WordPress is a truly powerful content management system that can serve as a platform for virtually any type of business or creative venture. However, there’s a big difference between just setting up a WordPress site and doing everything you can to truly make it shine. This post takes a look at some of the key ways you can maximize the potential of your WordPress site.
Choose The Correct Hosting Type
Choosing an optimal hosting setup for your WordPress site is one of the most important decisions you can make to maximize WordPress potential. Generally speaking, you’ll need to decide between several broad types of hosting setups, as covered on Tech Radar.
- For people interested in entry-level web hosting, shared hosting may be the way to go. In this setup, your website shares a server with other websites. The shared resources mean performance is lower than with other options; for instance, your website might load more slowly when visitors arrive at it. However, the price tends to be lower as well. Many websites that receive low volumes of traffic go with this option.
- A virtual private server (VPS) is a middle-of-the-road option. Once your traffic volume has grown past what your shared hosting can accommodate, it’s time you need to consider to move to a VPS. In this setup, multiple websites still share a single server, but each website has its own dedicated space within that server.
- A dedicated server is the priciest option, but it also offers the highest performance. If you want to absolutely maximize factors like loading speed and control, this is the way to go, despite the expense.
- Cloud hosting spreads resources across multiple servers and directs those resources as needed. This option is scalable—that is, as your business needs more resources, cloud hosting can keep up. If you predict you’ll need more power from your web host in the future as traffic grows, consider this option.
Along with those broad hosting-package types, you’ll also need to decide between managed hosting and unmanaged hosting. In unmanaged hosting, the hosting company leaves many functions of running the website to the client—that is, you. They offer little, if any, WordPress-specific services.
Managed hosting costs more, but it comes with a suite of benefits. For instance, managed WordPress hosting can undertake server optimization that provides better website performance. Security and customer service are also usually superior with managed hosting. Typically, managed hosting also provides a robust system for automatically backing up and updating your site. Finally, because it frees up many of the day-to-day duties of running a website, it can allow you to focus on other activities.
Prioritize Speed, Uptime, and Security
If you choose the right host, your WordPress website will also benefit by being strong in three key areas: speed, uptime, and security. Some statistics published by HostScore drive this fact home.
- Regarding speed. A delay as short as 100 milliseconds can badly damage conversion rates. Meanwhile, a two-second page-loading delay can more than double bounce rates. (Bounce rates reflect the number of visitors who quickly leave your website without exploring it.)
- Regarding uptime. On average, a single minute of a website being down can cost a small business anywhere between $137 to $427. (For Amazon, that number goes as high as $220,318.)
- Regarding security. Cybercrime is, unfortunately, an industry growing in terms of its lucrativeness. It is projected to cost the world $6 trillion in 2021.
This applies to any website—WordPress or not—but you’ll want to investigate the host you plan to use to make sure they have you covered in the areas of speed, uptime, and security. And if you’re already working with a host, double-check these areas anyway. Remember, web host security is the area you do not afford to overlook.
Use Themes and Plugins
Once you’ve found the host with the right amount of oversight, speed, security, and uptime for you, then you can continue to optimize your WordPress site by exploring the world of themes and plugins. WordPress themes work across your website in a broad manner: They basically control how your website looks—giving it a unified appearance—and how visitors interact with it. Different developers have published themes designed for bloggers, photographers, eCommerce stores, and so on.
Plugins, meanwhile, work on a smaller level but are still important to get the most out of your website. And like themes, there are countless plugins meant for different uses. For example, some plugins help boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), while other plugins secure your WordPress against brute force attacks. It would be impossible to list all of the uses of plugins here, because they are virtually limitless.
There are both free and paid plugins, with paid plugins typically offering more robust support features to maximize your WordPress potential.
Pay Attention to Images
There are more factors that you can control, including how your website handles images. For example, as pointed out on MalCare, unwieldy images can drastically slow down your website’s performance. If images are loading slowly, look into using a CDN (content delivery network) or a plugin designed to optimize image loading speed.
By using CDN, a copy of your images will be stored on the web servers around the world. As a result, your content will deliver more efficiently to the audience when they request it. Another solution is to look for services such as Jetpack that offers unlimited image CDN.
Reduce HTTP Requests
Reducing your website’s HTTP requests is another method to maximize WordPress potential, which is covered in detail here on WP Fix It. Essentially, HTTP requests are how a server transfers items like videos, images, and text to visitors’ browsers. More complicated websites tend to generate more requests, because there are more elements to transfer to browsers.
Among other measures, it’s recommended keeping your file sizes small and uninstalling unused plugins, tools, and themes. You can make use of some online tools to monitor the HTTP requests of your website.
Don’t Forget SEO
So far, most of this article’s tips have focused on getting your website to remain safe and load quickly. However, to truly maximize your WordPress potential, it’s important to draw visitors to it in the first place—and that requires SEO. SEO is a huge topic, here’s the post that highlighted some basic SEO tips for beginners.
For instance, one big mistake is forgetting to turn off the option that prevents search engines from indexing the website. Another is neglecting to change your URLs from the default structures to relevant ones that search engines will notice. You should also consider looking into SEO plugins. After all, if you’ve built a great website, people should see it!