Finding and evaluating useful WordPress themes, plugins and how-tos can be time consuming. The resources listed here have been valuable and effective for me, and may be helpful to you as well.
Fast-loading WordPress themes
Free themes are great. However, they aren’t usually well optimized for speed. These paid themes are highly optimized, affordable, and a great solution for helping your WordPress-powered site load faster.
- GeneratePress – this lightweight theme offers an integrated page builder, multiple layouts and ready-to go designs
- My Theme Shop – this vendor has multiple premium themes to choose from, all load quickly and have great search optimization features built-in. Schema is a favorite for many bloggers.
Ways to implement infinite scroll on single WordPress posts
- Jetpack – this free plug-in includes support for adding infinite scroll to your site. Implementation does require knowledge/ability to create child-themes and modify code.
- Bimber theme – this theme has a ton of amazing features and can be easily used for just about any type of website. I’ve used it on a few of my blogs to enable infinite scroll on single posts. Their integrated and ready-to-go solution just makes life easier for adding infinite scroll to your website. One added benefit, is that Bimber’s infinite scroll dynamically updates the URL, so can contribute to additional page views while playing nice with site analytics.
- Ajax Load More – this premium plugin offers the broadest range of features and controls for adding infinite scroll to any area of your WordPress site. The only reason I don’t regularly use their plug-in is that purchase requires an annual subscription. So, it can be pretty expensive for a hobbyist.
Fatstacksblog.com has an insightful roll-up that compares detailed differences between some of the most popular infinite scroll plugins and WordPress themes.
Ways to speed up your WordPress website
If the time to first byte (TTFB) on your site is unusually high, or things are taking longer to load in general, try one of these popular caching plugins.
- WP Super Cache – this favorite from Automatic offers grate overall performance with relatively low technical setup and configuration
- W3 Total Cache – this free solution offers a very effective, but complicated solution for WordPress caching
- WP Rocket – this paid caching solution costs about $50/year and is simple and easy to set up
Winningwp.com has a great technical write up comparing the performance and features of these WordPress caching solutions.
Fast loading, premium WordPress hosting solutions
- Kinsta – this vendor offers an easy-to-use solution for scaling up the technology that powers your WordPress site, pages and multimedia load quickly and time to first byte is low.
- WP Engine – similar to Kinsta, but with a few more affordable hosting plans for smaller sites that are aspiring to become large, popular destinations
Quickly update image thumbnails
When you change WordPress themes, you may find that your featured image thumbnails no longer look correct. Fixing this problem would be a laborious process. That’s where Regenerate Thumbnails come in. Temporarily install this plugin and send it off to automatically regenerate the thumbnail for every post on your blog.
Keep notes on posts that are visible only to authors
- Peter’s Post Notes – this handy plug-in allows you or a team of authors to maintain notes in the sidebar of posts you are working on. This can be helpful if you want to log an idea or reference on a story that you are working to develop.
Affordable premium WordPress themes for $39 per year
The team over at Elegant Themes, Inc. have been working hard to create a large collection of attractive and flexible premium WordPress themes. If you need to get a professional looking website up and running quickly, it may be worth considering one or more of the themes on offer. At $39 for unlimited access to all their themes, this looks like a steal.
I’ve not had an opportunity to try one of their themes yet. However, I like that their themes are designed to be XHTML compliant and work well with all web browsers while providing some common functionality most bloggers would need: layout control/options, detailed control over how your navigation menus work, ability to tweak colors of several elements in the theme, control over meta elements for SEO, and the ability to easily extend functionality with third party script add ons.
Overall, their themes have a friendly looking personality, nice textures, a variety of web fonts, and good use of layout and color queues to assist visitors in seeing the content and information that your want your audience to see the most.