which add to your page loading time.

Remember, the default WordPress themes are lightweight, well-coded and easy to tweak, so it might be best to use one of these with the help of a developer.

3. Keep a Close Watch Over Plugins

With your theme organised, you’ll be ready to think about plugins and the extra features you want to include on your WordPress site. The first thing you should do is minimise the number of plugins you’re using. Ask yourself before you install anything whether your choice is necessary.

Once you’ve decided about the plugins that you genuinely need, you’ll be able to ensure that the ones that you choose have been optimised for the current version of your WordPress website. Try to take the time to do some research before you install your plugin, particularly if that plugin is rated with three stars or less. This could mean that the plugin is poorly developed, which could cut down on your site performance, and adversely affect your WordPress experience for your customers.

4. Optimise Any Widgets

Besides plugins, you can also use widgets to enhance the functionality and features within your WordPress website. However, you should make sure that your widgets are as lightweight and simple as possible. Some will load external CSS or JavaScript when they’re rendered, and this might cause your website to run more slowly.

If the widget you’re considering using isn’t updated often, you can upload it to your server directly. Because this means that you’re not reliant on external servers, it could also mean that you improve your site loading time.

5. Optimise Your Images

Images are likely to make up an important part of your website, by engaging your customers and keeping them interested for longer. However, pictures are also some of the heaviest elements on a site, making up about 60% of web content overall. The good news is that there are ways you can optimise uploaded images on WordPress. For instance, you can:

  • Choose the maximum image dimensions for certain sizes of image. You’ll find the options for doing this within your “Settings/Media” department.
  • Minimise your images with online tools. Solutions that allow you to resize and downsize your images without degrading their quality can be a great way to add visual value to your website, without compromising on site speed.
  • Employ lazy loading features: Finally, this technique is perfect for image-heavy websites, as images are only loaded when they’re visible, not when the page is first loaded. Sometimes, this can help to speed up your web pages drastically, even though there can be a slight delay when displayed images come into view.

6. Use Caching to Speed up High-Traffic Websites

If your website is lucky enough to receive a large amount of traffic, then you might consider using caching to optimise your WordPress experience for customers. Every time a WordPress page is loaded in standard cases the information that is needed to show that page to customers comes from your CSS and database files, combined within an HTML file that then loads onto the browser of your visitor.

On the other hand, when you use caching features, you keep the HTML files that you need ready and available for use with future visitors. This can save you a lot of time and make your website as streamlined as possible.

Remember to Keep Optimising

Above all else, remember that optimising your WordPress install isn’t a one-time process. You’ll need to keep your site in excellent shape by maintaining it as regularly as possible. Think about setting up a schedule that allows you to delete spam comments, delete old posts, and keep plugins updated.