WordPress is one of the top CMS that people use and recommend. When we install it for the first time it’s considerably lightweight, with default themes and plugins. But with time, as we add themes and plugins, according to our needs, some challenges may come up. 

It is important for every blogger and website owner to keep their site lightweight in order to gain better ranking and fast loading time. 

Today, we will be discussing some effective ways to optimize your website. This will not only improve the search engine ranking but also help you to get a website that loads within seconds. Additionally, it will also improve your score on tools like Google Page Speed and GTmetrix analysis. 

Here is a sample from GTmetrix website load analysis report for the website thebooksinorder.com which loads in a second –  

We will discuss how to get even better than these statistics today!  

In this blog, we will be using the Bluehost platform to showcase the quick ways to optimize and clean up your WordPress website.  

Let’s start with enabling CDN on Bluehost Hosting 

Bluehost offers inbuilt Cloudflare which will reduce your page size and load time significantly. So, if you have not enabled it, follow the steps mentioned here to get it done. 

Important – Steps to enable Cloudflare for your website in Bluehost Panel 

  1. Login to your Bluehost account 
  2. Navigate to My Sites section and click on Manage Site for the website you want this setup

 3. Navigate to the Performance tab and click on Get Basic followed by Install Cloudflare Basic button to get CDN enabled for your website automatically. 

It may take around 2-5 minutes to get it activated. You can also choose caching level depending on your website type. Like it may be an ecommerce, blog portfolio or any business website.  

Refer to the screenshot below – 

We have done these settings for a simple blog/small business site. 

Top 10 ways to optimize and clean a WordPress Website 

  1. Buy a server nearest to your top visitor locations 
  2. Use a lightweight theme to build your website 
  3. Optimize all images used on your website 
  4. Use lazy loading if needed 
  5. Fix mixed content SSL errors on your website 
  6. Use the recommended stable PHP version with proper php configuration 
  7. Use a caching plugin with a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service 
  8. Reduce the no of themes and plugins/Delete all unused themes and plugins 
  9. Delete unused/unnecessary tables from database 
  10. Optimize your database i.e., clear post revisions, drafts, orphaned contents, transients 

Let’s see them one by one. 

  1. Buy a server near to your visitor’s location

It is always import to check the location of the server you are buying. It will reduce the network latency (Latency is a measure of delay. In a network, latency measures the time it takes for some data to get to its destination across the network. It is usually measured as a round trip delay) which ultimately increase the initial server response time and website loading speed. 

For example, if your server is in India and most of your website visitors are from India then they will get faster response as compared to a server situated in USA, Germany or United Kingdom. 

Here is an example of a site with a server in Germany getting accesses from India. The result may vary as per the location and network congestions. 

Bluehost offers India and USA servers, you can choose one of them, depending on your audience. You can easily get your visitors locations from Google Analytics demographics section. 

Here is a sample of one of our websites which clearly indicated that most of our visitor are from the United States. So, selecting USA server location would be the best choice: 

  1.   Use a lightweight theme to build your website

Again, if we don’t use an optimized theme then it will significantly increase the number of requests by spreading unused CSS and JavaScript codes everywhere. 

Go with themes that are lightweight and have minimum coding size. If you need our recommendation then you could go for Astra, GeneratePress, Blocksy, Hello and other such themes which can be used with page builders like Gutenberg and Elementor to create awesome websites of all types. 

They also provide pre-made templates which will make your work easy. 

  1. Optimize all images used on your website

We use images on our websites to make it more attractive and drive the message home, but it makes the page size bigger. So, always compress your images, without compromising on the quality, before uploading them to your WordPress website. 

Image formats like WebP should be your best choice as they provide good resolution and quality images in the best size possible. 

Plugins like WP Smush and W3 Total cache will help you reduce the size of images used on your websites. 

Note – We should also remove all unused images from our Media section. This will help reduce the overall website size and will increase web performance. 

  1. Use lazy loading if needed

With lazy loading you get:  

Reduces initial load time – Lazy loading a webpage reduces page weight, allowing for a quicker page load time. 

Bandwidth conservation – Lazy loading conserves bandwidth by delivering content to users only when requested. 

System resource conservation – Lazy loading conserves both server and client resources, because only some of the images, JavaScript and other code actually needs to be rendered or executed. 

If you are worrying about how to enable then see these samples – 

Enabling Lazy loading in LiteSpeed Cache plugin 


Enabling Lazy loading in W3 total cache plugin  

Just put some effort into getting this option either in your caching plugin or in your theme panel. 

  1. Fix mixed content SSL errors on your website

Running your WordPress site over HTTPS is no longer optional. Not only is it more secure (everything is encrypted, with nothing passed in plain text), but it also builds trust, is a search engine ranking factor, and provides more accurate referral data. Unfortunately, when migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, website owners can encounter several issues. One of which is ‘mixed content warnings’. 

I am going to tell you a very simple strategy to fix mixed content warning. Follow these simple steps – 

  1. Download and install Really Simple SSL plugin 
  2. Navigate to its settings 
  3. And make sure you have options enabled as per the screenshot provided below: 

  1. Use the recommended stable PHP version with proper PHP configurations

PHP plays a very vital role as it pertains to the WordPress ecosystem, as the entire CMS is built on PHP. You need to make sure that you are using the stable php version to ignore any php recommendation errors.  

PHP is one of the most popular scripting languages on the web today. According to W3Techs, PHP is used by over 78% of all the websites that use a server-side programming language.  

This means for almost every 8 out of 10 websites you visit, they are most likely utilizing PHP in some form or another.  

Better php configuration and stable recommended php configuration by your host and developer will help you gain good server and website security, improve website performance and will make your website stable. 

It took a while, but the official WordPress.org requirements now recommend a host running PHP version 7.4 or greater. 

Bluehost is one of them, you can configure php setting under php.ini editor in your Bluehost panel. It’s better to keep the settings as inherit. 

  1. Use a caching plugin with a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service

We have already covered how to enable CDN in Bluehost initially in this article. Along with the CDN you can enable caching to get your website optimized even better. Here’s a list of some recommended caching plugins that you can choose as per your host recommendation: 

  1. W3 Total Cache 
  2. LiteSpeed Cache 
  3. WP Optimize 
  4. WP Super Cache 
  5. Autooptimize 

Once installed, enable the setting for CSS, JavaScript and HTML optimization, DB cache, object cache, browser cache and lazy loading. In many cases fragment and disk caching is also available. 

  1. Reduce the number of themes and plugins/Delete all unused themes and plugins

The main reason why you should delete unused WordPress themes installed on your blog is that they can slow down your site. Themes take disk space and increase the size of your backup file. 

According to Google, most sites lose their visitors by half while loading. To retain visitors, your site must load faster on all devices. You can test your site’s speed with Google’s Test My Site tool and receive recommendations for improving website performance across all devices. 

Deletion of theme and plugin is easy, just identify the unused one and delete them to keep your website clean.  

More unwanted things make you prone to more vulnerability. 

  1. Delete unused/unnecessary tables from database

Although there are many ways to delete unused tables, but we will suggest a plugin method. It is always advisable to take a complete backup of your website before doing any such activity. 

While creating our website, we install and delete many plugins and themes on our website which unnecessarily create new tables and insert new rows. So, if you are not using a plugin then you should delete the respective tables from the database as well. 

Follow this step to delete unused tables: 

  1. Install and activate a plugin called Plugins Garbage Collector (Database Cleanup) 
  2. Navigate to tools and then open database cleanup 
  3. Click on scan database 

    4. Select the tables which are highlighted in red 

    5. Click delete to delete all those tables at once 

Note – The above screenshot shows that duplicator tables are unused, you can cross verify if you have this plugin installed on your website. 

  1. Optimize your database i.e., clear post revisions, drafts, orphaned contents, transients

It is always recommended to optimize your database from time to time. We will recommend you to use Wp Optimize plugin for this.  

 

This will help you to clear post revisions, clean all auto draft posts, clean all trashed posts, remove spam and trashed comments, remove unapproved comments, remove pingbacks and trackbacks, clean all post meta and orphaned relationship data all with tables optimization. 

You must install this plugin to run selected optimizations as per your choice. 

You can also enable scheduled clean-up and optimization using this. 

Wrapping it up – What more can you do? 

You might wonder, despite all the things suggested above, is there anything more one can do? The answer is yes, we can do a lot more! 

If you are running an image based or videos streaming website then you should put all your heavy content (Music, High Resolution Images, Videos) on cloud services like Amazon S3 and Google One. 

If you are using ad networks like AdSense, Media.net or others then make sure to keep the number of ads less i.e., 3-4 per page only, otherwise it will increase your https requests and page load time. 

Bonus – Bluehost offers WordPress optimized servers, VPS Servers and Ecommerce Hosting, you can choose one as per your needs and if you need any help get in touch with their support team. 

I hope you will follow all the suggestions to keep you WordPress Website clean and optimized. 

Author

"OK Ravi" is a Digital Marketer since 2017 & has worked on 400+ SEO, Web Development and Affiliate Marketing Projects. He is very passionate about blogging as a career and helping bloggers and small entrepreneurs to succeed with their goals through an online presence. In addition to this, he is also working as a Test Engineering Analyst for Accenture, India.

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