Are you struggling to speed up your WordPress website? There are many reasons why fast loading web pages are important, which include things like search rank, bounce rates, time on site, and overall user engagement. Of all factors, website speed is likely the most important condition for improving user experience and satisfaction.
Every visitor to your website has certain expectations. If your website does not meet those expectations, they will leave, become unhappy, and are less likely to ever return. According to a case study published on HubSpot, “If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors”. Moreover, mobile users expect that a web page will load in 4 seconds or less and every 1 second of delay results in an 11 percent loss of page views.
Regrettably, if left unmonitored, even an initially fast loading WordPress website can become slower over time. Sites accumulate data, get more complex and thus become less efficient. To some degree, that is normal. But, it doesn’t have to be and there are plenty of things you can do to keep your site from slowing down. So, today’s article shares WP Suites’ best tips and tricks to speed up your WordPress website.
Why Is My WordPress Website Slow?
In order to begin diagnosing why your WordPress website is slow, complete a performance test at Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool. Once the performance test is complete, you will receive a list of optimization recommendations. Common suggestions include lazy-loading offscreen and hidden images, deferring unused stylesheets, and increasing cache lifetime.
Regardless, there are two important measures to take note. The first is the First Meaningful Paint, which measures when the primary content of a page is visible. At this point, a visitor sees the web page but some elements are still loading. The other important data point is Time to Interactive, which is the point the web page is fully interactive. Have you ever visited a news website that was so heavy with advertising that it never seems to fully load, making it difficult to scroll and read?
Understanding how your WordPress website performs is central to making good choices for optimization. There is a very big difference between a WordPress website running slow because of unoptimized images and poorly coded themes and plugins, and websites being slow because of a budget hosting plan. Moreover, not every issue can or should always be fixed.
Increase Your WordPress Website’s Speed
1. Invest in Good Hosting
The low hanging fruit for WordPress website speed is the server it is hosted on. Many experts provide a very black and white explanation on web servers stating that shared servers are slow and dedicated servers are the fastest. While generally speaking this is true, it is a bit more complicated than that. The vast majority of websites reside on a shared server and, for many websites, a shared server is fine. Other important factors include technology used, if it has the latest versions of PHP, and other factors. For many, it is a good idea to start with the best web hosting you can afford but that is optimized for WordPress.
2. Keep WordPress up to Date
One of the biggest advantages for WordPress users is the large community that works to regularly provide free software updates. Each new version brings with it bugfixes, security patches, new features, and more. Furthermore, the updates will improve your website’s efficiency and help boost page loading speed. In addition to speed, updates will enhance your website security. Some hackers are seeking to steal your resources, which will drastically slow a website’s speed.
3. Content Delivery Network
If you are not using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), it is time to start looking into it. A Content Delivery Networks can help accelerate your WordPress website and may provide security services and DDoS mitigation. One way that a CDN helps to increase speed is by keeping a copy of your website on their network. When a visitor clicks on your link, the CDN will route the user through the network server closest to the visitor. A Content Delivery Network can also act as a firewall between visitors and your web server, protecting your website from malicious bots.
4. Choose an Optimized Theme
There are many impressive looking and beautiful WordPress themes that are badly coded and will reduce your website speed. Others are so loaded with features that they are just a bloated mess. When choosing a WordPress theme, pay close attention to speed optimization. Often, the best choice is to select a light-weight theme and add the features you want using quality plugins. Another option is selecting a premium theme coded for speed optimization.
5. Eliminate Unnecessary Plugins
6. Optimize Images
Much more than text and CSS, the bulk of many web pages are the images. In order to speed up your WordPress website as much as possible, it is critical to learn how to make their file size as small as possible without losing image quality. Many image editors allow you to do this before uploading with a “save for the web” feature. If this option is not available, there are both online services and WordPress plugins that will remove unnecessary data and compress images.
The success of your WordPress website relies on speed. That said, it is not everything and should not be taken to the extreme. You want to maintain a visually appealing website that is user-friendly and meets the needs of visitors. Still, the impact to search rank, bounce rates, and user engagement are undeniable.
We hope you found our recommendations helpful for boosting the performance and speed of your WordPress website. What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like more WordPress tips and tricks or would like to discuss a related matter, please contact us.