Today, an incredible online experience is the key to building a loyal base of avid followers for your brand. The more you focus on building an exceptional experience for your customers online, the more likely it is that they'll advocate for your company on social media and other sharing sites. What's more, you might find that an improved website performance also helps you to achieve a better ranking on the Google search results too, as many algorithms dictate "speed" as being crucial to page value.
Since WordPress happens to be the most popular CMS in the world today, it makes sense that most people looking to optimise their website experience would be searching for tips on how to make their WordPress journey more effective. Here are 7 optimisation tricks that you might not have considered yet, to help you get started.
1. Set up a CDN
Regardless of where your readers are coming to your website from, you should be safe in the knowledge that your content is being delivered quickly and effectively. Of course, if your site isn't on an infrastructure that's supported by data centres around the world, this can be increasingly difficult. Distance can lead to lag, which is why a CDN is so useful.
A CDN, or content delivery network ensures faster load times on your pages because your site is configured on the server that's closest to your visitor. Different data centres around the world store static files and deliver them based on visitor location.
2. Split Up Excessive Comments
If you're getting a lot of feedback from followers on your blog posts, this is a great thing for customer engagement, but it can also slow down your pages too! Breaking the comment section into pages can be a great way to reduce loading times, without stealing your customer's voice away from them.
All you need to do is go to your Settings tab on WordPress, then into the "discussions" section. From there, you can pinpoint the number of comments you'd like to load per page, which should help to boost page loading times.
There are plenty of plugins out there that can help you to minify code, just make sure that you read the reviews before choosing the one that's right for you.
4. Refine Your Database
When you don't spring-clean your WordPress database enough, it can begin to accumulate more clutter with time, making it harder for things to run smoothly. Clean up any leftover tables from plugins, and get rid of overheads wherever you can. There are plenty of plugins that allow you to clean up your database in seconds, or you can always do the process manually if you know how to work with WordPress. Just remember that it can be tricky for a beginner.
5. Upgrade to PHP 7
Most WordPress users don't realise this, but upgrading to PHP 7 can make a huge difference to the speed and performance of your site. In fact, you may find that PHP 7 handles uncached hits from your site as much as three times faster than the previous version PHP 5.5. Before you make the switch, make sure you understand that PHP 7 isn't backwards compatible. You won't be able to go back to legacy solutions after you've made the upgrade. Test your site before you commit.
6. Allow GZIP Compression
Whenever a new user comes to your site, your server is asked to deliver files straight to their browser. The bigger your files are, the longer the loading time is. GZIP allows you to compress style sheets and web pages before you send them to the end user. This can be enabled through the .htaccess file, or you can ask your hosting provider to set it up for you.
7. Forget Shared Hosting
Though shared hosting can be a great idea for companies that are just starting out, it's not as beneficial for companies who need more speed and reliability. If your business really starts to take off and you need more bandwidth or disk space, then you'll need to consider upgrading to a more dedicated solution for your server. Even a VPS could be a better option for those who need a little extra space to breathe.