Make the Most of your WordPress Theme by Cleaning House

In one of my earlier posts, we debated whether WordPress themes were replacing web designers. While the answer was a resounding no, let’s not discount the potential of a theme by itself.

WordPress themes have helped millions of businesses get online. According to Code in WP, in 2014, the total number of theme downloads from WordPress.org was 123,498,018. That is a HUGE number!

Does your theme impact your website’s performance?

Sure, it does. Your theme is essentially like a house with great decor. It provides the styling and layout for your website. It matters because:

  • Help conveys your identity through your website
  • Helps improve customer experience
  • Makes you look professional
  • Gives your business a facelift

Sometimes however, we unknowingly hamper the performance of our themes by simply ‘hoarding’. Just like we could be accumulating clutter in our houses that make it look messy, we could be doing the same with our website.

Weed out unused plugins: Plugins add to your code and make your site heavy. If there are plugins you haven’t used in a while and are certain you won’t use anytime soon, ensure you disable them through your WordPress control panel. Freeing up space will help your site load faster.

Check for plugin conflicts: All WordPress themes cannot be compatible with all plugins so it’s not uncommon to have plugins that don’t work. If you do face issues, disable one plugin at a time to determine the one that’s causing the issue. While this can be time taking, start with the most recently installed plugins. If the problem still persists, contact the support center.

Weed out unnecessary assets: Just like plugins, it’s important to weed out unnecessary analytics, fonts, widgets, advertisements, libraries etc. Advertisements, especially intrusive ads like pop-ups or those loaded from third party servers can negatively affect performance and slow down your site.

Consider removing social buttons: I know the Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & other social icons are really important but you’ll be surprised to know that social icons add hundreds of kb of third-party JavaScript to your page. This not only poses a security risk but could have a negative impact on your site’s performance. If you have multiple social plugins, consider keeping your top 3 most important ones to your brand and removing the others.

Mind your images: Formats like .svg, .png, .jpg are browser supported however formats like .webp have limited browser support. Your images might break or even skew your theme.  

In addition to the format, the size of the images matter too. WordPress provides resizing options for images taken from phone or camera devices, too large to display on desktop. Image dimensions should also stay within the container dimension to avoid breaking code and to keep the site light.

Check if you’re running on the latest WordPress version: You can check this through your WordPress Dashboard which alerts you if you need to upgrade. Outdated versions can cause your code to break or cause plugin conflicts.

Check the version of the theme: Ensure you’re running on the latest version of the theme. To check this, login to your WordPress Dashboard & locate the version of the theme you are running on under ‘Appearance’ section. Like the WordPress update alerts, you will receive alerts for theme upgrades.

Conclusion

We hope we were able to give you some house keeping tips when it comes to your theme. A great tool to help you identify trouble areas is the GTmetrix tool

Just put in your website url & you’ll have your results in under 30 seconds. Got more tips? We’d love to hear any other comments to may have in the comments section below.

About Amrita

AmritaAmrita is a marketing specialist by profession who loves writing, music and animals.

Amrita

Amrita

Amrita is a marketing specialist by profession who loves writing, music and animals.