If you own a WordPress blog or site then you must have faced some lags in it, either before or now. Many users blame their hosting company for this. Whereas the hosting companies blame WordPress itself. But believe me, these hosting companies are a bunch of terrible liars. They want you to purchase their ‘Unlimited hosting plans’. But even if you did, your blog will still be facing these lags time and again. Then you’ll end up installing caching plugins and investing in CDN.
There is another crucial factor which almost ninety percent of WordPress blog owners are lacking i.e. SEO and ranking.
So for you my blogger brothers and sisters, I have compiled a list of some significant tips which will surely help you to power your WordPress blog in terms of speed improvement and SEO.
1. Use Genesis Framework to build your WordPress Blog
Genesis by StudioPress is the way you should design your WordPress blog or site. It is the backbone for any WordPress blog. A Genesis powered blog ranks better than any other blog created with a free or premium theme. The framework makes customization easy and there is a lot of support available for free on the web. Consider visiting: wpsites.net, nutsandboltsmedia.com, carriedils.com. The framework and child themes are coded clean which makes your blog load faster. The UI of the child themes is based on light and minimal design which makes it easy for the search engines to crawl your site thoroughly.
I guess now you’ll definately choose Genesis over a premium WordPress theme.
NB: Every StudioPress license comes with a developer license. And you can install your framework and child themes on upto 400 websites.
2. Use WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin
The plugin provides insights to meta data of your blog posts and pages within the content editor page itself. Which means you can to check your SEO score in realtime and improve it. Creating an XML sitemap is never been easier. You can create a sitemap using the XML sitemap feature which is in built with this incredible plugin. So when you submit you’re your sitemap to Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools), it gets easily indexed and Googlebot can crawl through it. The plugin also provides a separate interface to input Search console meta tags to verify your site. There are tons of other features which makes it really easy to optimize your WordPress Blog for search engines. You can read more about these features at the Yoast’s official plugin page. You can also watch this video tutorial on how to configure Yoast plugin.
3. Use Jetpack for WordPress
Jetpack is not just a plugin. It is just like the life giving blood to your WordPress blog. It is bundled with great features provided by WordPress.com that yields consistency to every single segment of your WordPress blog. Jetpack alone has the power equivalent to over thirty plugins. You’ll surely abstain from installing any social sharing plugin, comment system, Login protection, security, Contact form, RSS Subscription system, custom CSS and many other plugins. The best thing about Jetpack is that it is absolutely free of cost. You just need to create a free WordPress.com account.
The power of Jetpack can’t be explained in words. Once you start using it then you’ll get used to it. If you wish to read more about it then visit Jetpack homepage.
4. Use TinyMCE Advanced plugin
The default text formatting of WordPress is a serious pain. But you don’t have to worry about it, not even a bit. There is a solution for everything and that is the TinyMCE advance plugin. It helps to format the text content on your pages and posts with immense ease. It integrates a toolbar to the WordPress content editor which provides dozens of buttons. You can enable or disable toolbar buttons as per your choice via settings panel. TinyMCE Advanced is again free of cost and available in the WordPress.org plugin repository.
5. Use WP-Optimize plugin
It is really important to keep your WordPress database clean. Many plugins leave their database tables even after you delete them. These orphaned database tables can harm your WordPress blog speed. But using WP-Optimize plugin you can delete these unused tables, posts revisions and auto draft posts in one click. Finally keeping your WordPress database free from garbage is not a science anymore.
6. Create an Archives page
An archives page or a sitemap page (not to be confused with XML Sitemap) is something that majority of blogs lack. It is simply a web page showcasing a list of all website pages and blog posts. Let me unveil an unknown fact here, Google loves archives page as it is the only page that links back to your original website URLs. It tells the search engines that all links included are from your website and are active. So it plays a significant role in your website’s SEO. Moreover, an archives page also helps the users to navigate and search through your website links easily.
I recommend you to create an archives or sitemap page and place a link to it in the footer of your WordPress blog. All Genesis child themes have an Archive page template in-built. If you are using any other theme then you can seek support from its developer.
7. Store your media files on a separate server
It is a substantial to keep your hosting space as much free as possible. You must stop burdening your server even if you have an unlimited hosting plan. And if somehow you wish to move your blog to another host then you won’t be required to move your media library. The notion is to keep your hosting server free from extra load so that your website can perform faster. To induce this goal we need to host all images to an external server. Don’t worry I’m not telling you to purchase separate hosting space.
Nor I’m talking about Google Drive, One Drive and Drop Box as all of these have stopped providing static image URLs for the uploaded images. Well people who were previously using these services to store their website media were badly hurt after such an important feature got fused up.
But there is an old Saying “Never lose infinite hope”. We still have an option to store our images in a place which is both reliable and free. And it is none other than a WordPress.com blog itself. For that you just have to follow the steps below:
- Create a WordPress.com account.
- create a blog and mark it as ‘Private’ in the settings, read instructions for it.
- Upload all your media files in the blog just like you do it in your main WordPress.org blog.
- Use the image URLs to insert images in your main WordPress blog.
Isn’t this trick an insane one? I hope this will help most of you out there.
NB: You can’t insert featured images using this method, but you can insert images in the posts and pages.
8. Use Google Page Speed Insights
Google’s Page Speed Insights algorithm is a superb way to find and fix the culprits causing speed issues. Just visit the insights page and paste your website address and click ‘Analyze’. Now all bugs causing speed issues on your site will be displayed. Moreover, you’ll need a little technical knowledge to fix those issues. Don’t worry I’ll help you through. If you are using Genesis framework then I bet you’ll see only a few number of issues.
1. Optimize images
Compress your images using Photoshop. Click “Save for Web & Devices” option from the file menu. Then set quality as per your choice, but make sure not to screw image quality completely.
2. Enable compression
You don’t really need any plugin to to achieve this. You can do it manually by just pasting a bit of code in your .htaccess file. You can edit it simply by going to Yoast>Tools>File editor. Make sure you backup the default code in it, so that you can switch back in case you encounter any problems. Just paste the following code at the bottom of the file.
3. Leverage browser caching
To leverage browser cache, just copy and paste the following code at the top of .htaccess file.
4. Minify CSS
As the name signifies, minify means to compress CSS code so that it will get delivered to the user fast. To do that you just have to install a simple plugin called Better WordPress Minify.
NB: If you don’t get expected results then you can delete Better WordPress Minify plugin and install WP Super Cache plugin. It is built by WordPress’s very own developers. You can read instructions to configure it. And stay away from other caching plugins including W3 Total Cache. It is not recommended for shared hosting servers as it can consume lots of server resources.
After fixing these four issues your page speed score will surely be 70, 80 or more.
9. Post content frequently
Believe me nothing impresses search engines more than quality content posted frequently. As search engines need fresh content to crawl through and rank your site. If you are working on a WordPress blog then you are supposed to have some frequency say 1 or 2 posts every week.
To sum up
It is not a rocket science to create a WordPress Blog. But optimizing its speed and ranking it is certainly more than difficult. Unfortunately there isn’t any hosting provider which you can confidently consider best for hosting your WordPress blog. Every web host has its own merits and demerits. But to achieve better results we have to make our WordPress blog or site lightweight. These 9 Killer tips are based on my personal experience. I hope these tips will benefit you and your WordPress blog.
If this article is helpful then consider writing your opinion in the comments section below.