A website that runs slowly frustrates the end-users as well as the website owners.
Whether it’s for a business or a personal portfolio, it’s crucial to have a website that’s effective. And one of the key metrics for effectiveness – speed.
Why does WordPress Website Speed matter?
In this age of high-speed internet, web users are less tolerant of slow loading websites. In fact, more than 47% of the web users will abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds. So, every second counts here!
Speed can make or break your website. It affects page views, traffic, conversions, sales, and overall reputation. By making your website speed faster, you can improve your business and help it grow.
Website speed is also a key element for maintaining great SEO. Google prefers fast loading websites and ranks them higher on the search engine result pages.
User experience is another factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. If you boost your website speed and improve user experience, it ultimately improves your website SEO ranking.
A better ranking leads to higher traffic, which leads to more conversions and sales.
How to test WordPress Website Speed?
Well, there are plenty of tools online to speed up WordPress websites. Here we are going to discuss a few:
Page Speed Insights: PageSpeed Insights is Google’s free tool for testing your website speed and it is also very easy to use. The only thing you need to do is enter the URL of your website. The tool will analyze your web content and also generate suggestions to make your website faster.
Pingdom: Pingdom reviews and grades your website performance as a whole. You can dig into the timeline and see the visual data and how browsers see your website. If you work with a team you can share your report with your team using emails.
YSlow: YSlow provides suggestions to improve the website speed to a great extent. It also comes as a Chrome Extension.
KeyCDN website speed test: A fast and lightweight website speed test tool by KeyCDN that you can use to get detailed insights on how your website performs. It has the option of making your test results private or public. You can quickly see how many HTTP requests were made, the full size of the page requested and the load time. It is very responsive and works great on mobile devices.
How to Speed Up your WordPress Site Load Time:
1. Install a caching plugin
Caching is important for websites because it reduces the load on your WordPress hosting servers and makes your website run faster. This helps you boost engagement and the time users spend on the website. A faster website will drive significant traffic and boost your SEO as well.
WordPress caching plugins are an easy, code-free way to set up caching for your website.
W3 Total Cache plugin is a unique and reliable caching plugin. It comes with some great features that are necessary for the optimal performance of your website.
Recommended for you: 7 Best WordPress Cache Plugins
2. Image Optimization
Optimizing web images is the process of delivering high-quality images in the right format, dimension, size, resolution while keeping the smallest possible size.
Image optimization can be done in different ways, be it by resizing images, caching or by compressing the size of the images. ImageKit is an intelligent image optimization tool, which optimizes images using an intelligent algorithm.
If your website takes longer to load, users are more likely to abandon it, which increases the bounce rate, and eventually affects your conversions.
Optimized images will improve and speed up your WordPress website, boost SEO ranking, and improve user experience.
3. Update WordPress core and plugins
Before updating the WordPress core and plugins, be sure to create full backups. Updating the WordPress core and plugins will help you to gain the following benefits:
- Better security as it fixes bugs and vulnerabilities that the old version might have.
- Increased website speed and performance with each new version of WordPress.
- Your website will be more compatible with the new updates and load much faster.
- You will find more features to upgrade and scale up your website.
To update the core files, just log in to your WordPress dashboard and click ‘update the core’ to initiate the process.
4. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a way to deliver content from your website or mobile application to people more quickly and efficiently based on the geographical location. A CDN is a network of servers in locations all over the world. The CDN server close to the user is known as an edge server. When a request is made, data will be fetched from the closest server instead of the main server.
CDNs also remove and update content constantly so that most relevant content is delivered. Some of the benefits of the CDNs are:
- Fast load time for web and mobile users.
- Quickly scalable during times of heavy traffic.
- Ensures site stability and minimizes the risks of traffic spikes.
- Decreases infrastructure costs due to traffic offloading.
- Improves website performance.
5. Keep your website secure
Install an SSL certificate for your website which is secure and uses encrypted data for protection. You need to activate the HTTPS encryption after installing the SSL certificate.
Using an SSL certificate and HTTPS are the basics of securing any address, but there are few other things you can do to prevent hackers and malware from comprising your website. You need to update the website’s software, security, and scripts whenever necessary.
You can also use a WordPress security plugin. Just like protecting a computer using antivirus programs, you need to protect your website by installing a security plugin. A security plugin will put up a firewall for protection and scan your website regularly for malware. It prevents users from uploading files directly to your website which might breach your security.
You also need to create secure passwords, hide admin folders, always store your passwords in hash format, and keep your error messages as simple as possible.
6. Enable gzip compression
GZIP compression improves the performance of your websites and decreases the load times. Whenever the user requests a page, the server compresses the requested page and reduces its size, and transfers it to the customer’s computer. In order to enable the gzip compression, you need to add a few lines of code in the .htaccess file of your website depending on the kind of hosting you’re using.
7. Optimize WordPress databases
Optimizing your databases cleans unwanted data which reduces the database sizes and improves website performance. If you are using WordPress, you can find there is a lot of useless data in your database such as post reviews, spam comments, trash, orphaned metadata, etc. Moreover, your WordPress backups will take more space on the disks and time to restore.
Moreover cleaning up unwanted data will significantly reduce the database size, faster backups, easy restore and improve database performance.
In order to optimize the WordPress databases, you need to install the WordPress database plugins that optimize it. WP-Optimize is a very effective plugin that optimizes your databases to a great extent and helps you achieve better speed.
8. Optimize the background processes
One of the most common reasons for slow computers is that multiple processes are running in the background, which might affect your website performance.
To solve this issue, delete all the temp files which are stored in the hard drive, to optimize performance.
You also need to:
- Free the hard drive and run scan disk.
- Scan for any viruses or malware preventing performance.
- Update your drivers, windows and reboot your computer which increases memory size.
9. Use lazy loading
Lazy loading is an optimization technique for online content. Instead of loading the whole web page, it loads only the required section of the web page for the users.
One of the most popular techniques used by the websites is the infinite scroll, the content loads as the user scrolls down the page. The advantage of using this technique is that it ensures optimal usage of time and loading resources makes it a cost-effective approach.
10. Uninstall plugins you don’t use
WordPress plugins are the primary factors behind CMS’s popularity. Well, with the right plugins, you can add more functionality to your website. But adding too many plugins that are unused will affect your website performance a lot. Make sure that your website does not accumulate files and data that you don’t need. Just keep your website running smoothly and loads lean.
Moreover, unused plugins will clutter your dashboard, add points of vulnerability and slow downtimes of the databases. Deleting unwanted plugins from the website will help speed it up.
11. Use file minification
Minification is a set of tools and techniques used to reduce the file sizes and the number of associated requested web pages. It is the main method to reduce the load time and bandwidth usage on websites. It directly improves the site speed and accessibility thereby creating a better user experience. It also benefits the users accessing your website using limited bandwidth.
12. Choose cleanly coded plugins and themes that are lightweight
In order to achieve great performance for your website, you need to opt for plugins and themes that are faster and lightweight. Use the right theme for your website so as to make it more sensible and easily optimized for Google search engine results.
Choose lightweight themes that are built for speed and with SEO in mind.
13. Avoid hosting videos directly on the website
As valuable as video content is, you should never host it on your website because it will limit bandwidth and will affect your website speed.
Also if your video loads very slowly, it shows a negative impact on your website. Moreover, the quality of the video will be affected without driving any sales or conversions.
There are also other reasons which might slow down your website performance like hosting. Opt for the best hosting service provider that serves the industry standards. Site Ground is a good option you can look into.
A website with highly optimized databases, plugins for caching, lightweight themes, lazy loading, GZIP compression, greater security, optimizing background processes – all of the above aid your goal of making your site run faster.
Although these are only a few techniques for boosting your website speed, it is a great place to start with if you find your website running slow.
Do you have any more tips to add? Did you find the ones in this article helpful? Let us know in the comments!
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