Let’s just face it; WordPress is one of the best CMSs out there. However, its one weakness is that it takes heavy resource and can get quite slow. And we all know that a slow website means that you could lose a lot of potential customers and subscribers, not to mention the hassle that repeat visitors have to endure to read their favorite content.This article will give recommendations on 10 quickest ways to speed up WordPress site.But first things first, why is site speed so important?
According to recent research, the modern human’s attention is now less than that of a goldfish. As such when a person first lands on your site, you will have only a few seconds to convince them to stay.
Research by Bing shows that a 2-second delay reduced the CTR by 4.3 percent, increased lost revenue per user by up to 4.3%, and reduced user satisfaction by up to 3.8%.
Studies have demonstrated that site speed is also one of the factors in the Google ranking algorithm and hence if your visitors are bouncing off your site due to slow loading times you may experience a drop in rankings.
OK enough with the doom and gloom, how do you supercharge your WordPress website?
Use Superfast Webhosting
While you are starting out, a shared hosting might work just fine since you do not quite have the traffic.
However, while a shared host comes at very low cost – most of the time less than 5 dollars a month, you may experience frequent downtime and slow site speed, particularly during high traffic periods.
SiteGround is one of the most popular web hosting providers out there, following by Bluehost. Both of these providers are recommended by WordPress.org themselves.
I would advise that when your site starts to get 1000 visitors a day, you need to migrate from shared hosting to either WordPress hosting, a virtual Private server (VPS) or a dedicated hosting. This guide comes handy when it comes to choosing the right hosting for your WordPress site.
Use a Lightweight WordPress Theme
There are so many WordPress themes that will make your website look awesome, but they will also make it freaking slow.
The default WordPress themes have come a long way from the early days when they were buggy and took ages to load. I have tried out the Twenty Fifteen framework and found it to be surprisingly lightweight and fast to load.
To tell the truth; most themes come with bells and whistles that you will never use – they only serve to slow down your site. I use the Blue Pro by ThemeFisher on my sites and find it light and easy to customize.
Use a Caching Plugin that Doesn’t Suck
Caching plugins are some of the most useful of plugins found on WordPress.org. To top it off, most are free to use and easy to install, yet the benefit of improved load times is immense.
While different webmasters swear by one or the other, I have found that they are all effective at what they are made to do. The most popular ones you can try are the W3 Total Cache, the WP Super Cache, and WP Rocket.
Simply install, activate, configure, and experience the tremendous increase in page loading speed.
Integrate a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Most of your favorite blogs on the web such as Copyblogger and Mashable are using CDNs to load all those thousands of pages fast.
In essence, the content delivery network saves your website’s static files and hosts them on their servers closest to the visitors, thus making downloading them fast.
If you have some money to spare, you could go for the commercial CDNs such as Max CDN. If you are just starting out, you could go with cheaper alternatives such as Cloudlayer or some free ones such as the CloudFlare basic package that work well for starter sites.
Use Image Optimization (Onsite Plugins)
Images take up a lot of bandwidth, and so if you have quite a number, they may make your page load times slow down to a crawl.
Download and install a Yahoo plugin called Smush.it. The plugin significantly reduces the file size of the image while maintaining its quality.
Another free plugin that you may consider is the WP-SmushIt that automatically reduces the size of your images as you upload them – how cool is that!!
Optimize Your Homepage Properly
This may involve doing several things to enhance the home page loading speed. Given that it probably is your most important page that gets the most views, you need it to load fast. If I had to choose one of the 10 quickest ways to speed up your WordPress site, this would be it.
Implementing the following can enhance the loading speed:
1. Have a minimalistic design – no unnecessary widgets that so serve no purpose
2. Remove any sharing widgets from the homepage – have them only on the posts
3. Reduce the number of posts on the homepage – I have found that 5-7 is a good balance
4. Show excerpts rather than full posts that may take up a lot of bandwidth
A minimalistic homepage design will not only look better but will also load faster.
Always Optimize your Database
Optimizing a website the usual geeky way can be an incredibly dull and tedious affair. However, you do not have to do any of the grunt work – simply download the WP-Optimize plugin, install, configure, and you are ready to go.
You can set your configurations such that, you can optimize the database including tables, post revisions, tables, and drafts in one stroke.
Another that could work just as well is the WP-DB Manager plugin, which helps in the scheduling of dates for database optimization.
Integrate Lazyload Images
The jQuery Image Lazy Load is one cool plugin that allows the page to load only the image that is above the fold. It then loads the others as the visitor scrolls down the page just before they come into the reader’s browser window.
The plugin not only speeds up your page load speeds but also saves bandwidth since it will never load any images for visitors that do not scroll to the bottom of the page.
Control the amount of post revisions stored
How many times do you save your drafts before hitting the publish button, I would wager no less than four times. Multiply that by the number of pages and posts and you start to have quite a significant number of revisions on your site.
If you did nothing, WordPress would just archive all the drafts indefinitely thus eating up your precious bandwidth.
Do you need all those revisions, most of the time – not really!!
To reduce the number of revisions stealing your bandwidth and slowing down your site, get the Revision Control Plugin that ensures that revisions are kept to a minimum. Configure it to save the latest 2 or 3 versions, so that you can revert to an earlier version if need be without cluttering your website with needless drafts.
This is similar to our CDN discussion section above, but CloudFlare is so effective that I feel it deserves its own section.
CloudFlare is a very fast CDN that offers a basic package that works just as well as the premium CDNs. If you are a beginner, you can combine the use of CloudFlare and a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache, to enhance the security and speed of your website significantly.
What is so great about these two is that they are both free!!
There you have it 10 quickest ways to speed up your WordPress site!