Is your WordPress website performing at its absolute best? Have you ever wondered if there is anything left to do to make it even better?
Well, you have landed on the right spot. Broadly, there are three areas where you can improve the performance of a WordPress website.
Speed, because it can make or break your website traffic volume.
Functionality, to keep visitors coming back for more from your website.
Security, to ensure all your data remains far from data breaches.
Now, let us examine how each of these aspects of your WordPress website performance can be improved one at a time.
Website Loading Speed
There are very few things that can be as frustrating as a slow website. Have you ever thought of how many of your website visitors would actually linger around your website pages for long if only it was faster?
Search Engine Journal – the online destination for everything SEO, lists slow website loading speed as one of the reasons for high bounce rate. Not only does it harms your website’s dwell time but, can also negatively impact your SEO ranking.
Google and other major search engines consider website page loading speed as a critical ranking factor. Want to know how fast your website loading speed is?
Tools like Google Page Insights, GTMetrix and Pingdom can give you a real-time view of your page loading speed. Advance reports can also guide you in the right way to fix issues that could be hampering your loading speed. Also, check for common issues like bulky high-res images, heavy plugins or extensions, browser caching, etc. all of which could make your WordPress website slower.
WordPress as a CMS platform comes with thousands of plugins and extensions that can bring a lot of new functionalities. Without these ready-made plugins and extensions, it would be a painful job to code and make these functionalities work properly. WordPress Plugins and extensions can be obtained for free or for a price.
The biggest benefit of these plugins and extensions is that they help WordPress users make the most out of their website without having to know a single line of code. WordPress has its own library of themes and plugins which can be easily searched and activated on your website. They can be activated instantly without any developer assistance. You can find millions of plugins for various purposes like SEO, blogging, social media, security, data backup, contacts management and so on.
How WordPress Plugins Work
Plugins are like turnkey software that can help WordPress admins take care of front-end as well as back-end operations with minimal effort. For example, a WordPress plugin can help extract backend website analytics. Or a theme can be used to modify and beautify the front-end website design. But, be careful not to be lavish with the number of WordPress plugins. Too many can ruin your website performance and make it slow like a turtle.
WPWhiteSecurity reports – 40,000+ WordPress Websites in Alexa Top 1 Million, more than 70% of WordPress installations are vulnerable to hacker attacks. WordPress, being the most preferred CMS, also makes it a favorite choice for hackers. The user base of WordPress consists of all kinds of users including amateurs, eCommerce retailers, individual portfolios, etc. All these users have a minimal level understanding of web security and the aftermath if it is ignored.
They tend to make serious mistakes like using outdated WordPress versions are riddled with security vulnerabilities. Along with the usage of old versions, they also fail to make basic precautions like hiding the admin panel, using strong passwords, etc. all of which makes things easy for hackers.
Despite the vulnerabilities, WordPress also provides a good number of security enhancements that can keep your website and its data secure.
First on the list are WordPress security plugins. WordPress security plugins like Wordfence Security, iThemes Security, Sucuri Security, Bulletproof Security all help in securing the website from multiple angles. They provide features like vulnerability assessment, malware protection, Firewall protection, Blacklist monitoring, etc. Website admins are alerted when there are anomalies that can potentially harm the website’s data.
Another way to ramp up the security of your WordPress website and also to show your security status to the world is with an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is used to encrypt information that is exchanged between the user browser and the website. It uses a cryptographic key to scramble the data that passes between the user system and the website.
The benefit of an SSL certificate is that it does not require any additional software or plugin to be installed by the user. It is installed in the website’s backend. Once installed on the website’s server it activates a padlock symbol and a green address bar that indicates that the website is protected using an SSL certificate.
For eCommerce businesses that run on WooCommerce, the WordPress platform for eCommerce, SSL certificates can be a value add-on. It will help improve conversions as well as reduce cart abandonment caused due to payment security concerns.
In a Nutshell
A WordPress website, its default version, is an inert object. You have to make several modifications to make it a super performing website. The performance optimization begins with analysing the website from three angles – speed, functionality and security.
The page loading speed of a WordPress website can be improved by compressing image sizes, removing obsolete extensions, reducing the number of HTTP requests and so on. Similarly, the functional performance of a WordPress can be upgraded with the help of custom-built or third-party extensions for front-end, design, security and so on. Finally, security which is critical for any website can be made better for WordPress websites with the help of an SSL certificate. It encrypts the information shared between the user and the website thus eliminating the risk of data theft.
Do you know of any ideas that can turn an ordinary WordPress website into an extraordinary one? Feel free to share the knowledge below.