Every website owner has a goal in mind, right? You probably want your website to rake in more customers or simply spread awareness about your brand. Whatever it is, your site is not likely to achieve anything if you neglect its speed and performance.
There are lots of things at stake here such as bounce rate, SEO, and user experience. These three are a few of the defining factors that you must not overlook at any cost. Otherwise, say goodbye to profit.
That said, if you’ve built your site on WordPress, then you’re already on the right path. It’s a platform known for its unparalleled freedom that allows full control over your site – which opens many opportunities toward site optimization. In this article, we’re going to let you know the best possible ways to speed up your WordPress site. Most of the methods are beginner-friendly and won’t take much of your time. Let’s get started!
Check Your Site’s Current Speed
Before we jump into the methods you can apply to reduce loading time, it’s only fair to know how well your site is doing now.
You’re going to need it for comparison if you want to check whether the methods bear any result or not.
First, remember a few things about running a speed test properly. Know your audience first – where are they coming from mostly? Chances are, you’d want to get your site ready to receive traffic from all around the world. This means, instead of only checking the speed from the country you’re in, it’s best to also check the loading time from other locations. Makes sense, right?
Second, seek out only the tool that yields results with the highest accuracy. There are a few ones worth your consideration such as Pingdom, GTMetrix, and DareBoost.
If you’re now in possession of the current data, keep it at arm’s length and proceed to the next section for easy yet impactful ways of optimizing your WordPress site.
7 Best Methods to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Thankfully, there is more than one way to increase your site’s performance, especially if you’re on WordPress. Keep reading to know what they are:
1. Pick Suitable Web Hosting
If you’ve been using WordPress or any other CMS for quite a while, you must have spent some time on curating which hosting provider to use.
There are lots of affordable hosting services with amazing features. That said, since each website is different, you can’t rely solely on quality.
For example, you may only need hosting with little bandwidth if your site is still new. But as your WordPress site grows, your current quota may not be enough to accommodate all your traffic which impacts load speed. So, always keep in mind that you need to match your site with your hosting.
And, speaking of suitable hosting, there are different types of hosting services that you need to consider.
Shared hosting is a good choice for affordability but you need to share your resources with other websites on the same server as yours. So, their activity may have an impact on your performance.
As for VPS (Virtual Private Network), you’re given more freedom and flexibility to control your site’s performance. If you’re looking to reduce your site’s loading time, we recommend this option. Hostinger is one of the providers that offer great, affordable, high-speed VPS packages.
2. Show The Cached Version of Your Site
Here’s the deal. The WordPress site you see on the browser doesn’t come out of the blue – the server has to process a request sent in PHP and compile the content from a MySQL database into a presentable front-end page.
There’s a way to skip that long process – by showing the cached version of your site. When you visit a website for the first time, your computer will store most of the information from that site (images, pages, scripts, etc). So, the next time someone pays a visit, all the necessary files are loaded from a temporary local drive – making it much faster than having to wait for the server to redo the process.
3. Optimize Your Images
Have you ever got tired of being on a site waiting for images to show up as they take forever to load?
Spare your visitors the suffering. Through image compression, you can make your images much lighter without noticeably sacrificing quality.
While there are so many compression tools made available, you need to know about the difference between image types and which compression levels suit your images. This is crucial if you want to get the most out of image optimization.
For example, image file extensions like JPEG are suitable for photography as they have a relatively small size compared to other types – you can show more images without slowing down your site. And, if you want to optimize an image with text on it, make sure to keep it sharp and maintain readability. PNG is usually more preferable in this case. There are also other image types that have their own characteristics too, so brushing up on this knowledge can be a good idea.
Then, there’s also the matter of lossless or lossy compression. Lossy simply means that there’s going to be data loss after compression that will impact the visual quality, while lossless will maintain the full display data, but only remove the unnecessary metadata, thus leaving the quality as is, but reducing the size less. Since not all pictures are the same, you need to decide which method to use for each picture.
4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Another thing that has an impact on speed is the server location. If you host your site in a certain country, the people also living there will be able to access your site faster.
But, chances are, you would want your site to have fast loading times no matter where people visit it from, right? If that’s the case, a CDN will be the solution to your problem.
CDN – a content delivery network – stores static files like images, videos, or scripts on a various number of servers – points of presence – around the globe. No matter where your visitors are, they’ll still enjoy faster loading time because they’re accessing those static files from servers nearer to their location.
5. Use A Lighter (And More Optimized) Theme
Here’s something great about WordPress: it comes with thousands of available theme to choose from. That said, is every single one of them optimized?
Lots of themes with fancy visuals and animation may have a heavy script that’s slowing down your site. If you’re unsure whether your current theme is optimized or not, try another option with fewer features and see if your performance increases significantly.
That said, there’s no reason you can’t get the best of both worlds. There are a few sites where you can download optimized yet aesthetically pleasing and modern WordPress themes such as Themify.me, ElegantThemes, and aThemes.
6. Get Rid of Bad Plugins
It’s just the same as before – heavily scripted and unoptimized plugins can be the reason for long load speed.
One way to figure out which plugin is causing the problem is by disabling each one and seeing if your performance improves. Take note of each problematic plugin and start looking for alternatives with less strain on the loading time.
To make the search easier, you can look up plugin reviews to see what others think about the performance of certain plugins. Also, if a plugin has a massive number of active installation, try to look at its support forum section to see if there are a lot of users having problems with the plugin.
7. Clean Up Your Site’s Database
When you’re using WordPress for a long time, there’s a high chance the database will be cluttered and may contain files that bear no importance anymore.
WordPress has a tendency to keep “leftover” information (take revision data, for instance). This takes up unnecessary space and cleaning it up regularly will give your site a performance boost.
Since WordPress is notorious for its great collection of plugins, let’s take advantage of it. There are tons of good ones that can optimize your databases such as Advanced Database Cleaner, WP-DBManager, or Smart Cleanup Tools.
It’s a crucial task for every webmaster – maintaining the performance of a site in any way possible.
Now that you have learned a few methods to speed up your WordPress site, it’s time to put your new knowledge to use.
Don’t forget to check your site with speed testing tools after every method is put in use and compare the results to know which method works the best for you.