How can I improve the performance of my WordPress blog (Part 2)
In Part 1 of, “How can I improve the performance of my WordPress website at my current host” I focused on common web server related tips and techniques to improve performance on shared hosting accounts.
In part 2, I will be focusing on the brass tacks, the web design level tweaking needed to improve the performance of your WordPress blog today.
Since reading part 1, you have since:
- Set your website to use a CDN, like Cloudflare, MaxCDN or KeyCDN.
- Removed or disabled all extraneous plugins.
- Optimized your database and limited post revisions.
- And settled on a caching plugin, like W3 Total Cache, AutoOptimize, WP Fastest Cache or WP Super Cache.
If not, please-please do so before reading further.
Let’s move along to the fun stuff!
First, have you tested your website?
In part 1, we discussed various testing tools, like GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights, Webpagetest dot org, Whichloadsfaster, and Pingdom.
Let’s be real for a moment. If you can’t be found in Google you don’t exist. So let’s start there. Google PageSpeed Insights is your friend. GTmetrix is a close second for performance checking. Run your website in both, identify the recommended “suggestions” and work to push your performance scores over 85.
Second, focus on localizing your links and data
While Google fonts, Twitter feeds and YouTube vids are wicked cool, keep in mind that any external “data” you attempt to include within your pages may slow your site down as well. Your website may be hosted on a $999 a month dedicated server with the fastest hard drives known to man and still load slower than a buck a month hosting account serviced out of Nigeria…
The best ways to slow your website to a crawl:
- Install a live twitter feed on your home page.
- Add an auto loading YouTube video to your home page.
- Include the stylesheets of other websites in your header.
- Put your stylesheets in the footer of your pages.
- Do not compress your images.
The best ways to speed up your website:
- Install plugins that cache media instead of inserting live feeds or image data.
- Research and utilize CSS Sprites. SpriteMe is pretty awesome.
- Hunt down and kill with extreme prejudice all extra not active stylesheets, and image links within your active stylesheets which you no longer need. Try WP Asset Clean Up
- Use image compression plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer, TinyPNG, or WP Smush to make those big images smaller.
- Upgrade your plugins, WordPress core, and themes, at least monthly.
- Set up your robots.txt file to reduce bot crawling effects. See the Robot Control Code Generation Tool website for more details.
- Use testing plugins like P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) and Query Monitor to search and explore the dynamics of your plugins and themes.
- Use security plugins to block bad bots.
In my best caveman voice, “External Bad, Internal Good! Bots Bad, Caching Good.”