WordPress Optimization – July 9th Meetup Review

Hey WordPressers!

Thanks everyone who made it out last night and definitely a special thanks to Thomas for bringing in some coffee mugs for the group. We had a great discussion on optimizing WordPress sites and even got to see some real-life / real-time results as we applied some of the changes to kzoowp.com

Image “smushing” and optimization was the first subject we touched on, and we discussed the WP Smush plugin and reviewed the premium features a little as well. This is a great plugin for automatically compressing your images as you upload them into your media library and use them through out your posts or pages. There is also a really awesome feature that allows you to “bulk compress” all of your old media files that you have uploaded in the past. Definitely a great way to improve a dramatic part of your website’s speed if you have a lot of photos in your content.

Compressing the source code of your website with WP Super Minify was briefly discussed, but we tried using the JetPack minify feature with very poor results. I’m sure a little bit of sitting down and testing out the settings would have helped us a lot more but due to timing we moved on.

JetPack also comes with a Content Delivery Network option, called Photon, that can greatly help increase the speed at which your site is loaded. These networks are designed and engineered for fast download speeds. The idea is to get them hosting as many static files of your site as possible so that the server your WordPress is hosted on doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver the content.

The last step of the entire process is setting up a caching plugin. We set up W3 Total Cache and did a quick configuration to get us running. There is a lot of options that you can test and experiment with to see different results for your site’s performance.

We used GTMetrix again to scan our site and measure our performance as we updated these changes and watched the performance benefits start rolling in! They have a “history” tab that you can view that shows a graph of the different metrics they use to measure site performance each time that you scan your website. Scanning the site in between each step is a great way to measure what was the most effective and what you should be focusing on in the future to make sure you’re keeping your site optimized.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at our next meetup on August 13th. I’ll be posting more information in the coming weeks about what we will be covering.

Thanks again everyone!

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