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WordPress Optimization tips

In the next few posts I’ll be offering some specific WordPress tips and tricks I’ve used to improve my site’s loading time and overall visitor experience.

Get a real host

Please do not set up a free blog on one of those services like WordPress.com or Blogger. As I’ve said previously, if you want to be taken seriously you need your own domain name.

I can hear the groans about how this very blog is on wordpress.com, but again, I don’t post often enough here to justify the expense and effort of an entire domain.

I strongly recommend FutureQuest as a web host. I have been using them for nearly 10 years and have never had a problem with downtime, bandwidth or file restrictions (that I didn’t cause on my own, anyway). This is not an affiliate link, I am simply interested in getting you the best hosting possible.

Unlike other do-it-all webhosts they do not do domain registration or other services that third parties can do better. They stick to web hosting. It is clear to me that they know what they are doing in this area.

The lowest shared hosting package offers 1 GB storage space, 35 GB bandwidth per month, secure FTP, MySQL/Apache/PHP and 15 email accounts. This is plenty for all but the largest sites and perfect for the WordPress setup we will be discussing in the next few posts; if you are just starting out it will be a while before you hit the wall. Price is $9.95 $8.95 per month, for peace of mind you cannot beat that. I’ll be offering FutureQuest-specific tips in future posts.

Get a theme framework

After years of slogging through free WordPress theme templates, I finally gave Genesis a go. Let me tell you, once you switch (and get over the learning curve) you will wonder how you got anything done before. Genesis makes theme modification so simple it is a joke. My last website took less than hour to set up from WordPress install to having a complete site online. This is also not an affiliate link. I want you to know that I am not recommending Genesis because I get a commission, I really do believe this framework is the best option for WordPress bloggers.

It is definitely worth the expense, and you can use their free themes if you don’t see a paid one that you like. I have seen my site loading time drop significantly since installing the Genesis framework. Once again, the peace of mind and increase in speed is worth the expense. I will be offering Genesis-specific tips in future posts.

Note that the folks who created Genesis have their own hosting solution, Synthesis. I have no experience with this but it looks pricey and doesn’t give you the same access to system files (ex: .htaccess) that regular shared hosting does.

I do not have experience with other theme frameworks, so I would love to hear about your experience with others like Thesis.

That’s it for now. In the next few posts we’ll go over recommended plugins and theme modifications.

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