A useful checklist for WordPress websites including essential guides, tracking, optimization for caching, load speed, load testing and plug recommendations.
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system written in PHP and paired with a MySQL or MariaDB database. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system, referred to within WordPress as Themes.
Don’t use plugins that hasn’t been updated to the latest WordPress version. Don’t use to many plugins and delete unused plugins since this will slow down the website and expose the website for hacking. Find WordPress plugins here.
Use Google Site Kit plugin for tracking and insights about how people find and use your site. The plugin can link to Google Search Console, Analytics, AdSense, PageSpeed Insights, Tag Manager and Optimize. The data is shown in the backend. Find more Google Site Kit info here.
Page Speed Booster
The Asset CleanUp plugin offers even more page speed. It scans your page and detects all the assets that are loaded. All you have to do when editing a page/post is just to select the CSS/JS that are not necessary to load, this way reducing the bloat. The plugin works best in combination with a cache plugin (e.g. WP Rocket, WP Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache), a hosting company that offers packages with server-level caching available (e.g. WP Engine, Kinsta) or a service like Cloudflare that has page caching enabled. Learn more about Asset CleanUp here.
Website Speed Test
A website speed test tool can be used to evaluate the performance of your website and see where improvements can be made. Some test tools also gives recommendation on how to optimize issues. Google PageSpeed Insights test for all devices. Learn more about: GTmetrix, PageSpeed Insights, KeyCDN, Pingdom, or Catchpoint.
The Performance Lab plugin is a collection of modules focused on enhancing performance of your site, most of which should eventually be merged into WordPress core. The plugin adds a fetchpriority hint for the primary content image on the page to load faster and creates WebP versions for new JPEG image uploads if supported by the server. WebP is a compact, modern image format that you can use to serve high-quality images that are a smaller file size than traditional formats like JPEG and PNG. With smaller images, your site loads faster and ranks better on SEO without compromising your site’s image quality. Learn more about Performance Lab here
Search Engine Optimization
Yoast SEO Free plugin is an all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, it contains everything that you need to manage your SEO, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. The Yoast SEO Premium plugin and its extensions unlock even more tools and functionality. Learn more about Yoast SEO here.
To improve your mobile site use the Think with Google tool. It gives insights on speed, how to optimise, compare with competitors, improved the shopping experience and conversions. Learn more about the Think with Google tool here.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a highly-distributed platform of servers that helps minimize delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. CDNs not only ensure a faster experience to your users, but they also help to prevent site crashes in the event of traffic surges – CDNs help to distribute bandwidth across multiple servers, instead of allowing one server to handle all traffic. Learn more about StackPath, Cloudflare, Hostry, Akamai and KeyCDN.
Serving images from a subdomain
When testing your website speed using GTmetrix or Pingdom, you might get a recommendation to use cookie-free domain to improve your website performance. Instead of buying a separate domain or CDN to setup a cookie-free domain, create a sub-domain (images.domain.com) on your existing domain to serve the static elements such as images, then your website will load faster.
Updated: 14 June 2023