WordPress Speed Optimization Glossary

WordPress speed optimization glossary

Trying to make your WordPress site faster is an already technically complex process, further obscured by all the jargon you have to understand. Here’s an overview of some commonly used site “speed up” terms. I hope it helps demystify the process!

General web terms

Browser

The program you open to get on the internet: Chrome, Firefox, Safari are the most common examples.

Server

A special computer, provided by your hosting company, where your website actually lives. By “lives”, I mean where all the files and the database are stored. This machine delivers your website to all your website visitors.

Just like your phone and computer run on a certain software – Windows or MacOS for example – there are a few different types of software your server may run on.

Normally you don’t have to worry too much about this – it’s a decision made by your host and you don’t need to get your hands dirty. But if you get really into optimization, there can be a few differences depending on your server environment.

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Troubleshoot Your WordPress Plugins with Plugin Detective

Troubleshoot WordPress plugins with Plugin Detective

Many issues that arise on your WordPress site will be plugin-related. Whether it’s a conflict between plugins, between a plugin and your theme, a buggy update, or whatever else may happen,  the standard troubleshooting procedure is to deactivate all your plugins, then turn them back on one at a time until the issue reappears. This process lets you isolate exactly which plugin is at the source of the conflict. However, if you have more than a handful of plugins on your site, which almost everyone does, this can be a time-consuming and frustrating process.

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Google PageSpeed Insights – A Common Sense Guide for WordPress Users

Google PageSpeed Insights Guide for WordPress Users

Listen, let’s keep it real, I don’t think you should use PageSpeed Insights unless you’re a developer. PageSpeed has its heart in the right place, but it’s not intended for the average WordPress site owner and the reports it provides are ripe for misinterpretation.

Have you ever watched the show Silicon Valley? One of the main characters is Richard, the CEO of a tech startup. He’s a programming genius but socially inept. He has great intentions and a grand vision, but as a leader, he doesn’t do the best job at communicating his vision and is notoriously ineffective at public speaking.

PageSpeed Insights has a lot in common with Richard: they both have great ideas and communicate them poorly.

The basic message of PageSpeed Insights could be translated as follows:

  • Keep your pages light and simple.
  • Avoid unnecessary fanciness.
  • Consider mobile users, particularly those who pay for every byte of data.
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How to Have Different Sidebar Content On Different Pages of Your WordPress Site

How to have different WordPress sidebar content on different pages

Updated: April 2018

Not all WordPress themes provide a way to have totally different sidebar content on different pages of your site. Some may provide a little flexibility with, for example a sidebar for the blog and a different sidebar for static pages, but sometimes you need more comprehensive control. You may need an additional set of navigation on a certain set of sub-pages, or you may want to hide some widgets on mobile devices, or for other specific conditions.

There are several different plugins that help you gain this type of flexibility with your site.

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7 Simple WordPress Performance Test Best Practices

WordPress Performance Test Best Practices

These days it seems most WordPress users are aware of the need for speed on their websites: conversions, SEO, user experience etc. I won’t recycle all the usual stats here ;)

Maybe you’ve read some articles and seen that you need to speed test your site. So you click on whichever tool is mentioned, input your URL and proceed to freak out at the results.

But wait! Before freaking out, make sure you’re observing these rudimentary best practices when doing a performance test on your WordPress site.

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Hosting Recommendations for your WordPress Site

web hosting recommendations for your WordPress site

There is an overwhelming choice of web hosts these days and it can be hard to determine which would be a good fit. A Google search will reveal many blog posts on the subject which are really are just a roundup of that blog’s sub-par affiliates that haven’t been vetted for quality.

I’ve been running my own sites for over 14 years now, and have also had many years experience with client websites and all their various hosts.  So I have direct experience with many different hosts and have also interacted with the technical support departments of many of them.

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