Are you frustrated with your slow WordPress website? Here’s what you should do.
A sluggish WP site can have a significant effect on your website. Based on data from Quicksprout, 47% of people say they expect pages to load in two seconds or less and 64% of mobile users expect sites to load in less than four seconds.
When you think about it, a second is not a big deal, however, if we’re talking about conversion rates and thousands of dollars in revenue per year, a few seconds increase in loading time can have a huge impact on your earnings. Is your slow WordPress site dragging your sales to the bottom? Here are five smart fixes you can do to improve your website loading speed.
1. Delete plugins and add-ons you don’t use
Do you like hoarding plugins? WordPress has thousands of plugins available for free. Plugins are optional software that can be added to your WP site. Most of them are pretty useful as they can add features and functions to your website. However, some website owners have way too many plugins—to the point that it negatively affects their site speed.
Plugins can affect your website’s loading speed by including additional HTTP requests on every page. So essentially, the more plugins you have, the slower your site will be. Some plugins may also be outdated or poorly coded.
Aside from slowing down your site, another major reason to delete unused plugins is to reduce the chance of security issues. Out of date plugins can provide a gateway to hack your site. There are many reports of hackers using plugins to get access to the site’s sensitive information such as customer’s banking details.
2. Use a good web host
All websites need hosting. Your site needs access to a physical server to store its files. A hosting plan is like a parking space you purchase on a server to use your website. A bad web host at the very least can slow down your website load time. In serious cases, it can severely impact your business operation, security, and customer service.
However, not all web hosts are created equal. If website speed is important to you, then you must commit to investing in a good web host that provides WordPress optimised hosting. It’s always worth it to pay a little more if you want to increase your site speed.
3. Use fast WordPress themes
You’ve finally set up your web host and WordPress site, it’s time to go theme shopping. When choosing themes, most of us pick the fanciest one or the one that looks like our favorite site. However, when it comes to choosing a theme for your website, the first thing you have to consider is the speed of its load time.
A simple and minimalistic theme with 2 seconds of loading time is always better than a fancy theme that takes more than 4 seconds! You can do a speed test by opening the demo site. If you haven’t already figured out, each theme has a demo site that you can view to see how the theme looks and works.
4. Content Delivery Networks and HTTP compression
If your website is a little heavy on the visuals—with pages filled with gifs, images, and whatnot, you should probably start using a CDN or Content Delivery Networks. CDN works by serving content faster using an “edge server”. These servers contain downloadable content such as images for user download. They’re known for their quick delivery and low demand on bandwidth.
Another way to increase your site speed is by enabling HTTP compression. Gzip and deflate are just some of the commonly used HTTP compression formats by server platforms. HTTP compression can be enabled by editing your .htaccess file or using caching plugins. You can find them on your WP site’s setting pages.
5. Optimize images
Perhaps one of the most overlooked factors that can cause your site speed to go down is the images on your site. WordPress sites that have too large and too many images can make pages load a lot slower. So if your primary goal right now is to increase your site speed, you should start optimizing your images. There’s a whole process to optimizing images. Here are some of the easiest methods:
- Choosing the right file type. You can either use JPEG or PNG. If your images are heavy in color use JPEG. If your image is more of a graphic or text, go use PNG. For animated images, please use GIF.
- Display images at smaller sizes. If you’re not an artist who needs to display high res photos then stick to the standard image sizes: 1200, 1000, 800, and 600 pixels wide.
- Use the lazy loading script. This is not so much an image optimization but a page optimization strategy where images only load when users scroll on them.