Boost your WordPress Website Speed – 5 Surefire Methods

Absolutely nobody enjoys a website that is slow to load. Slow-loading websites result in lower SEO rankings, a crummy user experience (UX),  fewer conversions,  and higher bounce rates. All in all, a recipe for disaster. According to a survey from Google, your web pages need to load in 3 seconds. Otherwise, 53% of website visitors will leave the page. That is a large chunk of users that you do not want to lose. Furthermore, with mobile website browsing becoming increasingly popular, the bar is only getting higher.  In this article, we take you through 5 methods to boost your WordPress website speed.

 

What causes a slowdown?

Now that you understand the severity of having a slow website, let us take a look at what causes site slowdowns to begin with.

Website developed poorly

The most common cause of slow loading times is a website having poor development. Additionally, two factors that complement this are the hosting provider and hosting plan. It is important to go with a premium web host.

Too much traffic

Too many visitors at once is another common cause of slowdowns. Excess traffic will slow your site down, when the server or hosting plan does not have the capacity to deal with it.

Slow server

A slow or frequently down server will slow your site down with it. A quality host is a non-negotiable essential in the process to boost your WordPress website speed.

Congested backend

Your site will slow down if numerous users are logged into your backend all at the same time. This eats up server resources as well. This issue may also be a result of an intentional attack by hackers or bots.

Bulky coding

Code that is way too extensive and inefficient is likely to slow down your site. Pages take more time to load and operate. In turn, this drains more resources.

 

First, Test your Website Speed

Before starting the process to boost your WordPress website speed, you need to test the current speed. Google Page Speed insights sounds like a reliable tool to use for this, but it will not test your exact speed unless your domain name is high ranking.

Therefore, we will demonstrate how to test your website speed using GTMetrix, a reliable and widely used speed testing tool. With GTMetrix, signing up for an account is free. Doing so will let you select your server location, which makes the speed test more accurate. Choose a  server which is closest to your location and that of your users.

Firstly, begin the test by entering your website URL into the field and clicking Analyze.

gtmetrix

After doing so, you may have to wait a few to several minutes to complete. This is an in-depth test.

Upon completion of the test, the results will then show. You can view the loading time for your web pages along with other pieces of useful data i.e. size.

boost your wordpress website speed

Do note, you should run the test 2 to 3 times. Afterwards, you will have an idea of what the average speed is and how well your site is running. With the information in mind, we can now begin the process to boost your WordPress website speed.

1. Invest in Quality Hosting

First and foremost, your host provider cannot be something you cheap out on. The quality of your host will have a huge impact on your site’s performance. This includes how fast the pages and content load, how secure the site is against attacks, and how well it is backed up.

There are many available hosting options on the market. Therefore, when narrowing down to your pick, consider the following factors:

  1. Server location
  2. Speed
  3. Support/Assistance
  4. The traffic of your site
  5. Pricing

It is an investment to choose a reliable hosting service, not just  an expense. This investment will play a key role in determining your site speed and reliability, which in turn will reflect on the UX.

 

2. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN is a proxy server network that cuts down on server lag by large amounts. It stores static resources on a network consisting of fast loading servers. Essentially, this means that a CDN holds a cache of your static content in different server locations around the globe. A user requesting to view your site will be served their content from the server closest to them.

Additionally, this series of proxy servers can make your website more resistant to crashes. This is because the workload of transferring files is spread across a number of servers. Your website will be able to handle higher amounts of traffic.

 

3. Optimize your Images

Undoubtedly, graphics and images look great on a site. However, the downside is that images add HTTP requests. These requests take a lot of processing. The more images you use on your site, the more processing that has to be done. Therefore, it is important to prioritize quality over quantity when adding images to your site.

Additionally, here are some image size recommendations to boost your WordPress website speed:

  1. Slideshows – 2880px x 1500px
  2. Galleries – width auto x 1500px
  3. Blog posts – 1500px x height auto

It is important to optimize your existing images.

The process of image optimization consists of compressing your image file size without visibly changing the quality. The process can be optimized by a number of WordPress plugins, We recommend using WP Smush Pro. With Smush, your image can be compressed up to 10 times without a visible drop in quality.

 

4. Compress Website Files

Minification, on top of being a fun word to say, is a process in which your site’s code is made more efficient. Minification relieves your website’s code of all excessive content to make it lighter and faster.

A human generally writes code in a way that makes it as legible and understandable as possible. Here is an example of a CSS snippet:

#blue {
font-size: 2em;
color: blue;
}

As you can see, the code uses spacing to clarify the purpose and function. As helpful as this may be to a human, this does not benefit a computer in any way. Minifying the code would make it look like this:

#blue{font-size:2em;color:blue;}

This is shorter and faster processed by a computer, given that there are fewer characters.

The program Minify is simple to use and conveniently accessible straight from your browser. Following the link will direct you to the screen as seen below. Simply paste your code into the field and hit Minify.

 

5. Optimize Databases

Your databases are another hot spot for clearing out clutter to boost your WordPress website speed. Reorganizing your website’s databases can save you space and make the databases more efficient.

There are plugins available to do this, saving you a lot of the manual hassle. The plugin WP-DBManager can optimize, repair, and delete your excess databases.

WP-DBManager

 

 

To conclude, speed issues with WordPress sites usually stem from similar issues – lack of cache and compression, images and coding that is not optimized, and poor hosting. With some effort, all of these can be fixed and you can boost your WordPress website speed. Along with following the steps as seen in this guide, we recommend taking a look at our weekly WordPress guides and tutorials  for more information on how to enhance your WordPress experience for both you and your users.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *