Make Your WordPress Site Faster
On a website, fractions of a second can make a huge difference between a sour and a sale experience. The blazing fast speed of your website plays a vital role in increasing revenue and boosting traffic on your website.
If you are a website owner, learning ways to speed up your WordPress site is an inevitable skill. The page loading speed of your site influences different factors from bounce rate to traffic to even conversions, profits and user satisfaction.
With the continued focus of Google on engagement metrics and user experience, especially considering the recent algorithm update, it has become significant for marketers and developers to pay close attention to the speed of their sites. The speed of your page has always been a basic ranking factor in terms of desktop search results. In fact, it may soon start impacting mobile rankings as well.
Not to mention when you leave your site speed unchecked, it continues to get slower with time. This happens because site constantly accumulates data, stores information and become less efficient. If you think this is normal then yes it is, but up to a certain degree. In fact, it doesn’t need to be there in the first place since there are plenty of things a site owner can do to maintain the site and to prevent it from slowing down.
While WordPress is a great platform to make your online presence, gradual decline in the speed is the only weakness it suffers from. Thus, if you fail to take proper and timely precautions, you are likely to end up fixing a sluggish website. This is not only a hassle for your repeat visitors but it may also cause you to lose customers and subscribers.
Major Reasons Not to Neglect the Speed of Your WordPress Site
What else could be more important than capturing the attention of the person landing for the first time on your site?
After all, you only get a few seconds to capture their attention or induce them to hang around.
For a running business, a sluggish website is equivalent to losing sleep at night. As per the survey report presented by the search team of Microsoft Bing, a delay longer than two seconds in terms of page responsiveness can reduce the visitor satisfaction by almost 3.8%. This delay can increase the lost revenue/user by almost 4.3% while reducing clicks by 4.3%.
In other words, if your site is taking way too long to load, most of the visitors are gone or lost before you even get a chance to make them your customers.
In addition to that, Google includes the speed of your site in its ranking algorithm. This means that the speed of your site effects SEO. Thus, if your site is sluggish or taking time to load, you are not only losing users from impatience but also reducing rankings in the search engines.
So are you ready to make your WordPress site faster?
Well, there is no secret to it. The main problem is that there is huge misguidance that makes it quite harder for site owners to identify workable solutions. So let’s cut the crap and have a look at the solutions to speed up your site from the get-go!
Measures to Speed up the WordPress Site
Here are the real solutions that will double the load speed of your site in just no time!
As per the reports, images on your site comprise 62% of the total weight of the page. We know stunning and interesting web imagery is a must, especially if you are running a site related to industries like fashion, interior designing, web development and others but oftentimes, the culprit disrupt the speed of your site.
In fact, the uploaded images comprise even more than half of the size of your page. When you have a bigger page size, it will need more bandwidth to properly load and may cause serious performance reductions. Thus, the best way to make your WordPress site load faster is to compress your images.
To make sure, images don’t bog the site down, ensure to compress images in a lossless way. In other words, the file size and eventually the load time will get smaller and without suffering the quality of the image.
For this, you can make use of a plugin such as WP Smush to cut down the file size of the images and strip hidden metadata that is likely to take up unnecessary space.
In case you are exporting the images from some editor like Lightroom or Photoshop, as a rule of thumb for website upload, the resolution of the image should be set at 72 dpi and must be saved in JPEG format. You can also use PNG format for crisp graphics such as logos.
Make Use of a Content Delivery Network – CDN
If you don’t invest in CDN, your site content will not be optimized for instant global delivery. When CDN allows the users to access static assets, this results in faster delivery of content and improved page load time. Also, you don’t need to be concerned about latency between the server and the browser.
If you are wondering how users located in different geographical locations can experience varying loading times on a site then you must know that web hosting servers significantly impact the site speed. To give you an example, let’s assume the server of your web hosting company is located in the United States. A user who is also present in the United States may generally observe faster loading times than the one present in India.
Thus, CDN helps in speeding up the load time for all the visitors. It is a network that is made up of many servers all around the world.
Site Speed Diagnosis
As you plan to improve the performance of your site, you must first understand how fast your site loads. Before you jump in to improve the load speed of your site, you must track the speed.
It is advisable by the professionals and a step to be followed before installing a plugin or making other relevant changes to your site to check how it impacts on the load times of your site.
The best way to analyze the loading speed is to get a tool such as WordPress Speed Test, particularly for WordPress sites. There are many tools that can help you take recurrent and scheduled tests to test the performance of your site.
The major reason why many site owners don’t make use of page speed insight tools is that they look at other B2B sites and think that their site is slower than their own but still doing great, so we don’t need to make any changes to our site performance. But the truth is this is not the factor you are competing with. You have to make your website as fast as it can possibly be. This means you need to compare it to the websites that rank in the highly important search results for the website.
Clean Up WordPress Database
There are many simple and useful plugins out there that perform only one simple task. They optimize the WordPress database such as post revisions, spams, tables, drafts etc in order to reduce the overhead.
Over time the database starts accumulating clutter. This unneeded bloat slows down the performance and speed of your website. However, when you ensure database cleanups regularly, you significantly reduce the database size and ensure faster loading.
To give you an example, post revisions may take up a quite big chunk of unnecessary space. In case you have a post that is of 100KB of data including five post revisions, the total wasted space would be around 500KB.
Your WordPress accumulate this information but you don’t need this information anymore. Thus, for improved performance, you can easily optimize the database in order to get rid of all the unneeded information. This is exactly why database maintenance is essential to keep the database usable and lean. For this, you may use different tools such as WP-Sweep and WP-Optimize to make process comfortable.
Reduce Server Requests
A server request occurs every time the browser asks any type of resource from the server. This can also be a file such as a script, style sheet or an image. The more server request that will be necessary to finish loading the site, the more time it will take. Thus, the request should be as low as possible. To keep the requests at the minimum level, you can do the followings:
You can use different tools to get a detailed list of all the server requests and to know the duration they need to get completed. From there onwards, you can easily take measures to either alleviate requests or to ensure they get completed as earliest as possible.
As we know WordPress dynamically form an HTML version of pages when someone wishes to see them, it is one of the factors that slow down the site. Thus, your best bet is to have a finished HTML page available at all time. After all in this way you can easily save several steps.
This is exactly what you can achieve by using caching. Enabling caching can significantly reduce the page loading time of a WordPress site. There are many plugin solutions to do it. The most notable is W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache and WP Rocket (a premium solution).
However, if you have any coding experience or if you are technical minded, you may also enable caching yourself through .htaccess. Another option is the server caching. For this, you need to talk to the host. There are several WordPress hosting providers that offer their own caching solutions so that you don’t need to do anything.
One of the most recommended plugins is W3 Total Cache. It offers all the necessary features that you might need and it is also very easy to install as well as use.
The Final Words
As per studies, the average span of human attention has reduced from 12 to almost 7 seconds.
So what does it mean for your WordPress site?
Well, it means that you have got a very little time to induce users to stay on your site. It also means that you get very limited time to display the content of your site. A slow website is a clear indication that the user will leave the idea of visiting your site even before it loads.
Since now you know the different ways to keep your site performance optimum and to reduce the load time of your site, make the most of these solutions and start improving your conversion rates like never before.
If you have used any of the solutions to improve the speed of your site, let us know how it worked for you! Also if you want to share some valuable information then share your thoughts in the comments section below.