We are living in an era where everyone is consuming information at the rate no one could imagine a decade ago. Smartphones have changed the way we used to communicate and look for the info. Nowadays, people are busy – reading, searching for information, or talking on their devices. No one has the time to wait for the websites to download anymore. Website speed has become a vital aspect of boosting traffic and revenue.
According to a report by the Microsoft Bing search team, a 2-second longer delay in page responsiveness reduced user satisfaction by 3.8%, increased lost revenue per user by 4.3%, and decreasing clicks by 4.3%. These statistics can be alarming if you have a website that takes longer than 2 seconds to load.
12 Tips to speed up your WordPress site
1. Check your website speed first
You may think that your website is incredible and it doesn’t “feel” slow on your laptop but – this is not always the fact.
Since like any website owner, you have been visiting your website quite frequently, modern web browsers like Chrome store your site in the cache, and every time you visit your website, the browser presents you with the cached version which won’t be the case for the user visiting your site for the first time.
I will recommend you to use the Website Speed Test Tool (https://www.isitwp.com/free-website-speed-test-tool-for-wordpress/) to check the speed of your WordPress site.
According to research, these days, if a user has to wait for more than 2 seconds on a website, it is highly likely that he would leave.
You can aim for anything less than 2 seconds, the faster you can make it, and the better it is. A few milliseconds of improvements can add up to a better response time for the whole site.
2. Invest in High-Quality Web Hosting
Web hosting can come in various types. There are web hosting service providers who offer WordPress managed web hosting.
This service is the latest trend in web hosting services. The hosting companies manage server optimized explicitly for WordPress. It also eliminates any knowledge of technical stuff of running a website as also they provide 1-click WordPress installation.
The other option will be to use a dedicated server if you have the budget. It will reduce the risk of sharing resources with other websites on the server which could slow down your site.
3. Use the latest versions of PHP and WordPress
Our third tip would be to keep your technology up to date. Compared to the older versions, PHP 7 is incredibly fast and requires very few resources to execute WordPress. One WordPress request on PHP 5.6 runs under 100M CPU instructions, while PHP 7 can do the same job under 25M. Other than PHP, whether it is a plugin, theme or security patch, keep it updated all the time.
We highly recommend that all WordPress websites should be running at least PHP 7.2. A managed WordPress hosting service provider will take care of this by themselves and will notify you if any manual update is required. While updating also make sure that your theme or plugins are compatible with the latest versions. Not all plugins would work properly with the newest version of WordPress. These may need to be replaced with the plugins supporting the latest version.
4. A Theme can make a real difference
There are many attractive and beautiful themes available in the marketplace but a theme with lots of options, widgets, sliders, sidebars, etc. can increase the load on your server. And most of the time, you don’t even need everything.
Always prefer a lightweight or an optimize theme to make for fast page load. Don’t buy a theme because it is popular or has lots of features, instead focuses on your content requirements. Choose a theme that has enough features and flexibility to create your site.
5. Optimize Images
We often add images to enhance the look and feel of the website, but it could be a severe culprit when it comes to website speed. A bigger image could severely reduce the load time.
You can use an image editor like Adobe Photoshop to optimize images for the web. It is always a good idea to set the image resolution up to 72 dpi and saved in PNG format to compress images in a lossless way.
If you don’t want to optimize every image manually, try Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin. (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-smushit/). You can resize, optimize and compress all of your pictures with this free plugin on the go. It will strip unused data with images without affecting image quality.
6. Pay attention to your home page
Your landing page deserves most of your attention as this is where most of the users visit your website. Making the landing page attractive, fast and easy to navigate should be your priority while trying to optimize your site.
- Here are few things you can do to make your landing page little faster
- Show excerpts or titles of the posts instead of full posts
- Show 5 to 7 number of posts to keep the minimal approach.
- When designing your landing page, the less is more
- Remove unnecessary widgets from your sidebar
- Remove extra content or images you have
- Keep it clean, focused, and minimal
- Pay attention to your content, not on just fancy images
7. Use Content Delivery Network
8. Use a cache plugin
It should come as an obvious remedy for slow websites. You can browse to the WordPress Free Plugin directory to find a caching plugin of your choice. Doing so would drastically improve page load time of your website.
I would recommend W3 Total Cache Plugin(https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/).
9. Minify your code
You can use WordPress plugins like Autoptimize or can minimize your code manually. This process is called the Minification when you remove all the unnecessary characters and whitespaces from the source code without changing the actual functionality. This tip is similar to choosing a fast, lightweight theme.
10. Clean your database
Post revisions seem like a useful feature, but over the time your database will start to fill in with clutter. Once published, there is hardly any need to have 6,7 or 8 post revisions. This unnecessary data can slow your site significantly. It would also increase the burden on the space being used. To avoid the clutter, clean your WordPress database regularly.
Cleaning database manually can be a time-consuming and difficult task. I would recommend using a plugin like WP-Optimize (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/) to clean through your database. This plugin will remove all the unnecessary data, trashed/unapproved/spam comments, pingbacks, trackbacks, and expired transient options. Once installed, activated, WP-Optimize can clean the database as per schedule.
11. Remove unused resources
Deactivating unnecessary WordPress plugin after installation isn’t enough. You should always keep your plugins and themes up to date and delete ones you are not using anymore.
Similarly, remove unwanted themes and media files.
12. Think about the comments
Having a comments section under the blog post can be a great source of feedback or questions from users, but lots of comments on a page can also slow down the page load. To avoid such situation, you can disable the comments entirely or you can choose to limit the number of comments per page. By default, the number of comments per page is set to 50. I would suggest you set this number to 25 to increase the speed of the page load.