WordPress Speed Optimization- Complete Guide – Part 2

In our previous guide on speed optimization, we talked about the 10 crucial parts of speeding up your website. This is a continuation of that guide.

Now that we know the basics of speed optimization, let’s explore the remaining topics in more depth.

1. Reduce CSS and JavaScript file sizes.

While CSS and JavaScript are essential for your website, these files need to be transferred from your web server to a web browser every time someone visits one of your pages. With that in mind, you want these files to be as small as possible without compromising your site’s appearance or functionality. In other words, smaller files mean faster loading times.

To accomplish this task, use a free WordPress plugin named Autoptimize. This effective tool scans your CSS and JavaScript files, eliminates any superfluous code (like spaces and comments), and compresses the files to load quickly without lag.

If you want to learn how to better optimize your JavaScript and CSS files, read this excellent tutorial from Ahrefs. In addition to file optimization, it provides other great tips for making WordPress load faster.

2. Install a WordPress caching plugin.

WordPress usually doesn’t have performance issues, however when it does they’re almost always because of how WordPress builds web pages on the server side.

Each time a visitor opens a web page on a website that is not cached, the relevant content must be retrieved from the WordPress database by PHP. This process of creating an HTML file can take more time than sending a pre-written web page, but dynamic website content becomes possible.

A caching plugin can make your website run more quickly and efficiently. It builds HTML pages using PHP, then saves these full HTML pages to be sent to future visitors when requested. This process eliminates the need to rebuild each page every time someone visits your site, thus speeding up the delivery of your content.

3. Simplify your page designs and content.

A great way to make your website faster is by reducing the amount of content on each page. This can be achieved by streamlining your designs and making them more minimalistic.

This style has been popular for around ten years now, as it offers many benefits such as using fewer resources and quicker load times on different browsers. Not to mention, simpler pages are often much easier for visitors to navigate.

User experience is more streamlined with fewer elements on a page, lessening the chance of overwhelming visitors. In addition, pages with minimalistic designs are typically much easier to make responsive for various screen sizes.

Begin on your homepage, and then take some time to analyze the content of every page. After that, remove anything that isn’t completely necessary. Even though it can be difficult to do this – especially if you’re attached to your current design – it can make a big difference in how well your website performs.

4. Avoid redirects.

I know what it’s like. You delete a post, move something around, or need to change your site’s organization and suddenly you’re faced with 404 errors. To save yourself the headache, use permanent redirects instead.

Although redirects are often essential, it’s best to limit the number of redirects on your WordPress site since each one lengthens loading time. If you have multiple redirects that send visitors to other redirects, this can significantly slow down your website. To avoid a plethora of redirect chains, optimize your site architecture early on in the design process.

5. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks.

Pingback and trackback are both WordPress technologies that allow for notifications to be sent to external websites when you link to them, or when someone else links to your site. For example, if there’s a blog post with a link to hubspot.com on your website, you can set it up so WordPress will notify the owners of hubspot.com that their website was linked to.

Although there are some benefits to using pingbacks and trackbacks for marketing, many WordPress experts argue that the disadvantages far outweigh any potential positives. For example, they use unnecessary server resources and can attract spam comments and DDoS attacks. If you want to keep track of backlinks, you can do so with an external analysis tool–and there are plenty of other ways to earn backlinks to your site.

We strongly suggest that you disable pingbacks and trackbacks. To do so, go to Settings > Discussion in your dashboard and uncheck the first two options, Attempt to notify… and Allow link notifications

6. Use a CDN.

Another reason for less-than-optimal performance is the real-world distance from your web server’s physical location to the user. This can be a big problem for international users or those in rural areas. Fortunately, though, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to mitigate this issue.

A CDN is a group of web servers that are spread out around the world and store copies of your website’s JavaScript, CSS, and image files. When somebody wants to visit your site, the server nearest to them will send those files to their device. This way, a CDN can help make sure that people all over the globe can load your pages quickly.

Any WordPress site manager can set up and oversee a CDN with ease. Usually, your hosting provider will present a CDN service as part of your plan or else as a paid integration–and then your chosen CDN manages all content distribution for you. A few well-known CDNs are Cloudflare and StackPath.

7. Limit external scripts.

External scripts are code files that your website uses but are not stored on your own web server. These kinds of scripts are common with third-party analytics tools and plugins like Google Analytics and Crazy Egg, and ad networks like Google AdSense. Examples of themes that also use external sure to load JavaScript files, CSS files, and other media items include WordPress..

While external scripts can occasionally be beneficial, they often come at the cost of your site’s speed. Carefully consider if the pros of added functionality are worth the potential performance hit before implementing any changes to your website.

8. Don’t fall victim to hotlinking.

Many performance optimization tips for WordPress recommend changes to your own website. However, hotlinking is an exception where the problem lies with someone else’s site.

Hotlinking occurs when one website uses a resource, like an image, that is hosted on another site instead of its own server space. If multiple sites hotlink your content, then they’re essentially displaying it on their pages without shouldering any hosting costs or considering potential performance impacts.

If I find an infographic on another website that I want to use for my blog post, the proper way would be to download the image and upload it onto my site. If hotlinking were to occur (which takes place when you link from someone else’s site rather than your own), then I would be loading the image from their server as opposed to mine. Not only is this plagiarism, but it also eats up other peoples’ bandwidth!

9. Schedule tasks for low-traffic periods.

Automating scheduled tasks like security scans, updates, and backups can help ensure website health without monopolizing your time.

Try running background tasks when traffic is low to prevent overworking your server during peak times. Look at your traffic analysis tool to help you determine the best days and times of day for these types of scheduled tasks.

If you’re still experiencing performance issues, try changing the frequency of your background tasks. For example, instead of running daily backups, run them every other day or once a week.

10. Split long posts into multiple parts.

If you have carried out the steps written above and are still not content with your website’s load time, it may be that some pages contain too much information. Posts that include many images and interactive data will naturally take longer to process–perhaps consider turning them into multiple posts instead. Oftentimes, this can be done without bothering the user experience greatly.

We have created a complete Speed Optimization Guide that is split into two parts. You can check out the first part here.

The importance of speed optimizing your website can’t be understated. This was just the first part of our comprehensive guide on the topic, with more details to come in future blog posts. So stay tuned!

Our speed optimization service is designed for your business, whether you’re just getting started or need a little help along the way. We offer easy-to-use support channels that are always open and ready to help you get the most out of our service.

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!