WordPress optimization tips for 2017
WordPress gives you a sound basis to build your website on, but it is far from perfect. When you are creating a top-notch site, you need to make quite a few tweaks under the hood.Optimization tips fall into three categories, those that:
- Improve your position in Google
- Enhance your visitors’ experience
- Make your life easier
All are important and implementing these tips will bring you more visitors and ensure those visitors are happy enough to buy your services.
Improving Your Google Rank
You need to appear above your competitors in search results, so this should be your top priority.
Out-of-the-box WordPress SEO is pretty awful, and it is possible to make it even worse if you use the wrong settings on your site. This step by step guide to WordPress SEO will guide you through the basics ofsimple non-techie language.
SEO is something you need to think about every time you make a post because everything on your site should be built around keywords your clients use in Google. One good way to monitor and optimize your SEO is using Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer.
This tool performs a complete SEO analysis for free, as well as a content marketing audit and optimization. You can even is it to do miscellaneous marketing tasks, as well as track your competitor SERPs.
Improving Your Visitors’ Experience
If your site visitors stay longer and visit multiple pages on your site that sends signals to Google that your site is meeting users’ expectations. Google includes these signals in its search algorithm, so your site ranks higher because it is better than others. It is impossible to separate visitor satisfaction, and Google ranking and following these two tips will improve both.
Speeding up Your Site by Caching and Optimizing Code
It sounds very technical, but you only need to install Autoptimize.
WP Super Cache runs ‘as is’ and requires no setup or configuration.
Autoptimize minifies your Java and HTML, so it loads faster.
Screenshot source (requires admin login)
Autoptimize has advanced configuration options, but the simple ones shown above work well.
The hosting service you choose will affect how quickly, or slowly, your site’s pages load, and from that, your Google ranking.
WordPress sites place heavy loads on your host’s computers because your site’s databases are used many times whenever a user accesses a WordPress page or post.
If you use cheap, shared hosting your host will pack many sites onto the same servers and limit the resources available to each one. You may well have unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage, but neither of these is ever likely to be a limiting factor. Rather, restricting CPU calls and server demands will be how these hosting services limit your website.
Hosting wise, choosing platform specific hosting might be the best solution. Other than having a speedy platform-specific setup, there are other perks that tend to come along that improve performance. For example, there are WordPress hosts that offer hand-picked plugins that you can use safely with the knowledge that they will not harm your site’s speed.
Overall, there is a multitude of hosts to choose from, so be sure to get your research done and choose wisely.
The built-in form functionality in WordPress is not good. The forms you build need to look good, so you will need to install a form plugin. One of your best options is WPForms.
WPForms is a premium plugin, but wellworth the cost because of the drag-and-drop interface and its sheer versatility, including accepting PayPal and Stripe payments, spambot protection and interfacing with your email marketing service.
WP Optimizations that Make Your Life Easier
Your time is limited and making your life easier won’t directly affect your search results. However, if you don’t have to spend time making repairs, you can spend that time more creatively.
WordPress Site Backups
You need to avoid spending three days recovering from a site crash caused by a simple plugin update. You will then be able to use that time to do something useful for your community instead.
You always read the warnings about backing up everything before making any updates, but you never bother. It’s not been a problem before, so why waste your time.
It only needs to happen once.
There are many WordPress plugins to help you to backup your site, but as the feature comparison above shows, UpDraft Plus is the easiest to use, and the premium version backs up automatically before you update any theme or plugins.
If you ever have to rebuild your site from scratch because of a crash, you will definitely install Updraft Plus to prevent any recurrences; so it makes sense to install it before the worst happens.
Tl; DR Version
In 2017, WordPress is still the best way to build your website, but it is far from perfect.
Attending to some basic WordPress SEO and installing WP Forms, Autoptimize and Yoast SEO will improve your Google ranking, site speed, and user satisfaction.
Optimizing your site using these plugins will set you apart and ahead of your rivals, and will convert more browsers into buyers.