Speed matters, especially when it comes to site load time. In fact, if your WordPress site is slow and makes users wait a few seconds, you will immediately notice the negative consequences. You can see increased bounce rates, lower conversions, and a poor search ranking.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to avoid these problems! WordPress as a platform offers many options, such as WordPress optimization. In order to make it faster and more reliable. In fact, even if you are not an expert on SEO site optimization, you can use several methods to quickly increase the load time of your site.
Why website should be fast
Since the advent of the Internet, much has changed. Today’s users expect significantly faster load times, and your site should live up to these expectations.
The biggest problem with a slow site is that your users often lose patience and leave. This negatively affects the bounce rate, which reflects the number of visitors who, after viewing one page, go to another. Nearly half of users expect sites to load in two seconds or less. And 40% will leave the site if it does not load within three seconds. In addition, a delay of just one second can lead to a 7% reduction in conversion.
These numbers may be astounding, but they help demonstrate the importance of maintaining a fast and reliable site. If the lost traffic and conversions are not convincing enough, you should also consider the issue of search engine optimization (SEO). Google cares about speed, so slow pages can lower your search ranking.
Since 2016, more and more people have been using mobile devices to surf the Internet than desktop computers. Today, the number of mobile users is estimated at 5 billion. This is almost two-thirds of all people on the planet.
This is important because most mobile users are used to the speed they get when they visit the site on their desktop computer. Nearly half expect sites to load in less than 10 seconds.
How to check site speed
Now that you understand some of the reasons for slow download speeds, it’s time to explore your own site and see how well it is currently working. The best way to find out if a site is running slow is to check it carefully and regularly. Fortunately, there are free tools that you can use to quickly collect this information.
The first option to consider is Pingdom Tools. This site accesses your pages from a specified location and returns information about how quickly they loaded.
Pingdom Tools is a great resource, but I also recommend that you try GTMetrix . This is another free speed test tool that can be incredibly useful. GTMetrix works just like the previous tool, but it also provides more detailed statistics and even offers tips on how best to optimize the site based on your results.
11 Ways to Optimize Your WordPress Website
1. Choose a quality hosting plan
Choosing the right hosting plan is one of the first and most important options that you make for your site. Since your web hosting is where your site lives, it will largely determine the speed, performance of your site and how well it handles a lot of traffic.
When a user visits your site, the server of your host will determine how quickly information is transmitted to him. Some servers are just slow. On the other hand, your plan may limit the maximum speed or allowed server resources. In short, your site can never be faster than the server allows.
The reason this method is listed first is that a poor-quality plan can actually nullify all your other efforts to increase speed. Even if you optimize the site for speed, it will not make much difference if your server is slow.
2. Always update WordPress plugins, themes, and CMS
Today, updates are constantly coming to all our devices and software. We understand that these messages are intrusive, especially when the effects of required updates are often invisible to the average user. However, when it comes to WordPress, you should always update every aspect of your site as soon as possible.
It is important not to ignore updates when they become available, whether it is major updates to your WordPress installation or new versions of your WordPress theme or plugins. The most important reason for this is security, as new updates ensure that your site is protected from the latest threats.
However, keeping your site up to date also ensures that it remains as fast as possible. WordPress developers are constantly improving the core software to make it faster and better optimized. By updating this, you ensure that every aspect of WordPress works at peak performance.
3. Set caching to reduce the number of hits on your site.
Another smart way to speed up your site is to implement caching. The easiest way to understand caching is to think of it as a short-term site memory. When you first access the site, copies of all requested files are saved. These cached files are then displayed the next time you visit the same site.
This ensures that your site’s files do not need to be requested and downloaded directly from the server every time someone visits it. Caching significantly reduces the resources needed to operate your site, which can significantly speed it up.
Caching may seem pretty technical, but it’s actually easy to implement on WordPress. There are several plugins you can use for this. WP Super Cache is by far the most popular caching plugin. Absolutely free and very easy to set up.
4. Use Image Optimization to make media files smaller
One of the biggest resources on the site is its images. They are great for making the site look amazing, and for complementing textual content. But they also require server space. Large file sizes negatively affect download time, which harms the site.
WordPress image optimization is a process that compresses the size of an image file without having a noticeable effect on its quality. This is easy to implement, and you can even fully automate the process. The best option you can use is to optimize your images before uploading them to the site. I recommend TinyPNG because it is free and very easy to use.
However, there are also many plugins that automatically optimize WordPress images when they are uploaded to the site. One of them is ShortPixel . This plugin not only optimizes images but can also be used to compress all existing images with a powerful mass optimization tool. This feature will save you a lot of bandwidth and disk space in the long run.
If you do not want to sacrifice image quality, use the Lazy Load plugin . The plugin ensures that images will only be loaded when the area becomes visible to the user. This will significantly reduce page loading time.
Minification may sound like a fluffy scientific term for describing a shortened beam, but it’s actually a process of increasing the efficiency of your site’s code. In short, it removes all unnecessary content in your code so that it works faster.
If you do not have experience working directly with the code, do not worry. Minimization can be performed without the need for interaction with the code. For example, you can use an online tool to minimize code directly in your browser. I recommend using WP Minify or Better WordPress Minify , as they both have a user-friendly interface and quickly produce results.
6. Use a content delivery network to deliver large files to your site
While communication is becoming increasingly digital, physical distance is still a factor when it comes to sending information online. Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help you create a more consistent and faster engagement with your visitors, regardless of geographic location.
Popular content delivery networks include MaxCDN , Amazon CloudFront, and CloudFlare . The cost of these services depends on the bandwidth of your site. An easy way to use CDN with WordPress is to install the plugin. I recommend Cloudflare , which protects and accelerates your site with the minimum necessary configuration.
7. Use only high-quality themes and plugins.
We have already discussed the importance of updating themes and plugins. However, it is equally important to make sure that you use the right tools to get you started.
Even WordPress themes can affect site speed. Some themes contain unnecessary features or require more files, which can also lead to a decrease in WordPress site performance.
One plugin that I recommend you use is P3 Profiler . The plugin developed by GoDaddy will show you how long your plugins load. Statistics are given that show how many percents of the load each plugin adds. This is the most effective way to find out which plugins are slowing down your site.
8. Remove unused themes and plugins
Now you know how to choose the fastest themes and plugins and constantly update them. The next step will be to get rid of any themes and plugins that are no longer needed on the site.
9. Clear media files and the number of editions, drafts, spam, pingbacks and trackbacks
10. Optimize Your WordPress Database
There is another area where you can clean up the mess – these are databases. Optimizing site databases means reorganizing them to reduce space and increase their efficiency.
There are plugins for anything, and this task is no exception. Even if you are a beginner, you can use the WP-DBManager plugin to manage your databases. This plugin will optimize, restore and delete unused tables in the database for you.
11. Choose the right ad
Be mindful of the type of ads you add to your site. The most effective way to promote a product or service on a website is to directly link to a page using an optimized image.
Adding ads from third-party ad networks can increase load time due to calls to external servers. Even ad tracking scripts can slow performance.
A slow site can lead to a significant decrease in the number of visitors, which will negatively affect profits. However, this should not be a website problem, as WordPress offers many ways to increase the speed of your website.
I reviewed some of the best speed optimization techniques for a WordPress blog or website. If you implement these methods, the site will work better, which can make your users happier and increase your conversions.
Hope you enjoyed this article on WordPress website optimization. If so, write in the comments below, we will analyze all the nuances so that you are aware of the latest changes.