Website performance optimization is all the jazz.
There are plenty of methods you can use to turn your website into a high-performing website and in this post, I’m going to be discussing five ways you can optimize your WordPress.
So, let’s begin, shall we?
Why should you speed up WordPress?
Nowadays, speed optimization is not just an option, it’s a necessity.
If you’re serious about taking your WordPress website to the next level then you need to invest some time in speed optimization. Here are some reasons why:
- Search engines give preference in their index for faster loading websites as opposed to slower ones.
- Your site ideally needs to load faster than three seconds. If it doesn’t, it can mean a rise in bounce rates for your business.
- For eCommerce stores, speed is a serious issue. They want that website load in just a few seconds: that’s it. If it doesn’t load in time, the users are going to bounce off.
How to test the loading time of your website?
To get started with speed optimization, you first need to understand what your current performance is. Website page speed differs from page to page, combined with a variety of other factors that come into play. Some of them include:
- The size of the page
- The requests generated on a page
- It’s cache ability
- Type of content (static and dynamic)
The following tools are a good way to get started with testing your website’s page speed:
- Google PageSpeed Insights
Now that we’ve established this, it’s time we move on to the seven ways you can speed up your WordPress website. So, let’s begin.
1. Choose a better web hosting provider
A major factor contributing to efficient load speeds is the web host.
Yes, your choice of hosting matters a lot for the future performance of your website. Your website loading speed will be rather slow when you’re using a shared web hosting server as compared to a faster, managed hosting one.
This is because shared hosts are “shared”, in that many people use that server for their websites. With so many people in a single server, there’s bound to delays in speed. Besides speed, you might experience downtimes as well.
It’s because of this reason that selecting a good WordPress host is a vital aspect.
Make sure that whatever hosting you select has an excellent reputation and a variety of unique features that guarantee performance optimization.
The end goal is to have a host that promises speed even in a shared hosting environment. You don’t need a managed cloud hosting, which can be expensive to some.
Fortunately, there are plenty of websites that provide superior, and high-performance hosting options for WordPress businesses and blogs.
The prime example of them being SiteGround’s WordPress hosting services. SiteGround has established its own niche: WordPress hosting and provides hosting services on that front. Besides that, you have options like Digital Ocean, WP-Engine and others that you can use.
2. Use a lightweight WordPress theme / framework
On a modern WordPress website, there are certain theme elements that take up space. Sliders, CTA’s, social icons, and widgets add the aesthetic flair to the website, but when not optimized correctly, it can cause a reduction in speed.
With too many such elements, your servers are going to take some serious overload which causes a decline in speed. In that situation, what can you do? Well, the obvious solution is to use a theme that’s lightweight from the get-go.
These themes, and all their elements are optimized to give you a prime WordPress experience without overloading your WordPress servers.
If you’re running a professional WordPress website and want a theme that doesn’t take up too many server resources, then you should definitely consult a WordPress development services expert who will guide you on the type of website you can want.
3. Reduce image sizes
Images are the mainstay of a WordPress website.
Apart from video content, images are the easiest method to grab a reader’s attention. Now, using high-quality images is recommended by every digital marketing professional worth his salt. But is that image optimized and sized correctly?
Yes, the size and shape of the image matters a lot. Besides using optimization tools like TinyPNG and built-in image optimization plugins, also create a standard size for your WordPress images.
To resize your WordPress images, you can use a tool like Chrome PageSpeed Insights or Adobe Photoshop. Now image resizing will take some time, but in the long run, it’s going to be very beneficial in improving the performance of your WordPress website.
4. Minify JS and CSS files
If you’ve used the performance optimization tools mentioned before, you might have seen that they mention “minifying CSS and JS files” in every speed test.
Minification of your CSS and JS files matter a lot. The average CSS code looks something like this:
In contrast, minified CSS/JS code looks like this:
It’s smaller, so what? While it doesn’t mean much to you, to the web server, it means fewer calls for the code to be pulled. You can improve the speed of your site significantly with the help of minification.
If you don’t want to face the hassles of doing this yourself, then there are always plugins that you can use to minify the CSS code of your website. Autoptimize is one such plugins that can get the job done.
If you run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights tool, you will probably be notified about minimizing the size of your CSS and JS files. What this means is that by reducing the number of CSS and JS calls and the size of those files, you can improve the site-loading speed by a significant margin.
5. Use a CDN
Most website owners set up a website to target not only local users but also international ones as well. The number of users on your website,therefore, will come from various places around the world.
Now, if your web hosting server is in your country of origin and some from another corner of the world attempts to access it, it’s going to take some time for the web page to load. If it doesn’t load on time, then the user will just bounce off of a website.
To ensure that your website is delivered to the end user you need to invest in a CDN. What it does is it saves a copy of a website as a cache on a variety of servers all across the world. This ensures that whenever someone from afar accesses your website, they won’t have to wait for it.
Cloudflare and MaxCDN are your best friends in this context since they allow you to speed up your WordPress website with relative ease. You can also use a good cache plugin to leverage features such as CDN and it also helps you in improving site SEO score.
While there are plenty more, we could have discussed, we feel that these five steps can prove a good starting point for WordPress optimization.
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