WordPress allows you to create various sites. Whether you want a complete news portal where you will publish dozens of new articles each day, or you want a simple one pager as your personal or business site, you can have it. But no matter the purpose or design you go for, you will need to have a homepage. Depending on what you want and need, that homepage can be completely different on each site you own.
Still, there are some things you should consider while building your homepage. And you shouldn’t forget to optimize one with WordPress – no matter what’s the most important page on your site, the front page will stay of one of the most visited ones no matter what.
If you want to make sure that your visitors stay with you and find the information they were looking for, you will have to take care of and optimize WordPress homepage for them. Just by utilizing some of the techniques, you can speed up your site and improve SEO. Sounds interesting? Let’s see what’s in the bag.
Among all the default WordPress widgets and the ones you additionally install, it’s hard to keep your WordPress homepage clean. Many of the widgets seem valuable and intriguing, but the truth is that most of them are just dragging you down. Most of your visitors won’t even consider checking all ten widgets you glued onto the homepage. They probably don’t need them all. So, go to Appearance -> Widgets and reconsider what you really need. More often than not, less is more.
The same goes for WordPress plugins. The more plugins you have, the slower your site gets. Don’t slow down your homepage by installing the extensions you actually don’t need.
Reduce the number of posts
By default, WordPress will show ten latest posts if you choose that type of the front page. Depending on your posts, this might be just more than enough. In some cases, even ten articles will be too much, so consider reducing the number of articles shown on your WordPress homepage.
It is easy to do so; just navigate to Settings -> Reading and change the “Blog Pages Show at Most” option to any number you want. If you decide to count the number of post on WP Loop’s homepage, you will notice that we reduced the number to eight which is more than enough, don’t you think?
If you start browsing WordPress sites all over the Internet, you’ll notice that many people still tend to show too much info about the latest posts. We have witnessed many cases where people show the entire articles from their homepage! And that’s a big no-no!
Don’t you hate to see that small scrolling bar that got reduced because of the practically unlimited content on the WordPress homepage?
So, instead of showing too much, you should consider showing post excerpts. Luckily, the majority of WordPress themes already got things covered. But if your theme hasn’t prepared you for the excerpts, you can easily add a Read More link. You can also take care of the excerpts and change the number of words shown per excerpt. You can even change the length of excerpts for WordPress categories. Also, you should consider breaking the article before the first image or video – there’s no need in showing media from your articles on the homepage. Visitors who are interested will be happy to click and open the article for more details.
Be careful when using Google Maps
Google Maps don’t need an extra introduction. Everyone is using the technology, but not many of WordPress users know that a simple Google map can drastically slow down your site.
Although you might add a small map with one location in the footer of your site, that map will usually make up to seventy requests and will weigh up to 2MB. Even though that might not seem too much, it really is. So, if you plan to optimize WordPress homepage, you will have to take care of the maps on your site.
We have already shown you how to optimize Google Maps for your site manually. But, since you’re already using WordPress, you should consider Google Maps Widget. The plugin is free, and unlike the others, it will reduce the map size and the number of requests. By showing the thumbnail of the map, Google Maps Widget will lessen the number of requests to just one, and the optimized static image will weigh not more than 20-30KB. If you are interested, learn more about Google Maps Widget plugin.
Optimize images for the homepage
Another common mistake that can be found on WordPress homepages all over the Internet are unoptimized images. It’s not enough to upload the picture; you have to prepare one for the web. If you optimize images for WordPress, you can make a significat change to the speed of your front page.
If you are showing ten latest posts on your homepage where each one has its own featured image, just ten or twenty kilobytes off of each image will improve the loading speed of your site. This change might not be noticeable to your visitors, but Google will recognize the improvement which will benefit to your SEO.
Select the right slider plugin
Many WordPress homepages use sliders to show the latest posts or pictures. While it is a nice visual feature, a slider might slow you down. Even after optimizing images, make sure that your slider is fast enough (not all slider plugins are coded equally).
There are some great premium WordPress sliders that will make your homepage look amazing. But, be careful when choosing one for your site – if the slider you like has more features than you need, you might just load unnecessary files that will slow down everything. Sometimes, a free simple slider may be a better choice.
Choose the right theme
Different themes will have different homepages. By selecting the right one for your needs, you can eliminate the unnecessary features that will just bloat the homepage.
When choosing a free theme, make sure that it’s well coded. The best thing you can do here is to pick a theme with the minimalistic homepage. Then you can expand it with features that you really need. If you are looking for a more professional solution and you want a premium theme which should be well coded (we only wish that premium always means well coded and designed), we suggest that you first check a dozen of things before purchasing a premium theme.
If you are clueless about what a homepage should look like from a developer’s perspective, it might be a good decision to ask a professional developer for help.
Remove ads if you don’t need them
We know that many of you will want to add advertisements on their site. You want to make money from your website; we can understand that. But do you really need ads?
We have come across many WordPress sites with up to one or two hundred visitors per day that run ads from their homepage. The truth is that those ads will slow down your website, and a chance of making more than a few cents is close to none. In this case, the ads that you’re piling up in your sidebars, header or footer will only work against you. A simple ad might be the reason your homepage loads slower than it should. Take a look at a nice video below which will explain how that happens.If you just have to have ads on your site, choose one of the reputable networks like Google AdSense or WordAds for example.
After all that you can do just for your homepage, you shouldn’t stop here. There are much more things you can do to improve the speed of your entire site. Here are just a few more things you can do for the speed of your site:
Obviously, each homepage will need different changes so you have to find the best solution for your site. How do you keep your homepage optimized?
- It's easy to change the number of posts displayed on your homepage
- Unload Scripts and Styles with one click to make your site load faster
- Speed up site by properly added Google Maps - wipe 70 req & 2MB
- Top 13 free online tools to test website speed and overall performance
- How to Enable Output Compression in WordPress