Do you have an ailing WordPress website that you think could be performing a lot better? Sites that load quickly can capture the attention of your audience, attract traffic and are more likely to help you reach your targets. But how do you improve WordPress performance on your website? How do you make sure that your site is really pulling its weight to help your business?
Below are five straightforward techniques that you can employ to ensure that your WordPress website is firing on all cylinders. Improve WordPress performance with KIJO.
#1: Accelerate Your Site’s Loading Times
Website loading speed is a crucial aspect of your user’s experience. It makes a big difference when it comes to your rate of conversions. On average, 40% of visitors to your site will leave if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
- Conduct a speed test. Before you begin trying to improve the loading speed of your website, it is useful to get an indication as to how it is currently performing. There are plenty of tools out there that will provide this service for you. One that comes highly recommended, is the Page Speed Insights tool. Using this program should give you a quick indication as to how fast your site currently loads. For reference, a good web page loading time is anything under 2 seconds.
- Set a loading time goal. Once you understand how your site’s loading time, you can set yourself a goal to strive for when making improvements. This will help you make concrete progress when it comes to improving the speed of your site.
- WordPress website hosting. Nothing does more for your WordPress website’s loading speed than having your site hosted by a specialised WordPress hosting company. The benefits of WordPress hosting include an upgraded scaling of resources and a more even distribution of traffic on your site. KIJO offers this hosting service in various packages, as well as custom hosting plans for those with more specific requirements. KIJO’s hosting service is powered by AWS, the number one cloud hosting provider worldwide.
- Use WordPress Plugins. Installing a plugin such as WordPress Rocket can shorten the loading time of a WordPress site by up to a second. WP Rocket is recognised as a powerful caching tool which automatically applies 80% of its optimisation features. It’s easy to use and works on mobile and desktop views.
- Reduce asset sizes. By reducing the size of your assets, such as images, GIFs and videos, you can lessen the load for your site to carry each time it needs to perform. For every page and post, use a file compression tool to ensure your image and video files take up as little server space as possible. For most file types, these tools are available for free online.
- Update your WordPress site regularly. Make sure to check for updates for your site on a regular basis. This means any potential loading bugs will be minimized, and your site will always be equipped with the latest security features. WordPress releases updates a few times a year, but you may also want to check for updates to your website’s theme.
#2: Use Content Delivery Networks
Using a content delivery network or CDN is about ironing out the discrepancies in loading times for visitors to your site from across the globe.
Your site’s hosting servers may be based in the UK. Therefore a user who visits your site from the UK may enjoy a relatively quick loading time. However, someone from Australia may have a significantly slower site loading time. Using CDN’s can quickly improve WordPress’ performance on your site.
A CDN works by creating copies of your content, storing them in servers all over the world. This means that the user’s request will go straight to the closest server, rather than going all the way to the original server each time.
- Register your site. To get started with most CDN providers, you just have to visit their website and create an account with them. Once you have done this, you will be given the opportunity to register your site with their service.
- Shop around. There are a lot of different CDN providers, each with their own plans, features and zonal specialties. Where you are based, what you want to achieve with the use of a CDN and what budget you are willing to spend, all have an impact on which CDN might fit your needs the best.
- Improved security. Using a CDN also comes with the benefit of better site security. This is because most CDNs are optimised to recognise security threats like spamming activities using bots and scripts, as well as distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and bring them to your attention.
#3: Enhancing Keyword Research
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is a key element of improving the performance of your WordPress website. Better SEO means an improved search engine ranking and more organic traffic, but with less reliance on PPC and SEM advertising. In short, SEO saves you money. At the heart of SEO is keyword research. This is knowing exactly what keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for online.
- Ahrefs. There are plenty of easy tools which you can use for keyword research. Ahrefs, for example, is an all-purpose SEO tool which investigates the words and phrases that your site currently ranks for. Knowing this, it then provides suggestions as to the other keywords or phrases to include, as well as providing frequency targets for these words to make sure your content is performing as well as it can. In addition to looking at your own site, Ahrefs will compare similar sites and what keywords they rank for. Taking this on board, you can then begin to understand and improve upon your competition.
- Google Keyword Planner. If you are really struggling to come up with keywords for your site, you can always use Google’s keyword planner, which helps you find the most relevant keywords for your company or business. This tool also gives you insight into how often certain words are searched and how those searches have changed over time. This can help you refine your keyword list down to the ones which will be most beneficial to your site.
#4: Implementing Keyword Research
Having conducted plenty of specific keyword research, you will then want to make sure that you put your findings to good use when creating pages for your site. However, knowing what words you need to include and knowing how to display them on your site are two different skills.
- Yoast SEO. A helpful and trusted tool to assist you in implementing your keyword research is the WordPress plugin Yoast SEO. All you need to do to use this tool, is to enter the keyword or phrase that you want your page to rank for and then let Yoast analyse your current SEO performance with this keyword in mind. The tool then tells you not only how often you need to use this key phrase and its synonyms, but where it needs to appear. The tool’s user-friendly traffic light system will guide you as to how each part of your keyword SEO is performing for each page of your website. When you are looking at a mostly green report, you know your page is optimised.
- Distribution of keywords. As the creators of Yoast and similar tools will tell you, it isn’t enough to have your keywords mentioned on your page. They also have to be in the right places. For example, your keyphrase may appear an adequate amount of times in the body text of a page, yet you may have forgotten to include it in image alt descriptions, headings or meta descriptions.
#5: Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is a crucial aspect to consider when you want to improve WordPress’ performance for your website. Especially when it comes to SEO. This means not only focussing on creating pages which include information about your company and its services but offering a whole range of content on your site which will not only draw customers in but increase the engagement time of each visitor. Examples of website content marketing include videos, blogs, webinars, and social media posts.
- Create a blog. A blog fulfils many functions when it comes to website performance. It can act as a useful vehicle to deposit content into, which is separate from the rest of your website. It can also create a dialogue between you and your customers, giving you further insight into their preferences. Another function of a blog is that it can organically drive traffic to your website. Businesses both large and small with online blogs receive much more traffic than those that don’t.
- Promote Content on Social Media. You should always promote your website’s content across your social media and email marketing channels. This will have the dual benefits of encouraging your customer base to engage with your content (which could lead to sales) and communicating key information to your customers about your business.
- Install Flix. You can boost your website’s performance by using plugins specifically designed to enhance content marketing. Flix is a multi-functioning content marketing plugin. With an intuitive user interface, Flix makes organising your content into categories simple. This makes it easier for website users to search through your blog. Because of the way category metadata is configured, Flix helps to optimise your content for Google’s crawler.
#6: Create Service Pages to Improve WordPress Performance
At the end of the day, your WordPress site is about eliciting an audience response. In all probability, you have set this website up because you want visitors to do something. This may be purchasing your products or engaging with your businesses’ services in some way.
- Detailed Service Descriptions. Customers need to know exactly what it is that you are offering them and why it is beneficial. Communicating the purpose of your business and what it offers should be briefly covered by the homepage. However, in order to provide your customers with the detail they need about your products and services, you need to have specific and well-structured service pages. Describing each of your services and products in detail means that customers can be confident in knowing what it is that they are buying and why. These pages should also introduce customers to your sales or enquiries processes.
- Customer Flow. Customers ideally should flow directly from learning about the product/service to purchasing. Therefore, it is essential that your service pages are easily navigable from the home page and have clearly signposted links direct to your purchasing pages or contact form. Making service pages that have a clear role within your customer flow will significantly improve your conversion rate.
Ready to Improve WordPress Performance?
In summary, having a fast and responsive WordPress site can do a lot for your business. These changes can boost your search engine ranking, improve conversion rates, increase customer site engagement time and reduce your visitor bounce rate.
Throughout this short guide, we have looked at some of the best methods to improve the performance of your WordPress website. Implementing each of the above strategies should create happier, more engaged customers, resulting in more sales and a stronger brand for your business.