Tutorial: Step by Step Guide to Optimising your WordPress Website

As time goes on, you may start to notice that your WordPress website doesn’t quite perform as well as it use to.

Even when you’re using a hosting provider who promise the highest levels of speed and performance on their servers, the more you add to your site with posts, pictures and other content, the more drafts you discard and the more comments you receive, the harder those servers have to work to load your website.

Not that you have to put up with slower loading speed, mind you.

There’s a whole number of tools out there dedicated to cleaning up the databases that drive your website and boosting site performance. Today, we’re going to use one of those to optimise your site.

Ready to get started? Here’s the step by step guide.

Head to your plugins page

Log in to your WordPress dashboard and click the tab marked ‘Plugins.’ As seen in the screenshot below, that will bring up a page listing the plugins you currently use, along with any you’ve previously installed but aren’t currently active on your site.

Click ‘Add New’

Next to the page title, you’ll a button which says ‘Add New.’ Click that to be taken to Add Plugins page, where, among other things, you’ll see a list of featured plugins recommended by WordPress and its community.

Search for WP-Optimize

For now, we’re going to ignore those, and use the search box on the right to look up the plugin we’ll need today. Type ‘WP-Optimize’ into that search box as illustrated below, and hit enter.

The plugin we want is the first one in the search results, and looks like this:

Click ‘Install now’

Click the button to the right of that box to install the plugin. You’ll be asked to confirm that you want to install WP-Optimize, and then taken to a separate page whilst the plugin unpacks and installs itself.

Activate the plugin

At the bottom of that page, click the link which says ‘Activate Plugin.’ You’ll now be taken back to your main plugins page, where you’ll find WP-Optimize has been fully installed and activated.

Click ‘Optimizer’

Underneath ‘WP-Optimize’ on your plugins page, you’ll a link titled ‘Optimizer.’ Click that to start using your new plugin. If you want to return to WP-Optimizer and use it again at any time, you’ll find it towards the bottom of your dashboard menu as illustrated to the right.

However you get there, you’re now ready to start giving your website the performance boost it really needs.

Select your clean-up options

You’ll next find yourself at the main WP-Optimize page. As you’ll see in the image below, this comes with several options already pre-selected.

On the left hand side, you’ll have seven different options for things WP-Optimize can clean up for you. These are:

  • Post revisions
  • Auto-saved draft posts
  • Unapproved comments
  • Spam comments
  • Transient options
  • Pingbacks
  • Trackbacks

The first four are automatically selected for you, and we recommend keeping that it that way. Revisions and draft posts take up more database power than you might think, as does spam and other unapproved comments.

We agree with the plugins creator that there’s no good reason why you should want to remove ping and trackbacks, though deleting your transients won’t do you any harm, and will clear up more space.

Optimize your WordPress website

Next, look to the right of your screen, where you’ll find the ‘Actions’ box.

Making sure that ‘Optimize database tables’ is selected as an option, all you need to do now is hit that big blue button labelled ‘Process.’

Your plugin whizzes through the optimisation process in literally seconds, deleting old files, getting shut of those unapproved comments and generally freeing up space on your website’s database.

When it’s all done, your page will refresh, and you’ll be told exactly what WP-Optimize has done for you in a box like the one below:

Schedule automated cleaning

Now that you’ve cleaned your website once, you want to make sure it needs reaches the same slow, sluggish state again. To do that, you can always schedule your WP-Optimize plugin to kick in automatically at regularly scheduled times.

Beneath the ‘Process’ button, you’ll see text which tells you that ‘scheduled cleaning is disabled.’ Click ‘Check settings’ to enable it.

Select your auto clean settings

You can alter the general settings in the left-hand panel if you wish to, but for today, we’re only concerned with creating an automated schedule using the options in the right-hand panel.

Make sure that ‘Enable scheduled cleanup and optimization’ is checked, then decide how frequently you’d like this to be done. By default, WP-Optimize wants to clean your database every week, but we’ve gone for every fourteen days. Another option, once a month, is also available.

Decide what you’d like your plugin to remove, hit ‘Save auto clean-up settings,’ and that’s it; no more slow loading speeds and poor performance for your website!