Boosting or super-charging your website is a very necessary thing to learn if you want to continue your SEO or Website dreams with WordPress. Incredibly easy to get into with a very gradual learning curve, there is a point where you need to up your game so you can take your websites (or more likely, your clients’ website) to the next level. Here are some very casual and simple tips on how to do that.

  1. Get away from Shared Hosting as soon as possible!

The big hosts all entice you with what seems like cheap monthly hosting to have your site sit on a server of theirs. However, if you look at what they give you and how much it costs you a year, they are making an enormous profit. I wrote about what I do over here, feel free to take my advice – it’s certainly the best option I’ve found for affordable – and yet world-class performance – for WordPress hosting.

2. Secure your Website

A WordPress website gets hacked every hour, maybe every minute. I made that stat up but it must be true. Maybe 10,000 sites a day?! Who knows… Some tips: Learn how to change your “wp_” prefix, have super strong passwords, try keep admin users down to one (two at most), have systems in place for restoring a backup, and use these other tricks, too.

3. Learn about Caching

I’ve worked with Cloudflare for a while now and really like their offering. They are a CDN that will help you keep your static content cached on servers worldwide and… for free! At some point they will charge you but I’m sure that for 95% of sites you will be fine with the free package. South Africa gets great service with Fastly, likely because they house a server in Jo’burg. Then, if you do cache things on your actual site, make sure you’ve worked out what should be cached by a CDN like the above two, or locally on your site.

4. Do multiple audits

GTMetrix, Pingdom Tools, Lighthouse (built into Chrome), and things like Yslow (built into GTMatrix’s report) will all point you in the right direction of what is slowing down your site. With their free audits you will have more than enough info to go on to boost your site. If you need more, then good luck to you, but you should be 98% of the way there.

5. Make ‘mobile’ a priority

In 2007, I was in London at the Tate Modern and spent hours at an incredibly well-presented and thought-provoking exhibition the very year that the world – for the first time ever – had more urban than rural inhabitants. Last year, I was nowhere near London, and probably staring out a window at some office space in Woodstock, Cape Town when ‘Mobile first’ indexing began. We were pre-warned, and let me pre-warn you: Google (and likely 55% of website users) today cares more about how your site performs and displays on phones, rather than desktops.

That is a wrap for now. In time I hope to come back and add another five key points but I hope it helps you somewhat in your dreams of having a WordPress site (that is really built for basic blogging) that can take it to the next level.