15 tips to optimize WordPress for a business

Starting an online business scares many budding entrepreneurs, who believe that you have to know everything in order to start a business or to be successful. But if you have a good idea, have learned to optimize WordPress, tested it extensively in terms of target audience, strengths and weaknesses, financing and the competitive environment, you should not be dissuaded, just because you think you do not have sufficient knowledge or your products are still there not mature enough.

It’s better to start with an imperfect online business and to optimize it step by step rather than rely on the perfect business and delay the start again and again.

Tips to optimize WordPress for a business

Here are the steps to optimize and improve the performance of WordPress for a business in order of relevance, so the first will always be more important than the last. Within each point will describe the steps to perform the optimization yourself.

1. Choose and hire a hosting capable of moving your WordPress installation

You cannot pretend to optimize your WordPress installation and improve your loading time without a hosting that supports it. You can have made the best configuration in the world, that when the moment of truth comes, you will continue the same. For this, you must pay attention to certain hardware requirements that the WordPress hosting you choose must have. As a general rule, your hosting must have in its system:

  • SSD hard drives, since they have a much higher reading/writing speed and lower energy consumption.
  • PHP Memory-Limit, to be able to increase the memory, being the minimum recommendation of 64MB (although you better the 128MB).
  • PHP 7, since the majority of published studies, indicate that it improves the performance concerning PHP 5.6 by 100%, that is, that WordPress runs in almost half the time.
  • HTTP / 2, since it is more secure, transmit binary data instead of text and create only 1 connection, so the performance of WordPress increases enormously.

2. HTTPS or SSL certificate

Although it is not proven to improve performance, it can improve your web positioning. Another point is the difference between a shared hosting, a VPS, a dedicated server and a cloud hosting. In shared hosting, you share your web space and the performance of it with other web pages (can be between a few tens to hundreds). Its only advantage is the price (between € 4 and € 8), but It is recommended for projects (small) that start from scratch (at the beginning you do not need more, and you can always improve it), since it is not necessary to resort to significant investments in technology point as long as the web traffic does not go up.

3. Contract a VPS server, also known as a Virtual Server

Although the shared accommodation consists of renting a small room, a VPS server is the equivalent of renting a room inside the building. Thus, you have much more capacity and space available to host one or more web pages at the same time, so the performance increases. The price would be between € 15 and € 40, depending on the provider and their “extras”. It is recommended this type of server for websites that already have some traffic (from 100,000 visits/month) and want to improve their WPO.

The highest category of hosting, and also the most expensive, is the hiring of a dedicated server. Although with a shared accommodation we have a room and with a VPS server we have a local, with a dedicated server we rent the whole building in full. A dedicated server means that you have at your disposal an entire machine for use, and you can do more with confidence.

This hosting is the most powerful by far since it avoids sharing of resources with other clients of your hosting provider. However, it is a costly option (starting at € 60) and, moreover, not flexible like a VPS server. This is because you are hiring a physical computer, and if you need to expand or reduce your benefits, a technician will have to open it and change the pieces of hardware. It is recommended for large projects and with a lot of traffic, where you want to control the whole spectrum.

4. Be prepared to configure a good caching system

Did you know about cache? By caching, I suggest that your website, after the first time it has been fully loaded, will not return to make more requests to the web server (from the user’s browser). If it is done, the page is rendered step by step from the internal memory of the browser in which you are.

The advantage of this caching is obvious because in this way WordPress does not have to recalculate your page every time it is called, but it can load a variation wholly calculated from the cache of your browser reducing the requests to the server and improving your time load. Since WordPress is based on PHP, a programming language that does not shine because of its performance (it is somewhat slow although it has improved a lot with its new PHP 7 version), having a cache memory becomes a primary issue, since it prevents PHP from being reread.

5. Clean 100% inactive plugins

One of the most common causes of a slow or low optimization speed, from experience, is having an overloaded WordPress installation. This overload is due, in no small extent, to the fact that there are too many plugins installed (the plugins are very cool, but they add weight to the page and make their performance go down). In summary, the fewer plugins you have installed the faster your website will be.

But calm! To be clear, don’t erase right and left (a reader recently did and took his blog). All plugins are pieces of code that help perform functions that otherwise would be difficult and expensive to do. But sometimes they complicate more than help and become counterproductive. Either because they do not do their job correctly, because they conflict with other plugins, because they overload the server or whatever, it is essential to keep this type of plugins at bay.

This is when the plugin P3-Plugin Performance Profiler comes into play, which allows you to detect which of your plugins are impacting the loading times of the website. With the report it generates, you will be able to identify which plugins are slowing down the loading speed of your web page or blog. If there is a plugin that affects the performance of your website in excess, it is an excellent time to search and find alternative plugins.

6. Disable anything you have installed but don’t use

For example, often times, the use of plugins like Thumbnail Regenerator, Theme Check or P3, although these offer an added value when you use them.

The background of your page (what happens behind the scenes) works in the following way: each plugin and template generates extra PHP code to your website. This also applies to plugins disabled or not deleted, which will make your page more voluminous, slow and insecure. Therefore, the less you have, the better. Here are explanations of how to remove the plugins:

  • Go to the “Plugins” section of the side menu of your WordPress installation to see the list of plugins you have installed in your installation.
  • Look carefully at what plugins you have active (and inactive) and use P3- Plugin Performance Profiler to see which the most resources are consuming.
  • Once you have decided on the plugins you are left with, delete the ones you are not going to use (remember that you have to deactivate them beforehand) and update them to the latest version.
    But not all are plugins, since, many times, we leave the templates that WordPress brings by default on the server. These issues take up space and, sometimes, also resources. As they are templates that you will not use, it is best to eliminate them and keep the theme that you are going to use. For that reason, here is a brief explanation of how to eliminate the topics that you do not use: Go to the “Appearance> Themes” section of the sidebar of your WordPress installation to see the list of templates you have installed in your installation.
  • Take a look at which theme is active (and inactive), delete those you are not going to use, and update to the latest version to avoid problems.

7. Add image compression to your To-Do list

You can improve the loading time of your website is the simple fact of compressing the images you upload. This small action can help you save a lot of space on your server. In what we call “lossless image compression”, the file size is reduced, but without losing its quality. This allows that there is no significant difference in the quality of the image but, at the same time, it significantly reduces the weight of the website, achieving a better optimization.

There are 3 decisions that a web developer has to make regarding the choice of an image format: transparency, animation or high-quality data. PNG is referred to the simple format that supports transparency and lossless compression. It allows defining an alpha channel for the image, to mask the transparent areas, as well as an option to enable a Deflate compressor without data loss. (Deflate is a combination of two compressors without losses: LZ77 and Huffman). Since the compression is lossless, the image quality remains identical to the source image. However, this causes some problems, since the size of the file tends to rise and not as small as it should be.

8. The GIF

GIF is another format that supports transparencies, in addition to animations. The GIF consists of two stages of compression, one step of palletizing with losses (limiting the image to 256 colors), followed by an LZW compressor without losses. The process of quantifying the colors of the image to only 256 provides a very high-quality reduction in favor of a better compression size, which tends to produce better LZW compression.

By estimates of the HTTP-Archive organization, images are often to blame for the larger data portion on many websites. Therefore, reducing and optimizing them should be the first step for any type of optimization. Plugins like WP-SmushIT help you generate a great impact on the loading time of your website being very easy to use and making a minimal effort for you. It is important to optimize both the images that are going to upload new and existing ones.

9. Combine, reduce and compress CSS and Javascript resources

Another of the highest demands for resources on a website is usually JavaScript and CSS files. This is where many users are afraid to take any action. But even with little programming knowledge, you can easily understand what should be done to optimize CSS and JavaScript files and, therefore, the performance of WordPress. Mainly there are three things you can do:

  • Combine: Normally, CSS and JavaScript files make requests from the browser to the server separately. This creates individual HTTP requests, which generates an increase in the loading time of your website. However, if you reduce these files, the number of requests that must be made is drastically reduced. For example, 53 requests can be reduced without much trouble to 12. For this, there is Autoptimize, a plugin that helps you to do this job. It is straightforward to use and allows you to concatenate (join) all files, scripts, and CSS. It minimizes them and compresses them, saving them in the cache memory and allowing your page to load much faster.
  • Reduce: CSS and JavaScript files are lines of code that allow your website to have its own design and functionality. It is a code written by people, but that is interpreted by machines. Why is this important to know? Because normally what a person needs to understand a code a computer does not need it. Therefore, spaces, comments, etc., are not mandatory for the proper functioning of your website. At this point is where plugins like Autoptimize and Better WordPress Minify help you convert CSS and JavaScript files to machine-readable code. This enables you to save many bytes of space and makes each individual data packet smaller so there will be better performance.
  • Compress: After combining and reducing comes the last step: compress. It involves compressing the data packets that are sent from the web server to the browser. This means that the server minimizes the size of each file of each request and the browser is responsible for decompressing and calculating each of them. In this way, it is faster than sending uncompressed data packets. You can set a compression with a caching plugin (as I mentioned above), manually changing the configuration in the htaccess or activating this option on the server (or contacting your provider to do it for you).

10. Be careful with the loading order of the “rendering”

A point covered and detected by Google Speed Insights tools is the loading sequence that blocks the rendering. With a sure example that you get much clearer: a slider consists of images and an animation command, which allows these images to rotate, and if the JavaScript in charge of the movement of the slider loads first and the photos at the end, then your page will have the function of the slider running before the images have been fully loaded (therefore, the loading of the website takes time), however this can be prevented with the correct loading sequence.

11. Optimize the visible area of your website to the maximum

In addition to the total loading time of your website, the load sensation is especially important. By this, it means the time in which the user perceives that the loading of your Web page is complete. That feeling of charging time can be shortened with some tricks. Thus, the user has the impression that the web page is already fully loaded, even if he is still working in the background.

For the optimization of the loading sequence, the optimization of the area known as Above the Fold is particularly important (it is only the area that is seen when loading the web page, before scrolling). This means that the content and functions of that area are prioritized, which will make it appear faster to the user (and have a feeling that it is already loaded). The main part of my web page, for example, is the first one is loaded and displayed at any visit, without there being the need to scroll (without scroll).

You can achieve this, for example, by optimizing the loading sequence. Lazy Load is a plugin that will help your website load the content only when the visitor moves to the respective area of the page. In this way, the user always has the content, and the page loading time is benefited (even if it is a web page with large images like mine).

12. Regularly clean and optimize the database

In addition to images and encryption, your database may be too extensive. Do not worry, there are also practical tools that keep your database optimized (and taking up as little space as possible). As for plugins, it’s WP-Optimize that send. The database is getting bigger with the passage of time, with information that, sometimes, is not very important (reviews, drafts, pingbacks, trackbacks and many other things). This makes your website load much slower.

13. Disable and eliminate pingbacks and trackbacks

By default, WordPress interacts with other pages through pingbacks and trackbacks. Whenever your website is mentioned on other pages, your installation will be automatically notified and added to your database. If you do not need this feature that, in my opinion, has no added value (and makes your database suffer a lot if you have many mentions), you must disable this option in “Settings> Comments” and clean the pingbacks and trackbacks (for this use, again, WP-Optimize).

14. Avoid “hotlinking” by capturing it from your WordPress installation

What is that hotlinking? It is easy! It means that someone links an image directly from your server to an external one (taking advantage of your work and server). This, apart from the fact that you have to have a nose to do, makes your bandwidth “lose”. But quiet and that is relatively easy to prevent. To do this, you must insert the following code inside the htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond% {HTTP_REFERER}! ^ $
RewriteCond% {HTTP_REFERER}! ^ Http (s)?: // (www \.)? Deineseite.de [NC]
RewriteCond% {HTTP_REFERER}! ^ Http (s)?: // (www \.)? Google.de [NC]
RewriteCond% {HTTP_REFERER}! ^ Http (s)?: // (www \.)? Google.com [NC]
RewriteRule \. (Jpg | jpeg | png | gif) $ – [NC, F, L]

The idea behind a CDN is to place the requested resources as close as possible to the user, geographically speaking. If someone accesses your website from Mexico, you can receive the images from a data center in your continent (usually the US). This reduces the transfer times, hops (number of routers/firewalls / etc. that the data has to go through) and other parameters, which translates into a much faster website.

15. Cheer up! Optimize the performance of your WordPress today

That’s why with this tips here are shown to you on how to optimize your WordPress for business performance in a more practical and useful way. With a little effort and without great knowledge in programming, you can make great progress in optimizing the loading time of your WordPress. So do not let the tips of tools like Google PageSpeed Insights discourage you. In essence, the optimization of the loading time of your website focuses on:

  • Reduce the size of your Web page
  • Reduce HTTP requests
  • Compress the individual data packages
  • Optimize the user experience

Conclusion

Many webmasters neglect the performance of their website. Often, it is due to the fear that one has to touch certain things (sometimes founded).

It’s time to speed up your WordPress. Here are the steps you can apply to optimize your WordPress for a business as much as you can. These tips have always been updated to use the best tools.

You must keep in mind that this is the standard work and that each project usually has its peculiarities and difficulties. Create your WordPress business website ultra-fast, and you will see how all the results improve.

For more information about WordPress, please head over to our Knowledge Base. Did you find this write-up interesting? You can join the comments and let us know about your thoughts.