Speed matters! The success of any website comes down to a few things – quality, relevance, SEO, and speed. Of course, there are other things that may promote the success or failure of a website, but these are super-important.
Google now takes your website’s speed into consideration when choosing which pages rank higher on search engine results. Visitors have little patience for a webpage that takes an “internet eternity” to load up. It doesn’t matter what you’re offering – if your website is painfully slow, visitors will bail out and go elsewhere.
As shown by Loadstorm, when loading times for a page increased by just 1 second, it leads to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
To see where you’re at for site speed, you can use one of the following online tools to find out:
When your site’s loading time exceeds 2 seconds, you start to lose potential traffic.
Here are 10 strategies you can implement to ensure your WordPress website loads up fast and your visitors get the best user experience:
Hosting packages differ – from shared hosting to virtual private servers and dedicated hosting. In the hosting world, what you pay for is what you get.
Ensure you start with a reliable web hosting provider. Shared hosting is a much cheaper option favoured by bloggers and businesses who are just starting out. However, you should seriously consider either paying that extra fee from the start or upgrade as soon as possible to get that additional boost.
2. Use Caching
Having your pages cached using a caching plugin means that pages do not have to be freshly generated every time someone visits them. Caching alone can make your site load considerably faster.
3. Use a CDN
4. Optimize Images
Large images can bog down your website. Ensuring that you compress images before uploading or during upload is a good way to reduce their size while maintaining the quality of images on your site.
There are several easy ways to automatically achieve this by using plugins including: Tiny PNG, WP Smush, etc. You can also resize images before uploading them to your site. For this, I use PicResize.
5. Enable Gzip Compression
Compressing files using Gzip can reduce the bandwidth usage that occurs when a visitor tries to access your page by as much as 80%. This will result in less time to load your webpages.
6. Reduce the Number of Plugins
It’s tempting to want to install as many fancy plugins on your site as you can. However, your site speed performance is going to suffer as the number of requests increases with every plugin installed. The easy way to resolve this is: if a plugin is not absolutely necessary, delete it!
Also ensure you are installing lightweight plugins that are properly coded and keep them updated.
7. Use an Excellent Theme
Not every theme is well coded and engineered to perform efficiently. If the theme used to set up your site is bloated, it will impact speed performance negatively. Choose themes that are optimized for speed.
8. Update your CMS
WordPress is updated quite often. If your website is running on an outdated version of the software it not only exposes your site to security risks, it can also considerably slow it down. As of this write-up, the most updated release of the WordPress software is ver. 4.8.2.
9. Optimize your Database
Every time you revise a post, WordPress keeps the old revision. Over time, these revisions can number in the thousands, bloat your database, and slow-down your site.
Install WP-Optimize to remove old post drafts, revisions, trashed spam comments, unapproved comments, pingbacks, and trackbacks.
10. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks
When other blogs interact with your content e.g. articles, you get a notification on your site. On most sites, trackbacks and pingbacks are mainly spam and if ignored (i.e. not spammed or trashed), will strain your server resources. An option to avoid any of these issues is to disable trackbacks/pingbacks altogether.
When it comes to running a website, you cannot afford to just have it designed and then abandon it to fend for itself. All of the strategies I have detailed above are ones you can deploy yourself – no advanced techie knowledge required. If you are not comfortable with tinkering with your site, we are here to assist you.
Frequently test your website speed and if you find any anomalies, it’s time to troubleshoot and rectify the situation ASAP before your traffic and/or ranking take a hit.