5 Best Tips to Optimize WordPress Websites for SEO
Making your WordPress website stand out from others vying for attention is a matter of proper optimization, performance, and speed. With an increasing number of companies trying to win your audience over, optimizing your website for search engines is of paramount importance to your success, especially if you want to increase brand awareness, gain exposure, and drive more traffic.
The first step to implementing an effective SEO strategy for your WordPress website is carefully analyzing the different aspects that search engines take into account when ranking your website. The guide below will teach you how to effectively optimize your website and make the most out of your strategy.
1. Choose Your Hosting Package Wisely
There are literally dozens of web hosting companies to choose from, but very few of them can deliver the uptime performance your eCommerce website needs to thrive. Choosing a cheap hosting plan might not be as good as you may think, especially if your server takes a long time to successfully process HTML requests and MySQL commands. While opting for a reliable web hosting company is indeed important to ensuring that you will be getting quality services, your website might still load slowly and perform poorly if the package you opt for does not consist of enough resources.
When shopping around for a hosting plan, pay close attention to the resources it offers. Any web hosting package will fall short when it comes to RAM and CPU, especially if your website has traffic spikes. Also, you might want to opt for a dedicated server instead of a shared one, as the latter will naturally make your website load slowly because there are also other websites hosted on the same server.
2. Mobile-Responsive Themes Are Cool
Once you have selected a good hosting package for your website, the next step is choosing a fast theme. If the theme you opt for is improperly coded, or if it uses a large number of images throughout the design, your website will take a few more seconds to load, which might be killing your chances of getting ranked higher in search engines.
Select a theme that has been also optimized for mobile devices to provide a better experience to your customers. Mobile-responsive themes will automatically adjust themselves to fit the screen size of the device they are accessed from, which has become an important factor used by search engines’ ranking algorithms.
Consider hiring a reliable company to create a personalized theme with as little images as possible, and a fully mobile-responsive design. This will enable you to control the loading speed of your website, and also ensure that search engines will be ranking your website higher than your competitors.
3. Be a Social Butterfly – But with Limit!
As much as you would want to use social media sharing buttons to encourage distribution of your products and links, this might not be the wisest move given that having them on your website could add about 500KB to your pages. Since these buttons make calls to exterior servers, they will decrease loading speed immensely, which will dramatically impact your ranking.
Deleting locally-stored social media pictures will help reduce page size by a whopping 1 megabyte, which will make a huge difference in how fast your website loads.
4. Use a Cache Plugin to Get Your Website Loading Faster
Cache plugins can assist you in submitting static HTML files instead of dynamic ones. Since there are no PHP or MySQL commands to execute, page loading speed will be faster, which will help improve your optimization strategy at a great deal.
Depending on the platform you are using for your website, there might be different plugins to choose from. For WordPress-based eCommerce websites, the best such cache plugins include WP Super Cache and WP Fastest Cache. For Magento, you can try PageCache by Varnish, or Full Page Cache Pro. Page Cache and Express Cache are two of the most popular modules for Prestashop-based eCommerce websites.
5. Compress Images on Your Website
One of the best ways to increase loading speed and optimize your eCommerce website for search engines is imae compression. Since product images might be quite large in size, they will automatically take more space, which can make your website load slower and respond poorly. Compressing your images can result in reducing their size from 900 KB to as little as 250 KB, or even more depending on the tool you use.
Kraken.io is probably one of the most effective image compression tools, and the best part is that you can successfully install it as plugin to your WordPress website. You will not be able to compress all of them at a time, but you should manage to do this gradually through the “Bulk Action” feature of WordPress. Once installed, the plugin will automatically compress the images you upload to the site. However, Kraken.io does not come cheap – you will have to pay $9/month for a Basic Plan (up to 2 gigabytes of images), or $5/month for a Micro Plan (up to 500 megabytes of images).
When optimizing your eCommerce website, some other aspects you must consider include product descriptions, appropriate product names, and also URL structure, which are all important to ensuring that your website will be getting maximum exposure. Once loading speed becomes faster, your website will start driving more traffic and sales, which will allow you to gradually earn your customers’ trust and loyalty.