WordPress has become one of the most important engines that power the web these days. Whether you have a portfolio site, a business website or just a simple blog, chances are that you are already using WordPress.
To be more precise, when visiting Techmeme' site, in the Who's Hiring In Tech? section, you find out they power more than 26% of the new web sites. And that is something impressive these days. Another search for WordPress usage statistics, and we get to W3Trends. Here, we find out that WordPress is used by 59.2% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 26.3% of all websites.
So... yes, Wordpress matters these days.
The sad part is the poor state of the entire WordPress ecosystem. Because of its impressive growth, the ecosystem now has numerous issues, most important being speed. And in times when speed matters, not only for user experience, but also for Google results placement (Webmaster Central Blog), we should take care of our WordPress websites.
1. Use Custom Themes for Custom Needs
The most delicate problem when it comes to Wordpress is the current trend in themes design/development: providing a lot of functionality to cover most needs. Doing this, themes have become bloated packages with a ton of unused plugins.
A simple example: one of the most successful themes in WordPress ecosystem, apart from the huge list of features available for the user, has also 5 different types of sliders available to choose from.
In case you want to install and use such theme for a landing page, I suggest trying a custom theme. Remember, a couple of .php files and one style.css, and you have a simple, fast, custom theme. To get you started, here is a simple WordPress Cheatsheet.
2. Uninstall Unneeded Plugins
A WordPress based site has a dynamic life. At some point, you will test and install new WordPress plugins to cover certain needs. The problem here is that most of the users forget to uninstall the plugins. This means websites will have extra HTTP requests, additional bandwidth traffic and slow response time due to these.
So, from time to time, do a cleaning session and uninstall unneeded plugins.
3. Use Actively Developed Plugins
Extending your site's functionality is vital. And most of the times you can achieve that by installing new plugins. The important thing is to dig a little before installing. You have to check if the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress but most of all, you need to make sure the plugin is actively developed and has good rating. In this way you will make sure your site will use the best plugins, will get updated frequently and will have less exposure to security flaws.
These simple guidelines can help your Wordpress sites in the long run.
Of course, avoiding 4k pictures and paralax sliders helps too...
Update: The guys at FirstSiteGuide have developed a well crafted article about website speed. You can read it here: https://firstsiteguide.com/website-speed/