It is well known that Google is very demanding regarding the usability of a page. At this point, one of the main factors is the loading time of our web in WordPress. We must always keep in mind that every web in WordPress that we have in production must undergo an optimization process.
The optimization of WordPress will directly affect a decrease in the loading time of our web and with enough security, we will see how the results in Google SERPs will benefit. In fact, we have seen the growth of more than 90 positions in some keywords! In short, worth a try!
We offer some tips to optimize and improve the SEO that needs to be made within WordPress, others that are performed outside and tools that offer metrics to evaluate if we are on the right track.
Performance Metrics Tools for Websites
Before starting to play with anything, it would be good to review a before and after (also during …) to know how our web currently responds and how it improves through these changes. We offer you some resources that can be of help:
We want to highlight this tool for its simplicity. In its home page, we just need to paste our URL and GTmetrix analyzes the response time of the web and evaluates different aspects of performance. The low notes may be susceptible to improvement and that should be one of our starting points. What advantage does GTmetrix offer? It will allow us to optimize our website with tips at each point that we have a low rating. Some improvement points require using our FTP manager.
Webpagetest is one of our favorite tools. Its analysis is quite technical and indicates the loading times of each element of the web, we evaluate the loading time of the web if the images are well optimized or not, if the content is delivered compressed or not, etc. It is a complete tool, although it requires some technical knowledge to correctly interpret all the results.
Google PageSpeed will help us evaluate technical aspects of our website, will offer us options for improvement and will analyze points related to the usability of our website, for example, the loading time to show the first visible content.
There are many tools available, do you know any more?
Improve loading of the web in WordPress without plugins
There are many improvements that mean a decrease in Web load time although not all of them can be beneficial to us. We show you some improvements that, in most cases, are beneficial.
Where is your website hosted?
The main factor for the success of an optimization in 90% of cases is a low performance of the provider of our web service. With which provider are you hosted? What plan are you using and what characteristics do you have? Is it appropriate and specialized in your CMS? These should be the questions you should ask yourself. If you are in doubt when answering, the best thing to do is to consult your provider.
Have you compressed your images?
Images on a website should have a very special treatment. It is not useful to hang an image edited with paint on the web. At least, it should be optimized with some tool like Photoshop or Irfanview (the latter tool is free).
We take an additional step in optimizing images. We can use the free online tool Optimizilla. It allows us to load images in the block, compresses them and allows to download them all at the same time. Without losing quality, you can reduce the size of the images by 70%.
Let’s do a simple calculation: If one of your pages in WordPress weighs 2Mb and 70% are images, we are using approximately 1433Kbs. If we reduce them by 50%, we are saving 716Kbs! That can mean up to one second of charge enhancement.
We know it is a step that can sometimes be “uncomfortable” but the results are worth it and not only you will thank, but your visitors too!
What version of PHP do you use?
Not only in terms of security you should have the latest and stable version of PHP on your website, but it can mean a performance improvement Web. It is a change that usually involves a single click. We have detected that PHP7 brings a remarkable improvement in Web performance.
Check your version of WordPress and the plugins you use are compatible with PHP7. Otherwise, switch to the latest version of PHP5.
Plugins are fine … but not too many!
It is a point that we sometimes meet and that is not respected too much. If you use a template like “bridge”, “Avada”, “X” or others that include by default plugins, try to use necessary one for the proper functioning of your web. Do not activate plugins that you do not use, because, although they are not used, they are likely to load on the web.
We have an important point in this section although we do not want to get too long, improve the load of the web by modifying the .htaccess. We will explain in the next optimization post.
There are much more opportunities for improvement in this field, although not all are simple. We consider that the ones we have explained may be the most interesting. If you need support at these points, do not hesitate to contact us.
Plugins to improve the load of your WordPress
Let’s get into the guts of our content manager. In this case, we will treat WordPress as one of the most used CMS platforms. To improve the performance of our WordPress we will need the use of plugins that allow us to extend and optimize the functionalities that it provides us. Let’s list plugins that we think you should have, or at least consider!
Is your page penalized by a plugin?
Let’s start with the lesser known plugins, possibly. This plugin allows us to take a snapshot of a load of all running plugins from our WordPress and identify which of them may be affecting our performance. Turn off the plugins that penalize us if they are not essential and we will see an improvement in the overall performance of WordPress.
A nice find has been the BJ Lazy Load Plugin. BJ Lazy Load allows you to save bandwidth and reduce page load time by loading only a portion of our web page and, as we move through the page, it loads dynamically. Sometimes it is a bit heavy to set up, although in most cases it should not give you problems.
If you have a blog with many images, this plugin may help you a lot to improve the performance.
We use this plugin in combination with WP Super, although it can be used with any other cache plugin.
Autoptimize allows optimization of HTML, CSS and JS code. In the case of CSS and JS, it compresses the files and binds them together (reduces the number of HTTP requests drastically).
We only have to install the plugin, activate HTML, CSS and JS optimization and the plugin will automatically join all CSS and JS files.
The configuration is much simpler than, for example, W3 Total that offers the same option with “minify”, for this reason, we recommend it.
The caching of web pages is the saving of previously generated pages in a static way in HTML. When a visitor reaches your page, he will be shown this cached version instead of generating it again through WordPress. This makes the work of WordPress easy and the loading time of a page is much faster.
Once the plugin is activated, we can activate the “easy mode”. This mode allows you to enable or disable the main cache options with a single, simple change. We will not go into detail in the advanced zone, we let you discover its advanced features.
It is a WordPress plugin that compresses your images without losing quality. It has the ability to convert GIF images to PNG and eliminate unnecessary data.
Here are some key features of WP Smush.it:
- Removes metadata from JPEG files.
- Optimize JPEG compression.
- Converts from certain GIFs to indexed PNGs
- Removes unused colors from indexed images
One of the main advantages is the compression of all the images of our media manager in a single click.
Once you have taken into consideration or made the proposed improvements, try to pass a GTmetrix again. Remember, if you need help in optimizing your WordPress, we can help you!
In future blog articles, we’ll talk about:
- Optimize your database to improve performance.
- Small codes for your .htaccess. Improve the security and response of your website.
- Optimize your website in Joomla! Small steps for great improvements.
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