WordPress has unique resource requirements which demands certain processes be put in place to keep your site running at optimum efficiency.
It's not uncommon to find WordPress sites that are not being watched after properly choking due to becoming CPU "hogs". Poorly coded themes, too many plugins, bad hosting -- all add up to having a site that doesn't load fast enough to help you gain rankings and maintain site visitors.
Read this and weep...
According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online. Read the rest here: Speed Is A Killer
Below are the basics that you can do on your own to help get your site popping!
- Update! When you see the pale yellow nag bar telling you to upgrade -- upgrade. Same for plugins and themes; keep them updated as well. Being on the most recent versions allows you to use the latest and greatest that the developers have determined will make WordPress run best.
- Plugins that can help:
- Updraft Plus: "Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database, drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of database."
- WP-Optimize provides further tools to clean up your database. Auto draft posts, spam comments, post revisions and stale post revisions are a few things that can be deleted to speed up your database.
- WP-Super-Cache: "This plugin generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a HTML file is generated your Web server will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts." Take the time to learn all the options to know what will work best for your unique site.
- W3 Total Cache: "Easy Web Performance Optimization (WPO) using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support".
Ask your Web host which caching plugin will work best with their setup.
- Speaking of Plugins -- only install those plugins that serve a needed purpose. Plugins use lots of resources so review what plugins are must haves and try deactivating the rest to see if things improve. If no noticeable improvement is evident, start deactivating the remaining plugins one by one. You can also look at your server stats and actually see what plugins are using the most resources.
- Compress Images: This is where most sites have issues. Humongous images that don't need to be as large as they are -- physically and file size-wise. Try WP Smush a plugin that reduces image file sizes and improve performance. This plugin automatically strips meta data from JPEGs and removes un-used colors from indexed images. If you have a lot of images and limited server resources (shared hosting) you'll want to upgrade to the Pro version.
- Consider using a CDN: Content Delivery Networks speed up your site by distributing your files and load across multiple systems. I use Cloudflare for my sites. Here's an informative article for you to review: 7 Reasons to use a Content Delivery Network
Last but not least, Premium Themes. Don't underestimate the importance of using a quality premium theme. Solid frameworks and clean code go a lonnnnnng way to keep your site running efficiently.
The above steps are your start to a faster site. You can have a great looking Website, but if it hangs -- well, you can't put lipstick on a pig!
At your service,