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Tips to Give WordPress a Kick Start

Ensuring your WordPress website is fast loading not only ensures your visitors are getting the best possible experience, but it means your performance in the search engines may be better. The following guest article by WHICH ISP explores some helpful WordPress tips to improve page load speed.

Having a fast loading website isn’t just a vanity thing; it has many benefits to both your users and even your performance in the search engines. People often take fast loading Internet connections for granted nowadays, but not everybody has got broadband you’ll be surprised to hear. Catering for dial up users is something that can be done by following even some basic WordPress tips – and here’s how.

1. Reduce Document Size

If you have ever tried to upload a large document, or send one to a friend, then you will know how long it can take – even with fast connections. For visitors to your website it is essentially the same process – the users’ browser has to download the web document (be that HTML or any other type), and it can be made very lengthy by having a large document. To reduce the size of a web page, try:

•Externalising inline code such as CSS, JavaScript and PHP
•Only including files that are necessary in the document (don’t need to load the sidebar on all areas of the site? Then don’t include it all the time)
<•Removing unnecessary whitespace (any line breaks and spaces that aren't needed)2. Limit Database Interaction
Often with custom WordPress themes you will find that hard-coded links such as the ones to style sheet directories have been replaced by dynamic PHP queries and unnecessary database interaction. In the instances where you know the link destination won’t ever differ, it makes sense to keep the database interaction to a minimum. For example, removing lines of code that look like this:

<?php bloginfo(‘template_url’); ?>

And replacing with the URL directory to your theme folder, for example:

3. Use Suitable Hosting
If you have a high-traffic WordPress website then you should be using a powerful web host that meets the requirements that your site needs. Hosting is one of the issues that people overlook when setting up websites, as they presume the cheapest option will often be fine, but beware of this tactic. Choosing a proven Linux web hosting package that delivers the maximum performance within your budget is usually the best way to go when using WordPress.

4. Keep up to Date
Although this seems an obvious one, it can often be forgotten with WordPress websites – especially ones in which the backend isn’t being logged in to regularly. With each new update that is released for WordPress, there are often key changes to the security and performance of the software. Keeping up to date is crucial for both speed and security, so make sure you are updating whenever you can. As a side note, here is a quick way to ensure your files are kept safe when upgrading.

i. Take a back up of the complete WordPress database (either via PHPMyAdmin or similar)
ii. Back up the theme folder, which is kept in /wp-content/themes by default
iii. Upgrade WordPress through the automatic upgrade in the admin dashboard
iv. Upgrade any plugins through the automatic plugin upgrade on the plugins page

5. Optimise Image Performance
A final, and often most important, point in speeding up WordPress is the images on a website. If your website is very image-heavy then optimising them can save seconds off page load time (it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is). To optimise images to load faster, try the following:

•Use image compression when initially saving the images (in Photoshop, for example)
•Compress images even further before setting them live (try Yahoo! Smush.it)
•Set heights and widths on all images across the website

So there you have it. Just because your website may be loading quickly on your home Internet connection isn’t to say that it loads fast for everybody. Try following some of the simple steps listed above and see how much you can squeeze out of your WordPress website.

Author: WHICH ISP – helping find you the best internet provider

Image: J Fry / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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