Do you want to know how to speed up your WordPress site? It doesn’t matter if you have 1 or 100 pages, optimizing is vital for managing your website speed. In this article, we will go over this and more to help boost your WordPress site speed.
While design and content are essential factors to a website, site speed will affect the amount of traffic you are getting to your site. Let’s start off by looking at why site speed matters.
Why does site speed matter?
If you’ve ever clicked on a site and it takes forever to load, you know how frustrating that can be. People don’t want to wait around when they could click back and go on another site that can give them the information they want now.
Here are three reasons why you need to speed up your WordPress site:
- Google Ranking (SEO)
In a study, Google found that 53% of visitors will abandon your website if it doesn’t load in just 3 seconds. For your site to rank in Google and get more traffic, you need your site to be faster than 3 seconds.
- Conversion Rate
Deloitte digital did an in-depth analysis on why even milliseconds can be crucial in conversion rates on your site. In the analysis, they found that just 100 milliseconds can harm your conversion rate by 7%.
Customers who have bad experiences with your site, like slow loading speeds, are likely not to return. If you want to earn their trust, having a fast loading speed will help.
How to measure page speed
If you want to check the page speed of your current WordPress site, you can use a few different tools. To use these tools, all you will need to do is enter the URL of the page that you want to check the speed on. These sites may give you different number scores because they scan different statistics.
Here are some of the top free speed test tools:
- GTmetrix– clear results and helpful suggestions to fix site speed.
- WebPage Test– offers different testing variables to get more informative results.
- Google PageSpeed Insights– shows real-time data from google and suggestions.
- isit WP– gives a detailed list of everything affecting your page speed.
1. Use a fast WordPress host
To start off, you want to make sure that the hosting company you are using for your WordPress site is fast. If they don’t provide fast hosting, it doesn’t matter how good your front-end optimization is, your website will be slow.
There are a lot of hosting companies to choose between. Some of the fastest hosting companies offer loading speeds of 136-179 milliseconds. The lower the speed the better but you want to make sure the loading speed is at least under 200 milliseconds. Check with your host and see what speed they offer.
2. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A CDN makes it quicker for users worldwide to access your website. Instead of having one central server where your website data comes from, versions of it are stored on servers around the world. This makes your website faster for visitors because your site date doesn’t have to travel as far to reach their computer.
Some hosting companies offer CDN with their plans. If your host doesn’t offer a CDN, here are a few good ones to use:
3. Use a cache plugin
Caching is one of the best things you can do to speed up your WordPress site. It allows the server to store static files locally to be easily retrieved when the user comes back to the site. This process makes it much faster when the visitor comes to your site again.
Here are some of the top Cache Plugins for WordPress (we recommend only using one at a time, so they do not conflict with one another):
4. Use popular plugins and delete unused ones
Having a lot of plugins can create bloat in the back end of your WordPress and cause it to slow down. Start by deactivating all the plugins you arent currently using. Do this one by one, and make sure your site isn’t affected. After you have deactivated all the plugins, you can delete them.
Having a lot of deactivated plugins should not have a significant effect on site speed, but it’s always better to delete ones you no longer use or need.
It’s not just about the number of plugins you have, as it is about quality. You can have a lot of plugins if they are ones you use and, most importantly are high quality. If you are using poorly coded plugins, they can slow your site down. We suggest sticking with popular plugins that are better coded and more efficient to speed up your WordPress site.
5. Compress and resize images
Large images files are a typical cause of slow WordPress websites. Optimizing images can incredibly speed up your WordPress site. The goal of optimizing images is to reduce the size as much as possible without losing the quality of the image.
Here are a few image optimizing plugins for WordPress:
If you have a website with many images, you could consider using a technique called lazy loading. This method only loads images that are on the user’s current window. So it loads the images as they scroll.
6. Use a lightweight theme
Your current theme may burden your web server and slow down your site. Some elegant WordPress themes are packed with complex layouts, lots of animations, and other unnecessary features that increase the file size of your site and slow it down.
It’s best to look at getting a theme that is simple and then add features that you need to it.
These are a couple of Premium WordPress theme sites that are optimized for speed and well coded:
7. Keep everything on your website updated
WordPress has a lot of updates. These updates come with new features and security and bug fixes. When you don’t update your site, it can become slow and be vulnerable to malware, viruses, and other threats. Make sure your plugins, theme, and other features are updated often to speed up your WordPress site.
It’s important to have a backup plugin that backs up frequently. If the software update causes the site to have an issue or break, you can completely restore it quickly. Some hosting companies offer a free backup service. If they don’t, you can check out Updraft Plus or Duplicator.
We hope that this article gives you a good start to optimize and speed up your WordPress site. To find what works best for your site, try a technique and test the page speed before and after to see the results.
If you have any questions about page speed or web design, please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help!