Intermediate

Intermediate tutorials may include code modifications, or use of tools like FTP. If you’re not a full-on developer, but you’re also not scared of getting your hands dirty, these tutorials are good for you :)

Google PageSpeed Insights – A Guide For WordPress Users

Google PageSpeed Insights – A Guide for WordPress Users

I’ve updated this guide based on the recent changes to the PageSpeed tool.

Listen, let’s keep it real, PageSpeed Insights is a tool best used by developers. Its intentions are good but it’s not targeted at the average WordPress site owner. Even with the recent introduction of some WordPress-specific messaging, many aspects of the report are too technical to be clearly actionable.

In this guide I’ll try to translate what PageSpeed is talking about and let you know which factors you can control, as a WordPress site owner, and which you can’t.

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.
Read more
Will HTTP/2 Make Your WordPress Site Faster?

Will HTTP/2 Make Your WordPress Site Faster?

Without boring the pants off you, HTTP/2 is an updated and more efficient way of delivering web site components from server to browser. There are 3 conditions:

  • Browsers have to support it – most of them do now.
  • Servers have to support it. Many do, ask your host about it. If they don’t, using Cloudflare will enable HTTP/2
  • Your site has to use HTTPS

Now that it’s becoming increasingly widespread, most articles on the topic make sweeping promises of faster performance, “just like that”, simply by enabling it. But there are fewer articles which actually back up these claims with test results.

I recently converted a couple of sites from HTTP to HTTPS and decided to take the opportunity to see what difference, if any, enabling HTTP/2 made.

Read more
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!

Browser caching

Imagine your web page is like a puzzle. The puzzle pieces are CSS, JavaScript and image files. When you visit a web page, the browser has to retrieve all those puzzle pieces from the server, then assemble them correctly to make your web page.

Browser caching allows the browser to keep some of those puzzle pieces in place, that is, stored in the browser itself (on your computer), so that the next time you visit that page, it doesn’t have to fetch them again from the server.

The purpose of browser caching is to make repeat visits to the same site much faster for the visitor.

Read more
How To Have Different Sidebar Content On Different Pages Of Your WordPress Site

How to Have Different Sidebar Content On Different Pages of Your WordPress Site

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.

Read more
7 Simple WordPress Performance Test Best Practices

7 Simple 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.

Read more
Which Speed Testing Tool Should You Use For Your WordPress Site?

Which Speed Testing Tool Should You Use For Your WordPress Site?

Measuring the loading time of your WordPress site is a critical step in optimizing for speed. You have to know how your site is performing to understand where the bottlenecks are and to measure the impact of optimizations you’re making, or the content you add to your site. There are numerous tools available for measuring the performance of your site, each of them providing a different result, which is understandably confusing. Which one is “right”?

So which speed testing tool should you use? The real answer is that it depends on what you want to measure
in how much detail you want to measure it.

Read more