Your visitors care about every second
You don’t know how much traffic to your WordPress blog you lose by skipping WordPress optimizing. Not only you are loosing potential visits because you don’t rank 1st on Google or at least above the fold on the SERP, but you’re also loosing visitors that actually arrive to your website but are to annoyed to stay! Do you know that a visitor is very likely to leave your website if after 4 seconds — this is the average — he doesn’t see any sign of life.
In these series of tutorials, I will walk you through the process of optimizing your WordPress blog, the goal is to reduce the loading time of most pages to 2 seconds or less.
WordPress is a great piece of software, it has a huge collection of themes and plugins, wordpress.org alone hosts 20,137 plugins and 1,546 themes.
Most of the themes – even the paid ones – lack basic optimization and use many images and sometimes many CSS and JS files.
On the other hand, most plugins are pretty well optimized for performance and consume only a few milliseconds, but using them without moderation will add unneeded processing time, not only slowing your website but also degrading to some extent the overall performance of the server that hosts your blog.
Why do I have to care about optimization?
The Internet at its essence is about the exchange of information, ever heard of the SEO and marketing experts saying “content is king”? What does it mean? It means great content will bring your targeted visitors and will help you grow a loyal audience that supports your work.
Sad but true, unless you are an inventor, there are already tens or hundreds of blogs whose owners have chosen the same subject as yours, they may not be all good blogs but visitors and search engines as well may like them more than your blog. The fact is: humans are impatient by nature, if your website is slow to respond, people will not hesitate to hit the back button and choose the next result on the SERP.
You’d rather not underestimate the importance of optimizing WordPress and you should even devote a couple of days to this task.
Results are slow but are worth it in the long run
What I really want to say is don’t get discouraged. Most of the techniques I’ll be teaching you work instantly, it doesn’t mean you’ll get a 500% increase in your visits overnight, all good things come with patience, people and search engines need time to adapt to your – now faster – website.
I want you to do your best and try to use every single technique I show you in these tutorials and I want you to keep track of your progress using tools available for free like Google Webmaster Tools.
A handful set of tools
You will track your blog in terms of speed using Google Webmaster Tools, create an account, add your WordPress blog and verify it using the file upload method.
The Firefox extension Firebug helps you identify static content and provides useful information (size, loading time, DNS lookup time, etc) for each file that is loaded by the browser, once you install Firebug and restart your browser you can show the Firebug panels by pressing F12. If you are using Google Chrome or Chromium, you can use the built in Developer Tools, once again press F12 and it will come up. If you are using another browser and want to examine your static content you can use WebPageTest but it’s slower.
PageSpeed Insights is another powerful tool for optimizing WordPress’ static content, it allows you to detect unoptimized files and even suggests to you a better version on the files.
Enough for now, there are many tools available, I will introduce more tools as we advance for optimizing WordPress.
This is the first of a series of articles written for Mochahost by our friend and specialist in the field Nabil Kadimi. Feel free to check his blog here.