While WordPress is my preferred website platform for my photo blogs as well as my other websites, it isn’t always the fastest software application out of the box. However, there are a number of ways you can speed up and have your WordPress site run more efficiently. Here are 5 ways you can optimize your WordPress blog so that it runs faster and gives your visitors a better experience.
1. Quality WordPress Hosting
Your web hosting can have a significant impact on your website’s performance. While most web hosts offer WordPress with their hosting plans, you need to take a deeper dive into their supporting features as well. Make sure they provide top quality hardware and preferably proprietary technologies for things like page caching and network speed.
Taking it a step further, for the best WordPress experience, you can opt for a managed WordPress hosting plan. Here, you’ll not only get a specifically configured environment for WordPress, but your hosting company will also take care of some of the maintenance tasks associated with maintaining a WordPress site. Personally, I like WP Engine and SiteGround.
2. SEO Plugin
In order to optimize your WordPress blog for the search engines, you need to install a quality SEO plugin. The two most popular are the Yoast SEO Plugin and the All In One SEO Plugin by Michael Torbert. Both of these plugins do an equally good job. I tend to use All In One SEO more often, but the Yoast plugin does include more features such as sitemap functionality.
3. Caching Plugin
If your web hosting plan doesn’t include built in caching, it’s imperative that you install a caching plugin for your site. A caching plugin can significantly decrease your page loading times—especially if your site contains a lot of static content—like photos! When you have a caching plugin installed, your users don’t have to wait while your images are retrieved from your server each time. W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are the two most popular plugins for caching.
4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
If you want to decrease page loading times even more, you can look into utilizing a content delivery network. With a CDN, your photos and other static content is placed on servers across the network—globally. So even if your site’s visitors are located far away from your location, they’ll be able to access your images from a closer server. Some web hosting companies will include a content delivery network with your hosting plan. If not, you can opt for one from a company such as CloudFlare or MaxCDN.
5. Image Optimization Plugin
To further optimize your WordPress site for your photos, you can install an image optimization plugin. When you install a plugin such as the EWWW Image Optimizer, you can further reduce the amount of time it takes to load your images on your webpage.