Increasing your website speed is very important in today’s day and age.
A slow website has negative impacts on user experience which affects the efficiency and productivity of the site.
Relatively long loading times will certainly affect the overall performance of your website which will, in turn, lead to bad user experience, a high bounce rate, low traffic and loss in revenue.
Sit back relax and follow this simple step by step beginners guide to speed up and optimize your WordPress website for supersonic speed.
Do A WordPress Speed test
First of all, you should do a WordPress website speed test to know the true speed of your website. Improving the speed and performance of your WordPress sites is highly recommended.
Firstly, you need to know your website speed and this cannot be ascertained by random guess. A lot of factors might influence the result, which includes, your internet speed, your browser, your computer processing power etc. Also, you may not get an accurate result due to the fact that most modern browsers store a copy of your website locally so that you don’t fetch the site every time you browse.
However, a new user visiting the site for the first time may experience slow loading times if your website is not properly optimized.
Tools to Check Your WordPress Site Speed
Do a Speed test: The first step to solving a problem is identifying the cause of the problem hence do a website speed test. There are several ways to do a WordPress speed test it could either be by using a WordPress plugin or by following simple guidelines.
Tools Pingdom: The first tool to check your website speed is the Pingdom website speed test. It uses a series of algorithms to test your website speed from different locations across the world. A good load time you should aim for should be around 1 – 3 seconds.
Google Developers PageSpeed Insight: Similarly you can use another tool known as the Google page speed tool which unlike the Pingdom will help you test your website speed across multiple platforms like desktop and mobile.
Gtmetrix: Is another great tool that analyzes your website’s speed performance. GTmetrix gives you an insight on your website loads times and also provides you with detailed approaches on how to optimize it.
Reasons Why Your Website Might be Slow
In order to solve the problem of a slow website, you must, first of all, identify what the problem is and then apply WordPress performance optimization to boost the speed of the site. Here are some of the reasons why your website may be slow.
- Outdated WordPress Theme/Plugins: This is usually the case for many old WordPress websites. To solve this problem, ensure all your themes and plugins are updated often.
- Hosting: Your website host has an important part to play in your website speed optimization. Ensure that your host has a great uptime record. Avoid host plans with low bandwidth and file size this could slow down the speed of the website as a result of limited resources on the web server.
- Large Images sizes: Another factor that slows down your WordPress website are large images files. Large image sizes require a long time to load which in turn affects the overall user experience and optimization of the website. There are a number of ways to compress or reduce the size of an image. It is highly recommended you check and note the sizes of the image you are about to upload to avoid uploading large images that may interfere with the speed of the website. There are a couple of tools to reduce or compress images before or after they have been uploaded to the WordPress site. These include:
- Use Image editing software to optimize your images for the web. Often, PNG image format is usually smaller in size compared to the JPEG. Consequently, you may want to consider saving your items in PNG file format
- Avoid the wrong practices of uploading large images and scaling with HTML, technically the browser still loads the initial file size.
- You may also want to avoid using too many images in your write up.
- use image compression plugin to reduce the file sizes on your server. examples of such compression plugins include Imagify and WP Smush.
Here Are Few Ways To Increase Your WordPress Website Speed
- Update your WordPress Theme / Plugins regularly: An unsupported or old plugins or theme could interfere with the WordPress performance optimization consequently leading to a very slow website. WordPress often introduces newer versions to ensure your website is regularly updated.
- Remove unused / Unnecessary plugins: Over time some plugins become obsolete or end up not being used. A good practice is to always remove plugins that are not currently activated on your WordPress site.
- Cache Your WordPress Site: Caching is a systematic process that creates a temporary or a static version of your WordPress website on the local server instead of loading the entire site every time. another way to greatly improve your WordPress site is to cache the site. Leverage browser caching will significantly improve on your website speed.
Therefore, start by installing a WordPress cache plugin, here are some examples of fast and efficient WordPress caching plugins:
- Wp Rocket
- Wp Fastest Cache
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Super Cache
Another importance of browser caching is it saves you money, bandwidth space and ensures your website loads fast.
The bigger and more complicated your site is, the larger the number of code and files stored in it. When your code gets so large it could start affecting the overall performance of the website. Minification is a process that shrinks or compress the code on your website without affecting the functionality of the code. You can do this by using a WordPress minify plugin which will ensure your code is compressed and optimized.
- Get A Good Web Hosting Company/ Host Plan: As a result of the cost of website hosting most people opt for a very cheap hosting plan or an unreliable hosting company. This usually has an impact on the website speed. Also, avoid using a shared host for a high traffic website, this could slow down the speed of the other websites on the server.
- Upgrade to the latest PHP version: Due to the ever-changing world of technology, from time from time, PHP releases newer and more stable versions of the software, therefore ensure that you upgrade your site to a recent and most stable PHP version. This will not only get your site updated, but it will also improve your website’s speed.
- Enable Lazy load: Lazy load is the process that only allows images to load based on what is visible on the user’s browser. That is, if there are 10 images on the site, the images will not load until you get the part where the images are visible. This process will go a long way in speeding up your website and also saves you a whole lot of bandwidth and also data for users who do not scroll down to the bottom of the page
- Optimize Your Website’s Database: The older the database the more you get redundant and outdated files and information in your database. Also, over time the website database becomes so large that it starts affecting the time it takes to deliver queries.
WordPress is a content management system; therefore, it keeps some vital information about every activity on your site which sometimes may not be useful or needed. There are few WordPress plugins that will help you in your database optimization
- Wp-Optimize: This allows you to optimize your database tables, post revision, draft, spam etc.
- WP-DB Manager
- Do not upload videos Directly on Your WordPress Website: Even though WordPress allows you to upload your videos directly on your website. Avoid uploading videos directly on your WordPress web server, rather upload your videos on video hosting sites like YouTube or Vimeo and embed the file to your WordPress website. Uploading videos directly on your WordPress site will consume a lot of bandwidth and disk space.
There are a few CDNs you can use like MaxCDN, Cloudflare or Free-CDN.
Go ahead and try out some of these tips on your website and watch your website speed increase. Hopefully, you enjoyed our WordPress Speed Optimization guide. However, if you are not sure how to speed up your website feel free to get in touch with our WordPress support services.