These days, having a fast site with a good page speed score is important. You can assess your site’s speed score here.
Of course, aim for 100, but anything over 85 is quite good, especially on mobile. I’ve found posts with loads of images will score lower but still possible to score above 80 with the following tools.
Cloudflare is a CDN that speeds up sites. The free version is all you need. Cloudflare is the best I’ve used.
Cloudflare offers all the information you need to integrate your site with it. I find a good hosting company that will help you out as well.
TIP: Hosting companies usually provide great support with many technical aspects of websites. Take advantage of this. Whenever I have technical problems or questions. I ask my hosting company. I’ve been with many hosting companies over the years and most offer great support.
Hosting is so lucrative that they’re happy to help out. They want to keep their customers happy. If you don’t get the help you seek maybe it’s time to try different hosting.
ShortPixel or Imagify
I use ShortPixel but my host tells me Imagify is just as good. They’re both similar in what they do and that optimizes your images on your site.
You can optimize all images already on your site as well going forward as you add new images.
My favorite feature of these image optimization plugins is that they convert images to WebP format which loads images faster. I recommend you turn this feature on.
NitroPack or Ezoic Site Speed
The last tool to consider is a pagespeed optimization service such as NitroPack or Ezoic Site Speed. I use both. For one site use NitroPack. For my other sites, I use Ezoic Site Speed. For Ezoic, just open an account, integrate via Cloudflare and turn Site Speed on.
They both cost money and the price depends on the size and page views of your site. Both offer customer support that will help you get it up and running.
Both integrate with Cloudflare.
NOTE: You can likely achieve the same results provided by these services if you’re technical and take the time to learn. However, I’m not technical and prefer paying a monthly fee for all speed enhancements to be done and to be done correctly.
If you use NitroPack and opt for a paid service, they will set it up for you (which is very nice). Results
What about hosting?
I use Cloudcone VPS which is very, very good and it’s cheap.
Here’s my suggestion if starting out. Use free hosting xrea.com with a tight budget. I used it for years and it served me well. I had no problems. Once you hit 250,000 to 500,000 monthly page views it’s time to look for something better such as Cloudcone.
Which WordPress theme is best?
Simple is best. I use free themes by Creative Themes and am happy with them. I use them on every site published.
However, I’ve heard great things about Generate Press as well. I’ve not used it, but if I ever have a free week with absolutely nothing to do, I’d love to try it out on a site.