Optimise your WordPress Website

Jan 2, 2018

How to Optimise your WordPress Website

WordPress is an incredible platform to build or develop your website on – at the time of writing approx 30% of the world’s websites were being powered by WordPress – that’s a lot of websites! There are a lot of ways to optimise your WordPress website to make sure your website is working well.

WordPress is a relatively easy system to launch a site onto – making a website that looks good is a lot more straightforward that it used to be. What you might not know about WordPress however is how you can (and should) optimise your WordPress website for even better results – often the best features of a website are not the things you see at the front, but rather what’s going on behind the scenes.

Making sure that your WordPress website is optimised and running well is also critical for keeping you site secure – many of the optimisation needs of WordPress also have a direct impact on how search engines like Google will monitor your website, and help you get found in search engine results. A site that works well is also more likely to convert your audience into performing whatever action it was that you had hoped in the first place.

Here’s five 5 things you can do to optimise your WordPress website to improve it’s performance.

Review content

Outdated or irrelevant content is frustrating – take the time to read through your own website and check that the content is up to date. Consider what content your website doesn’t have that it perhaps should – adding a blog page with WordPress is incredibly simple, and a great way to show that your site is being actively updated.

Set Google Meta descriptions and tidy urls

Meta descriptions might sound complicated, but you might be suprised to know that if you use Google, you read them all the time.

Quite simply, meta descriptions are the snippets of text that you can set to show up on the results page of search engine results. Google will pull in text content to show if you haven’t already specified content, but when you choose to set your own you can use that space to create specific content that will help you connect with your audience. You can also set a variety of other information to help your search results, including the page url and page title.

Setting this content specifically helps your audience clearly see what it is you want to communicate – and that they should choose to visit your website, rather than one of the other search results.

Optimise your image library

Most digital images are created much larger at source than a website would need them to be. While larger files are great for some print requirements, websites usually only need a file size that is a fraction of what a modern camera would create.

Images in your WordPress media library can be optimised before loading them on your website, and it would be considered good practice to get into that habit. If you already have a collection of images in your media library then you might want to make use of a range of great plugins that are available to reduce your image sizes – WP Smush and EWWW are two of my favourites.

Update WordPress core and plugins

WordPress is constantly developing and each time it does it creates updates to the core. These updates cover new feature releases in addition to security patches – criticial to the modern website. Most WordPress websites will also utilise a range of plugins to WordPress that support different fuctionality on your WordPress site. It is critical to keep your WordPress core and plugins up to date – that will both help keep your site secure and performing well.

Cleanup broken links and error 404 pages

Most websites have broken links, especially if you are linking to other websites – over time, website addresses change and it’s important to keep an eye on your links and that they are still working well. Likewise, if you change the url of any of your content a user can be met with a 404 error – monitoring your site for broken links and setting redirections is a relatively simple process. Again, search engines such as Google will take note that you are actively monitoring your site – no bad thing!

And lastly a friendly reminder – Always backup your site!

You should always take backups of your site frequently, how frequently you choose will vary depending on your site – but you should always know where a backup of your site content and database is – especially before you make any updates.

There are a range of ways to backup your site, and most good hosts will offer a backup system as part of their hosting – it’s definitely worth considering paying a little more for your hosting if your current hosting provider doesn’t!

Always take backups of your site away from your hosting, that way should you have an unforeseen issue with your host, you have an additional backup elsewhere that is within your control.

If you need more help to optimise your WordPress website, or if you have questions, please get in touch – I’d be happy to help.

About the Author | Roddy Mackay
Tentmaker Creative is a small communications consultancy run by Roddy Mackay, a creative with 15 years’ experience of working with a variety of clients in a range of places to help them tell their stories well. Roddy’s work is split between running Tentmaker Creative and as a freelance photographer, where he shoots a combination of travel, weddings and commercial projects. As Tentmaker Creative, Roddy works with a range of other creatives to help clients think through a bigger picture – and to create content and strategies that help you engage your audience more effectively.

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