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To download a .xlsx version of this sheet, click here.


Tools & tips for improving a WordPress site for load time and SEO
People begin abandoning sites that take longer than 2-3 seconds to load. As many as 38% of site owners report being “hacked” in the past year. Everybody wants better rankings.
¬†Our goal is to have a site that loads fast; which is safe from viruses, malware and attacks; and which is optimized for search engines. Here’s our first steps.
Scan your site for technical SEO issues
Visual SEO Studio
Screaming Frog
Ensure every page has a unique keyword or key phrase assigned to it
Ensure every page has a unique title & meta description, focused on your keword for that page
Set up security (https) for your site
Really Simple SSL Plugin free https certificates
Your host probably has this available for free
Be sure every link and image on your site points to the https version. If your site says “Not secure” this is why.
Set up high-speed hosting
avoid entry level hosting, or any hosting company owned by “Endurance International Group.”
Greg @ Electric Awesome can help with this
expect to pay at least $30 / month for a good hosting plan, over $100 / month minimum for a private server
Set up backups
Updraft Plus backups plugin
ManageWP plugin
Check with your hosting provider for backups and “1-click restore.”
Set up a “Content delivery network”
Akamai (not free)
Amazon Cloudfront (very pricey)
Be aware that a CDN *may* decrease your SEO rankings. Monitor it carefully after setting it up.
Purge your plugins!
Evaluate all your plugins on your site and make sure you still need them. Delete old and unused plugins.
If your site loads slow, try disabling every plugin and see if it loads fast. If it does, you know you got a bad plugin.
If plugins “overlap” in their purposes, pick one.
Delete any deactivated plugins AND themes to keep your site secure
Use smaller images
images should be exactly the size they appear on the page – avoid uploading super huge high quality images for web use
Images can be compressed for huge savings in load time
“lazy load” images – use a lazy load function to tell the site to only load images when the client gets to that part of the site.
Wpoptimize plugin
a3 Lazy Load plugin
EWWW Image Optimizer plugin
Get Secure!
Make sure every user has a high security password
Move your wp-config.php file somewhere more secure
Under Settings > Discussion, disable the top 3 “default post settings”
Change the default “admin” username
iThemes Security plugin
Wordfence plugin
WP-DBManager plugin
Force Strong Passwords plugin
Suggested plugins
RankMath – SEO, Schema, Redirects
WPOptimize – caching, image compression, lazy load
Updraft Plus – Backups, multi-site management
Really Simple SSL – ssl settings
Wordfence – security & hardening
Anti-Malware Security and Brute Force Firewall – for removing malware
Next Steps:
Consider Joseph Stevenson’s how-to guide for on-page SEO:
Consider purchasing higher-speed hosting
Electric Awesome (that’s me)
Questions? Comments? Email