The truth is, today’s internet users have the attention span of a goldfish. Your website has to load almost instantly, provide visitors with the right content and features at the right time, and on top of it all, it has to do it an appealing and intuitive way. Performance, especially the speed of your theme, can be the difference between success and failure. If you’re a developer trying to earn some extra cash on the side, these WordPress theme optimization tips will help you develop themes that will not only look great, but will perform better as well.
Why Optimization Matters
There are two major factors affecting the performance of a website: the visitor’s broadband speed, and how well-optimized website itself is. Obviously, you have the power over only one of these factors, so you have to make sure you’re doing the best job possible. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theme is – the visitors simply won’t wait long enough to see it in action if it takes too long to load. If will affect your buyer’s website performance and conversions, which, in turn, will affect your sales and reputation.
Follow WordPress Theme Optimization Tips From The Beginning
Don’t let theme optimization be an afterthought – instead, make it one of your top priorities from the get-go to follow the best development practices. WordPress has two sets of guidelines: one for HTML and PHP and another for CSS, which will undoubtedly make the design process a lot easier, even if you’re an experienced developer.
Watch Your Plugins
Plugins are basically pieces of software that provide additional features and can boost the functionality of your theme in a matter of minutes. Unless you want to code your own plugins, you can either use the ones made by WordPress, or third-party ones. However, plugins can be a cause of major headaches both for you and your buyers if you don’t pay close attention. One of the most essential WordPress theme optimization tips is to make sure you include only the latest version of every plugin you’re using, and check if they’re compatible with other plugins you already installed. If the plugin hasn’t been optimized, it can slow down your theme, or even worse, render it useless.
No list of WordPress theme optimization tips would be complete without mentioning the cache. Cache plugins can significantly improve the speed and responsiveness of your theme. Plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache will generate static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress PHP scrips, and it will enable pages to load much quicker as there’s no the need to execute PHP commands anymore.
Pay Attention To The Content
While you do want to offer your buyers all the latest features, make sure not to overdo it. Even before touching a single line of code, determine which widgets your buyers will need, and make sure to remove the unused ones. There’s no need to show the entire blog posts either – instead, show excerpts and include a “Read More” button where appropriate. Don’t forget to optimize your images as well. A well-optimized image can look stunning, and still be around 120kb. Following these tips will enable you to reduce the page bloat and offer a seamless and memorable browsing experience.