12 DIY Tips to Improve Your WordPress Site’s Speed, SEO, and Usability

If you purchase through a link on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Bad news week – Your WordPress site is not perfect. Good news week – You can fix it yourself. You are not alone; it’s just something you need to work on. If you use the audit tools here on big sites like Moz.com andHuffingtonPost.com, you will find even they are less than perfect.
Table of Contents
WP Engine High Performance Hosting
BionicWP Hosting

Bad news week – Your WordPress site is not perfect.

Good news week – You can fix it yourself.

You are not alone; it’s just something you need to work on. If you use the audit tools here on big sites like Moz.com and HuffingtonPost.com, you will find even they are less than perfect.

Know the Size of Your Problems

The first step is to work out the size of the speed, SEO, and usability problems you have. Free tools go a long way here.

Speed Assessment

Tip 1

Use Pingdom, a free tool, to measure your site’s speed.

Pingdom gives you a score and all the data you need. You can expand each performance insight and learn how to fix the problem.

Run Pingdom on your site to see the extent of your speed problems, fix the issues it throws up and run it again. Run Pingdom before and after installing any plugin, because many plugins will increase your page loading time.

SEO Audit

Start by learning and educating yourself with the best WordPress SEO practices. Setting up a good SEO infrastructure will save you a lot of time spent later on optimizing and revising your mistakes.

Tip 2

Screaming Frog will analyze a site up to 500 pages for free.

Even if you need Screaming Frog’s premium service, it is a very reasonable annual fee. You should run your site through Screaming Frog once a month, because errors creep in, especially if more than one person has upload permissions.

Usability Assessment

Testing usability is harder than finding SEO and speed issues, yet it is probably more important.

There are no free tools.

Tip 3

Ask five subjects from your target group to test your website. Ideally, the tests should happen while you stand behind them, or use screen-sharing software so that you can observe their actions

Tip 4

Heat maps tell you where users are focusing on your web pages. If they are not focusing where you want them to focus, then you need a page redesign. There are free Heatmap plugins for WordPress that could do the trick.

Tip 5

A/B testing will help you to make incremental usability improvements. There are paid A/B testing services, but start with a free WP plugin such as Nelio A/B Testing

Tip 6

How accessible are your pages to disabled users? Companies are being sued for failing to provide equal access to disabled users.

SortSite from PowerMapper is one solution to consider. For a one-off fee of $149, you can find any accessibility problems with your web pages.

You can test the first ten pages of any site with a free trial. The screenshot above is of the New York Times site and shows 90% of pages tested have issues.

Fixing Your Site’s Speed

People are impatient, and nobody is going to wait while your site loads.

Tip 7

Use a caching plugin. W3 Total Cache is a popular gree option while WP Rocket is a solid premium plugin. Both are easy to set up and are well-supported.

Tip 8

Use an image optimization plugin to reduce your images’ size, so they are loaded faster and give your visitors a better overall experience, all while helping your SEO efforts.

Tip 9

Remove as many third-party applications as you can. Ad services such as Google AdSense, social media plugins, and social sharing tools like Sumo Me all slow down your site. Weigh up whether each service is worth the pain it causes to your site’s loading speed.

Tip 10

Install a powerful and simple SEO plugin to set up, keep track of, and optimize your website’s SEO efforts, be it for landing pages or blog posts.

Improving Your Site’s Usability

Usability is crucial to your SEO because if visitors click away in frustration, Google detects that and marks your site down in its algorithm.

Tip 11

Use a premium form plugin. You need your visitors to talk to you, so prioritize your contact form.

A modern form builder lets you design forms that stand out because they are different. Drag and drop functionality ensures this plugin is easy enough for anyone to use.

Tip 12

Use a larger font and good contrast. Most sites use fonts smaller than W3C recommendations – Arial Trebuchet and Georgia should be at least 10 points. Good contrast also ensures readers find what they want quickly, so they are more likely to visit multiple pages on your website.

Tl; DR Version

WordPress is the best platform to build your site with, but a basic WordPress installation will not have proper SEO settings and will be slow because of all the calls to your databases. Ranking well in Google depends on improving your site’s speed, SEO, and usability rating.

Tim Erinwright

Tim Erinwright is a UK-based web developer at his freelance gig WRightDigital, and a self-professed tech geek and writer. When he’s not creating magic on WordPress, he can be found analyzing the “Song of Ice and Fire” books, and of course hiking.

Discover more from our archives ↓

Popular articles ↓

One Response

  1. Hi Sir,

    Great Tip for Improving site speed. I have tried everything which you have mentioned in your Article & now my Site Speed has improved from 10 seconds to 3 – 4 seconds.

    Thanks for Sharing this awesome Article!

    My Site Is –

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Claim Your Free Website Tip 👇

Leave your name, email and website URL below to receive one actionable improvement tip tailored for your website within the next 24 hours.

"They identified areas for improvement that we had not previously considered." - Elliot

By providing your information, you'll also be subscribing to our weekly newsletter packed with exclusive content and insights. You can unsubscribe at any time with just one click.