Blogging on WordPress is the perfect choice. Your slight learning curve in the beginning will be well worth it once your reader traffic grows and you have followers. WordPress offers such functionality and impressive options that create an enjoyable experience for your fans and the brands that want to work with you. The options you can choose to design, optimize and grow your blog are endless and each one comes at a cost; the response time of your website. Not to worry. Here are some of the best WordPress speed hacks that I’ve found floating around the blogosphere.
Without writing code, the best way to create all of the fun stuff on your WordPress blog is with plugins or a little pre-publish optimization. There is literally a plugin for everything now (well not one that does my laundry sadly). Each plugin is like a little micro-machine doing its thang….
Problem is, as new bloggers we get plugin happy and add everything to our site…cuz’ it’s fun. GUILTY. Then you realize that your readers are heading for the hills because it takes so long to view anything on your pages. We don’t want this!
Main goal 101: Keep readers on your site.
Before we start our WordPress speed hacks, we’ll need to know what your blog’s speed is. Then make sure that you periodically check your site speed for any outages. There are several websites that offer speed metrics and are considered the standard. Once you know where you stand, move on to improving your blog’s performance by using their suggested tips.
GTmetrix is one of my faves.
PageSpeed Tools is Google’s answer to this issue.
WordPress speed hacks to increase reader experience + make them love you
Optimize your photos
Got photos? You better. Big beautiful photos are a must for any blog. Who wants to visit a website without pictures more than once? Ahhh nobody. The trouble is that all of those photos are taking up space on your files. And when someone visits your site and wants to read a post, all of those photos need to be loaded and ready. So the larger they are, the longer it takes to view.
Tips to optimize photos without a plugin:
- Create the photo in Canva or Picmonkey in the exact dimensions of your site space
- Name photos with the inclusion of dashes (not “my dog is cute” but “my-dog-is-cute”)
- Assign size attributes inside your WordPress dashboard media settings
- Compress photos prior to uploading with a free program like Gimp
- Use JPG for general photos
- Use PNG for higher quality resolution (larger file so beware)
Plugin to optimize photos that won’t slow you down too much:
EWWW Image Optimizer: They have an awesome bulk optimize button so you can do all of your media files at once. And the photo is further optimized as soon as you upload it to your post so it builds on the improvements you’ve already made in the first tip section. You can also use their advanced settings to optimize the WordPress files so even your theme’s photos will be given the once over.
Deactivate plugins that only need occasional use:
Plugins don’t always need to be active. Sometimes, it’s better to add the plugin, use it right away and then deactivate (or even delete) it when done. You still get the benefits of using the plugin but it’s not constantly running in the background messing with your blog speed. A great example of WordPress speed hacks is to only use a backup plugin occasionally.
Backup your blog weekly if you’re only posting new articles that frequently. Turn on or activate your plugin each Sunday, run the backup, and then turn it back off when the backup is complete. Better yet, have your host run and keep your backup files daily. Most do this for you. Siteground does [aff link].
There are many tasks that don’t need to be done daily so review all of your plugins and see which ones can quietly rest in the background from time to time.
Doublecheck which plugins are being naughty
You can use a plugin to tattle on the other plugins. Naughty right? But seriously. Every once and awhile run the P3 performance plugin to see if any particular plugin you’ve installed is the culprit for your blog loading like a turtle. No offense turtle lovers (I actually own 3).
It sounds sort of counter-intuitive to install a plugin, which will slow your site, to check which plugins are slowing your site…but this is one of those “use only as needed” plugins so no worries.
Run the P3 plugin and see which plugins installed are your biggest slow speed offenders. Once analyzed, if you can optimize do it.
- Run P3
- Delete any plugins you no longer want
- Deactivate any plugins that are for occasional use
- Look for comparable plugins and switch
PRO TIP: There are so many plugins that do the same thing so find one that uses less resources and switch. Install and setup the new plugin then deactivate and delete the old one. Voila!
Eliminate sidebar advertising
I can hear the grumbling already. Unless you are making a shit load of money from your ad networks, delete them. Sell your own stuff like I do on my Work With Me page. The code for the widget ads are calling scripts when loading and are a huge speed suck. Really think long and hard (if ads aren’t producing) if they are worth it. They annoy your readers anyway so if not making you money-delete them.
Don’t upload video
One of the best WordPress speed hacks came directly from WordPress. We can now link to any video by simply dropping its url in your post, there is no longer any reason to actually house a video on your site. Upload the video to your Youtube channel, grab its url link and place that in your post. It’s really a double whammy. Your readers will search for keywords in Youtube and find your video and also be able to view the video in your blog posts. No worries about slowing down your site with video because Youtube houses it for you. I’d rather they pay for that storage. Thanks Youtube.
Use a great website host
No secret that I love and recommend Siteground (hint: so does WordPress) and they have protocols in place to bring you the fastest speeds available for your site. They’ll offer suggestions if your blog is lagging a bit and they’ll even optimize your site for performance during a chat.
Be sure to pick a host company that cares about your business that blogs by making sure your blog is running smoothly, efficiently and quickly. Shared servers have the potential for lag so sign on with a company that watches and fixes that for you.
Cache your site
Caching your site just means that it is holding the page information from your first reader’s visit for those that show up at the same time. It doesn’t have to reload all of the info for multiple visitors, it simply offers them a “copy” of the initial page. A lot of gobbledy gook that means it speeds up your potential client’s interaction and heightens their experience. Aren’t WordPress speed hacks fun? You can install a cache plugin or let your host do this for you. <<pick that one
PRO TIP: Siteground will cache your site for you so you don’t need a plugin.
See how easy it is to add some WordPress speed hacks to your daily to do list? Plugins are so useful so just be mindful that they do affect your blog’s speed and your readers want to be in and out fast. Keep your plugins to a minimum and use them only when needed. Analyze your site’s speed often and make performance enhancements or hire someone to do it for you. Enjoy the functionality that each plugin brings, just don’t go overboard.
What is your best WordPress speed hack?
Your blog biz best friend, Cee Lee
PS: Not sure why WordPress is King? Read all about why you should be on this platform.