5 Tips for Speeding up Your WordPress Website – With more and more people using a mobile phone to browse the internet it is becoming increasingly important to speed up your WordPress Website. Nobody likes a slow site!
This does not have to be a big bang implementation and be expensive. Improving page loading time is something that can be tackled piecemeal and shaving milliseconds of here and there will improve your times, help your engagement, conversions and Google will think better of your site and could help your search rankings.
In the Google PageSpeed Insights (PSI) the speed thresholds are as follows:
- Fast: 0-1 second
- Average: 1 second-2.5 seconds
- Slow: 2.5 seconds and up
Unless your website only has text or you have a lot of money to invest in hosting the Fast is probably an ambition too far. We do say that Average should be the target of any small business and any pages in the Slow category need to be looked at.
We talked about page speed but the first thing to tackle is the overall website architecture as these are performance gains that will impact every page.
Here are 5 tips to speed up your WordPress Website
- Enable caching
- Use only essential plugins
- Optimise your Images
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Keep your website up to date
WordPress uses dynamic page generation which is where on every page requests it takes time to create the content and send it back to the requestor’s browser.
The first thing every WordPress site owner MUST do is configure a cache which will means content can be returned instantaneously rather than having to wait for the content to be generated.
A number of FREE plugins can be used and our favourite is LiteSpeed Cache when your website is hosted on a LiteSpeed server or if not we would go for Autoptimize combined with WP Super Cache.
One important caveat is that caching only works when you have people requesting the same pages as the first page still needs to be dynamic and so on a small website the visitors perceived improvements will be less than on a heavily used website. But this can still see improvements on the second hit of any page of at least ten times.
Use only essential plugins
WordPress is very easy to use and inexperienced site owners or developers could by taking a lazy approach install plugins to do everything and although this may make your website look great it will be worth nothing as nobody will wait for it to load a page.
You need to focus on the minimum plugins to do the job and also test where multiple options exist as the size and speed can be radically different.
If you do need a plugin for just one post type or for pages and not posts then it could be worth considering a plugin organiser. These allow you to apply rules as too when plugins should or shouldn’t be loaded.
Optimise your Images
We are all told images are the key to people liking your website. This is true but they can also be one of the key elements that slow down your page load speed as the visitor needs to wait for the image to be transferred.
Plenty of plugins exists to optimise images in WordPress and these will remove unused data whilst maintaining the overall image quality and apply lazyLoading rules so that images are only loaded when in the viewing window of the visitors browser.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
When a website visitor comes to your site files need to be transferred across the Internet. This can result in different load times depending on the distance between the visitors’ location and your website hosting location.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) helps to reduce this distance by having multiple locations around the world which mean that your content can be transferred from a location closer to the visitor.
Our favourite is Cloudflare as it has a free option that will enable all static files to be served from Cloudflare servers and not your own. This does not help the main page content but in every WordPress website you have a lot of static files that remain the same and this includes those big image files mentioned in the previous tip.
This also has a second effect of reducing load on your hosting server by taking requests for files away from your server.
Keep your website up to date
WordPress and all plugin developers also understand that performance is key and so are constantly updating with improvements. So you must make sure in your general WordPress housekeeping or maintenance procedures you update all plugins, theme and core WordPress for not just security vulnerabilities but also because of performance.