We all know the power of WordPress and how effective it can be for blogging. However, just going with the standard and accepting things for the way they are is never a good idea — especially when the performance and success of your site are on the line.
This is especially true when you consider how many websites and blogs are relying on social media as a driving force behind their traffic and content sharing. With platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest actively sharing millions of pieces of content every minute online, it’s just as important to make sure you have a fast loading website in the process — not just to benefit the site owner, but also your audience coming from social networks as well. After all, no one is going to want to share your site content if it’s loading too slow in the first place.
With all of this in mind, I wanted to provide you with a few of the best resource guides out there for improving the speed, performance and overall health of your WordPress site. Be sure to run through each of the guides and methods below to see which you might currently be missing out. Some of the updates and modifications can take just a few minutes, but leave a huge lasting impression on the overall success of your site.
Choose a Reliable WordPress Host
It might seem silly, but one of the most obvious and effective ways to make sure your site is running at peak performance at all times is to go with a reliable web hosting solution. Since WordPress is an advanced content management system in itself, it runs differently than a website with basic HTML or when placed on a shared server with hundreds of other sites. At the same time, not all web hosting solutions are the same — some are even built specifically to work just with WordPress sites.
Take a moment to view WPBeginner’s list of best web hosting for WordPress sites, while also reading their key points on what to look for when choosing a reliable hosting solution.
Run a Speed Test on Your Site
The speed of your WordPress site is extremely important, and not just to keep your audience and site visitors happy. Not only does Google also put a lot of weight on how fast a website loads, it can also improve conversions and make a huge difference in the bottom line for your business (as seen in the Aberdeen Group graphic below).
When it comes to increasing the speed of your site, you have a few different options. The first is to simply run a Google Speed Test and see what recommended are provided. More often than not, this report in itself will give you a grade rating then provide you with the necessary changes to be made. Just removing a few unwanted scripted, outdated WordPress plugins and themes, and even downsizing a few images can make a huge impact on your site’s overall speed and performance.
By increasing the speed of your website, not only will this allow for visitors to better enjoy the content on your site, it will also lead to more social sharing as well. Be sure to include social sharing buttons to the top and bottom of all site content, as this will increase the likelihood for more social shares.
Make Sure Your WordPress Images are Optimized
Speaking of optimizing images… this is also one of the most effective ways to improve the speed and performance of your site, but ultimately something many WordPress users still tend to neglect. Everyone loves a nice high-quality photo, but in most cases, it doesn’t need to be in 100% full quality or in a massive file size for your site. When it comes to downsizing these images, you have a few different options, such as using software (before uploading the images) or WordPress plugins (during the upload process).
In addition to making sure images load fast on your site, it’s also important to make sure your images are properly named in their files as well. Google not only looks at the content of your site, they also have robots looking at the HTML, formatting and files names as well. By naming your images something relevant to your content, it can improve your SEO and help with ranking your site higher in the search results.
To learn more about each of these methods, check out this image optimization guide from ElegantThemes. After reading through their materials and the options they provide for image optimization, you should have no problem with increasing the overall speed of your site.
Before sharing your content on social media, be sure to also have optimized images in place for your thumbnails and social preview images. Each network will have their own specific sizes and specs for their images. To improve click through rates and how your brand looks online, be sure to follow these as closely as possible. These images should also be optimized for peak performance and fastest loading times as well.
Connect Your WordPress Site with a CDN
To bring everything together, it’s important for us to talk about how a CDN (content delivery network) can be used to improve the performance of your site as well. A CDN works in a way where they copy the content of your site and places it on various servers around the world. Thus, instead of having someone in Australia accessing your site from a server in the U.S., they could view it from a server much closer to them. That’s a simple way to explain it, but there’s actually much more to it and Incapsula’s CDN guide does a great job of explaining it.
If you don’t’ currently have a CDN connected with your WordPress site, it’s one of the cheapest and most effective ways to make a huge improvement in your site’s performance, speed and even to help with increasing your search rankings.
WordPress and Social Media Optimization Tips for 2017
With over a billion active websites and blogs now on the internet, and WordPress continually growing in size, it’s important to always stay ahead of the curve and with the current trends. As mentioned earlier, most site owners will use WordPress right out of the box and never put in the time or effort to make many of the optimization and improvements mentioned above. To quickly speed past the competition and rank even higher in the search results, but sure to implement these methods into your own WordPress site today.
At the same time, it’s also important to measure your results across social media. It’s easy enough to throw social sharing buttons on your WordPress site and see how many people are actively sharing your content, but there is a lot more than can be done when tracking on a deeper level. Take the time to study your content creation and social media efforts by seeing which social platforms are sending the best traffic, what sources stay longer on your site and how they are engaging once they get there.
The more you know about your site content, how it performs on social media and what your audience is looking for — the better you will have control over the longterm success of your site.