Top 10 Techniques for tuning-up WordPress and Increasing Site Responsiveness

Strassenschild 39 - Highspeed

WordPress is a great CMS (Content Management System). Sometimes though, if the proper precautions are not taken into account or if not used in the most optimized way, you could ultimately end up with a slow loading site. For repeat visitors, that could be a major turn off – and by that fact alone, could cause you to lose subscribers and customers. Also slow loading sites, in Google’s eyes, do receive a negative ranking factor.

This article could go on for pages, but the point will be to cover the top dozen ways that have been discovered to visibly tune up and speed up WordPress.

Speed Is Important in several ways

When a visitor opens your site for the 1st time, there is really only a few seconds to capture their attention and convince them to continue navigating the site.

Microsoft’s Bing conducted a survey regarding this. The report found that a “two second” extra delay in page loading and response diminished visitor satisfaction by 4%, with as estimated lost revenue per visitor of 4.3%, and a inhibited page clicks by about 5%.

If your site just takes “too long” to load, most people will just click off or back to the rest of their search results; before your website even had a chance with them.

It is worth repeating that Google now includes site speed as a significant factor in its ranking algorithms. Therefore a websites’ speed has an effect on SEO. So a slow site is reducing your business in two major ways. If you have a WordPress site, how can we fix it?

How can you tune-up WordPress?

The following tips are not listed in order of speed or importance. I guarantee that using even a few will help speed up your site.

A. Choose 4GoodHosting to make sure you are on a fast underutilized server

When just getting your feet wet, a shared host with overloaded servers might seem like a bargain. It comes at another cost: painfully slow site speed and all too frequent down time..
Periodic stress of having your site frequently slowing or going down is enough to create a some more gray hairs. Don’t be a victim, rather invest in invest in proper, yet still economical, hosting.

B. Start with a solid framework/theme

The Twenty Fifteen theme { the default WordPress theme } is lightweight and quite speedy framework.. They keep the programming efficient & simple; compare that to some random bloated themes, which usually have lots of features that you will never use, but also slowing your site to a crawl.

C. Automatic image compression

Yahoo! Produced an image optimizer called “Smush”. It automatically and drastically reduces the file size of an image; without reducing quality.

Fortunately somebody coverted that into called WP-SmushIt which will process you images automatically – as you are upload them. This one should come standard with WordPress. There is no side-effect to installing this this plugin.

D. Install an effective caching plugin

WP-plugins, some of the best, fall under the caching category – as they drastically improve page loads times. All of them on WordPress.org are free & easy to use.

But our favorite, bar no others so far, is W3 Total Cache; it has all of the features you’ll need – and is extremely easy to install & use.

Simply install & activate, *and watch your page load faster*, as elements are cached.

E. Add LazyLoad to your images

LazyLoad is only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window are downloaded. Subsequently when reader scrolls down, the other images are then fetched; just before they scroll into view.
This will not only increase the speed of your page loads, it will also save bandwidth through loading less data for those who don’t scroll all the way down page.
To enable LazyLoad, install the jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin.

F. Optimize your homepage to load quickly

Your homepage is the most important part of your site, because people will be loading that page the most often.

Various things that you can do include:
· Reduce the number of posts on the page, such has showing between 5-7
· Showing excerpts instead of full posts
· Showing excerpts instead of full posts using the <p>read_more</p> tag.

· Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
· Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the home page (include them only in posts)
· Keep it minimal! Readers are looking for content, not a dozen widgets on the homepage
A minimalistic, clean & focused design will help your page not only look good, but also quickly load.

G. Optimizing your WP database

The WP-Optimize plugin is a good choice. This plugin lets you do just one simple task: optimize your DB { post revisions, spam, drafts, tables, etc.} to reduce their overhead. We also recommend the WP-DB Manager plugin – which can schedule dates for database optimization.

H. Hotlinking and leeching of your content (and how to disable it)

A form of bandwidth-theft called “Hotlinking” occurs when other sites link directly to images on your website from their articles; therefore making your server load increasingly high instead of theirs.
To avoid that:

Place this code in your root .htaccess file:
disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?YOUR-DOMAIN-NAME.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?feeds2.feedburner.com/OUR-DOMAIN-NAME [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

I. Adjust Gravatar images

You’ll notice on this site that the default Gravatar image is set to… well, nothing.
This is not an aesthetic choice, I did it because it improves page loads by simply having nothing where there would normally be a goofy looking Gravatar logo or some other nonsense.
Some blogs go as far to disable them throughout the site, and for everyone.
You can do either, just know that it will at least benefit your site speed if you set the default image (found in “Discussion”, under the settings tab in the WordPress dashboard) to a blank space rather than a default image.

J. Add in an “expires header” to static resources

An “Expires header” is a way to specify a time, far enough in the future, so that the client browsers don’t have to re-fetch any static content such as: javascript, css files, images, etc) With this technique you can cut your site loading time significantly (for your regular users).
To activate Exprres Headers. just copy & paste the following code in your root .htaccess file. The above are set for a month (in seconds). You can change them as you wish.
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000

Please let us know at support@4goodhosting.com how much the tips helped your page load times, we’d like to hear about your success with these techniques. We transfer for you for free!

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