How To Optimize WordPress

Elite Optimisation For Your WordPress Site

A Simple Step by Step Tutorial to Make WordPress Work

Left to its own devices, WordPress (WP) can be a slow & cumbersome old hector. This is the same for any website platform, if it isn’t built and assembled correctly, it will NEVER work properly.

The vast majority of web designers do not build websites to perform online.

They might look like websites. They might even contain all of the information that you think you need to include.

BUT…

A website needs much more than that if it is going to perform, successfully find you potential customers and then convert them into paying customers.

95% of websites don’t even rank for their own brand or company name, let alone for what they do, so they can’t be found online.

These same websites don’t have a sales funnel structure to their content, so any visitors they do find aren’t ‘directed’ through a proven sales process towards a purchase.

The majority of these websites have low quality content that doesn’t engage their audience. No visitors stick around long enough to send positive metrics to search engines says that they contain useful, valuable content.

We are WordPress Specialists who can solve these issues.

We will structure your WordPress backend to work properly. We’ll rewrite your content and structure it into a proven sales funnel. It will then not only convert visitors into paying clients, but will send all the positive signals that you need to transmit to become ever more powerful within your niche on the internet.

We will turn your WordPress site into an Authority Website in your business sector.

We are WordPress Special Forces, the Elite WordPress Optimisation Specialists. We only work with WordPress websites and have spent many years perfecting our WordPress optimisation processes. We can take any WordPress site & turn it into a turbocharged selling machine.

There are hundreds of ways you can achieve roughtly the same outcome with WordPress. However, the majority of these possible solutions have drawbacks, pitfalls and negatives that mean they should be avoided.

Two seemingly identical social sharing plugins look like that do the same job for oyu, BUT… one loads every page of your content with hundreds of repetitive social media platform names (negatively affecting your page keyword density) while the other doesn’t.

Everything we do to WordPress has a positive benefit and prevents one or more downsides from occuring. Collectively, all our WordPress processes work together to create the fastest, sleekest, best performing WordPress site possible.

Common WordPress Performance Issues:

  • Load Speed
  • Eliminate Render Blocking Resources
  • Properly Sized Images
  • Minify CSS
  • Minify Javascript
  • Defer Off Screen Images
  • Text Compression
  • Loading Unused CSS
  • Preloading Key Requests
  • Server Response Time
  • Image Formats
  • Minimise Third Party Code
  • JavaScript Execution Time
  • Caching Policy
  • File Combining
  • File Compression

These on their own are not the full story however.

Additionally, once you have fixed the above basics, you also need to address the following content issues:

  • Content Quality
  • Content Structure
  • User Engagement
  • Call To Actions
  • Traffic Flow
  • Cross Linking

Make WordPress Work

Our optimisation processes will work on any website, the principles are the same however your site is built. However, we are Specialist WordPress Performance Consultants. We make WordPress work as well as it’s possible to do so.

There are hundreds of factors to consider.

All are independent of each other, but work together in combination to deliver a high performance web experience.

We have specific requirements we implement on new site builds that are not always possible to reverse engineer into an existing site.

Your choice of WordPress Theme, your choice of web hosting are both critical to your future success and can have a massive impact on how well your site will work….. but that said…. we have yet to meet a WordPress site that we couldn’t optimise to exceed performance expectations using the existing theme and design structure.

WordPress Optimisation

We are not just talking about Optimising WordPress for Google SEO. We deliver so much more than just top rankings. Your WordPress needs to be streamlined so it loads quickly on any device & performs.

When you optimise WordPress, you are not just addressing the needs of search engines. You also need to address the handful of shortcomings that WP will deliver if left to it’s own devices.

Before your build your site on the WordPress platform, there are a few important considerations.

These can be resolved on existing websites. However, it’s generally faster, easier and therefore cheaper to get these WordPress basics right before you create your site if at all possible.

Theme Choices

Some themes perform better than others. Make your decision based on more than simply appearances alone. Your theme needs responsiveness for mobile displays & to use html5 coding.

Themes that state they are SEO friendly are a good starting point, but that still isn’t a guarantee.

Recommendations of the best WP themes to use for different business niches can be beneficial & save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

WordPress websites are driven by a theme, a collection of page templates, CSS files and a MySQL database. To display a page, the relevant page template, style sheet and database content are combined.

WordPress uses ‘Themes” of which there are thousands, both free and paid to choose from. Different themes provide different styling, layouts and functionality.

Different business types often need different ways of displaying their web content. Therefore, theme designers create themes for a huge range of differing business sectors.

Choosing a suitable theme for your site is important, but additionally, there are good as well as badly designed themes, that work better than others.

Paid themes tend to offer a better quality of coding as well as increased flexibility.

Even in 2020, some themes still don’t include mobile responsiveness, which is an essential to allow all your potential users to easily view your content.

Choose a well developed theme from the outset and you will save yourself a lot of time and heartache in the long term.

See More about Choosing a WordPress Theme

Why Use a WordPress Child Theme?

The use of a child theme is highly beneficial. No WP theme will be the perfect solution for your website. You, or your wordpress developer will want to make some styling changes to the theme files. On occasion, theme developers provide updates for their themes. When this happens, they provide a complete set of all the files your site needs.

These files will automatically overwrite your existing theme files when you upload them. If you have made any changes to the styling, layout or theme structure, these will be lost during any updates.

A child theme prevents this from happening, so your theme personalisation is protected. A child theme only needs to include a functions.php file and a CSS style sheet including your modifications, but can also include any other theme files that include modifications. All the standard styling will still be taken from your main theme style sheet.

We create custom child themes for our builds, but you can add a child theme using the “One Click Child Theme Plugin” which is reliable and consistent.

More About WordPress Child Theme Set Up

WordPress Plugins

WordPress uses pieces of code called “Plugins” to provide website functionality. Plugins can be free or paid. In many instances, the free versions offer limited settings and options, although there are many free wp plugins that will do everything you need.

You will need to upgrade to a paid plugin version to access all the available set up options on occasion. Paid plugins are usually for specialist tasks, eCommerce applications and more commercial roles.

Because Core WordPress is updated on a regular basis, many plugins will also require updates to remain compatible. Free plugins are often updated less frequently. This can cause them to fail or cause you problems.

Essential WP Plugins

While many plugins provide complex functionality, others add basic useability for your site. Which ones you choose are of course totally up to you, but here is a link to a list of the ones that work well that we currently use;

More About WordPress Plugins & Which WP Plugins to Use

WordPress Image Compression

Images will have a huge impact on your sites performance.

By default, WordPress uses raw files as you upload them. WordPress will not stop you or warn you that uploading 5MB images is a bad thing.

Consequently while your WP Theme will often resize your uploaded images so they display correctly, you will still have a 5MB image being loaded even to render thumbnail images.

This makes it quite common to see slow loading sites waiting for massive file size images to download.

There are several ways to reduce the file sizes of images.

1. Upload large files & rely on a plugin to compress them for you

2. Resize & Compress images before you upload them.

You can use one of the available plugins to crunch files once you have uploaded them to your server. We prefer Smush & TinyJPG but there are others.

Alternatively, you can compress images for the web before you upload them.

There are several advantages to this approach.

Resizing & Compressing images are two different things.

Resizing is the reduction of image size in pixels, Compressing is the process of removing all the unnecessary data from an image to dramatically reduce its file size.

We use Photoshop to resize & compress images and graphics so they are web ready.

One advantage is that image compression plugins can sometimes fail.

If a plugin were to become incompatible with your version of WP or your MySQL database version, or your PHP version your server is running then all your plugin compressed images will revert to full size.

The consequence of this is that your site will slow down, causing Google to reduce all your rankings and you will lose traffic.

Compression of your source images removes this issue, permanently.

See more about resizing and compressing images and Free Tools here

WP Widgets

WordPress is a flexible platform, allowing you to create anything you can imagine beautifully, with minimal coding.

Widget areas are common areas such as sidebars, footers etc. If you want to display similar content across a range of pages, widgets are the best solution.

Widgets allow you to update these areas of pages, sitewide by changing just one file.

Widget areas have a wide range of functions & plugins can extend the functionality further.

Website Optimisation Basics

These are the WP basics you need to have in place;

  • Fast Server
  • SEO Friendly Theme
  • Mobile Responsive Theme
  • Gzip Compression
  • CSS & JavaScript Optimisation
  • Image Compression
  • Above the Fold Render Blocking

These will ensure that your WordPress website is optimised for performance.

You still need to optimise your site for search engines.

This falls into two important areas; on-page & off-page….

On-Page SEO

On page optimisation refers to everything you need to do to the pages of your website.

Install the Yoast SEO WP Plugin. When you add a focus keyword the plugin will show you how well optimised your page content is for that word or phrase.

If you need to find a list of suitable keywords to optimise for, see here for keyword research information.

The second important feature Yoast offers is a readability analyser. This provides information as used by Google to determine if your content is easy to read.

In an ideal world, each of your pages needs a Green tick for SEO & Readability.

Read more about on-page SEO here…

Off-Page SEO

Off page SEO is the same for wordpress as it is for other website platforms.

Backlinks at the fuel that powers search engine rankings and building these links is at the heart of off-page SEO. It is everything that you do to your site off-page.

This also includes social media activity.

Read about off-page SEO…

Let’s Get Started…

If you are new to WordPress, we suggest that you work through this WP Tutorial and follow the steps at each stage. This way you will address everything your site needs to become a major player within your business sector.

If you’re more experienced and only need specific solutions to WP issues you have already identified, feel free to dive straight to the relevant section…

Step 1…… Is your WordPress Set Up Optimised?