There are literally thousands of photographers who run their business and display their photographic portfolio using the WordPress platform. Not only is it an economical platform to use, but it is a relatively easy content management system to learn. And it is a system that works for the smallest of blogs to the most highly trafficked websites on the internet. In fact, WordPress is the publishing platform we use to run the entire Photofocus site.
And while WordPress performance is fairly fast with a new installation, as you add content, themes & plugins, the performance typically decreases drastically. So I’ve come up with some recommended basic optimizations for your WordPress site that can help decrease load times while increasing the overall page speed on your site.
- Bloated themes
There are good themes and there are bad themes. The theme you choose can play a large role in the performance of your WordPress site. As a general rule, it is recommended that you keep a close eye on the number of “features” included in your themes. Generally speaking, the lighter the theme is in terms of features (bells & whistles), the better the theme will perform.
- Limit the number of plugins being used
This cannot be stressed enough. I’ve seen sites with over 60 plugins in place. Typically I’d recommend no more than 10-15 WordPress plugins at most. Depending on what plugins you are using, this number could still be high. The quality of the plugin being used is also very, very important. If you find that you need the features of all those extra plugins, you’ll do better to find yourself a theme that already has those features included WITHOUT the use of plugins.
- Image Optimization
Always ensure they your images are properly optimized for use on your website BEFORE uploading images into your WordPress media library. Images should be as small in file size as possible, without compromising the quality of the image. Using html to scale your images uses additional resources which can increase the load time of your WP site.
- Use a WordPress Caching Plugin
The way caching plugins work is by saving the dynamically generated HTML files and serving them from the cache (i.e. reusing previously generated data) whenever a request is made, rather than loading all of the PHP scripts from WordPress every time you hit refresh. The result is that your site loads far quicker for all its visitors. Specifically, I recommend using WP Super Cache as a caching plugin for WordPress. It’s been downloaded over 1 Million times and based on my own personal testing (and for my clients), I’ve seen the best performance yielded from WP Super Cache.