Fast-loading WordPress websites are essential if you want visitors and you want those visitors to come back. Think With Google is loaded with data demonstrating how many potential visitors are lost with each extra second it takes to load a website, as well as reducing the chances of them returning. Page speed is a significant factor for your website to rank on Google.
You only have to ask yourself the question, “How long am I prepared to wait for a website to load?”
If your answer is ‘not too long’, you need a fast-loading website.
So, here is a look at the six essentials for creating a fast-loading WordPress website.
1. Choose a Good Hosting Provider
Choosing an excellent hosting service is your first priority. If you are targeting a specific region, it is essential to have a hosting provider in that region. Be aware that hosting providers make all kinds of claims that sound better than reality.
The most affordable are shared hosting accounts. If you have the money and you want faster and more reliable hosting, you need VPS (Virtual Private Hosting) or dedicated hosting. If you are getting started with your eCommerce site or business website, shared hosting will be sufficient until your site size and visitor numbers increase.
Always look for a hosting provider that will allow you to change plans when you need to without any penalties.
2. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Hosting companies serve the areas they are in the best. It takes time for data to travel around the world. It is not a good idea to have a hosting company in the USA unless you are targeting the USA.
When you need to target multiple locations or the world, you will need a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to replicate your website locally for the regions you are targeting.
3. Install a Lightweight WordPress Theme
Themes that offer a range of extra elements, such as sliders and fancy widgets, are more likely to have slower page loads. Too many design elements will increase the load on your server.
Sliders with multiple large images are one of the most common WordPress website design mistakes. Simplified themes with lighter frameworks should always be your first choice.
4. Think Mobile First
With more people using mobile phones, designing websites primarily for mobile use is essential. Responsive websites are great, as long as you remember, you need to focus on the appearance of the mobile version of the site. You should expect the desktop display to appear somewhat similar to a mobile site.
Getting back to sliders, they generally don’t look good on mobile websites, do they?
Mobile-first website design means simplification of any website so that it is easier to use on a mobile device. As users have become accustomed to mobile-first design, they also expect the same simplicity on desktop devices.
If you are not confident using developer tools and want something more reliable than the mobile device display in the customization dashboard of your WordPress website, there are plugins that enable viewing of your website as specific devices. And that is important because not all mobile devices are the same.
5. Image Size Optimization
Un-optimized images are one of the biggest causes of slow websites. The first rule when it comes to images is, if you don’t need an image, don’t use one. Google websites are perfect examples of light image use.
You can use tools such as Adobe Photoshop to optimize images, but you will often lose quality compared to other tools. Image optimizer wordpress plugin that deliver much higher levels of optimization as well as preserving image quality is essential for a fast-loading website. While many are free, premium plugins offer a premium solution.
6. Use a Caching Solution
There are many caching solutions available for WordPress, from the free to the premium. Caching plugins speed up your website by creating static versions of your pages for your visitors.
Caching plugins combine elements of each page that can be combined so that your server is called on fewer times to render a page. Some caching plugins are more complicated to implement compared with others.
At the time of writing this article, I would have to say my favorite caching plugin is WP Rocket.
No matter what the case, faster is better, and better design often means less. With that in mind, make the right decisions and implement the essentials I have listed above for a website that woos visitors and search engines alike.