One of the most searched questions online is how to speed up WordPress. When it comes to a technical audit, WordPress speed optimization must be on the top of your mind. Users would leave a page if it has poor speed. There are numerous tools that help you determine the WordPress website performance such as WebPageTest.org and Tools.Pingdom.com. As you already know that the website speed needs to increase, here is what you need to do.
1. Choose the Right Web Hosting Provider
One of the reasons why your website speed might be slow is because your web hosting provider does not specialize in WordPress website hosting. It is important that you find the best hosting service to boost the speed of your website. You might be hosting your website on a shared hosting provider that claims to provide unlimited bandwidth and space. But, you need to understand that shared hosting environments usually fail to deliver outstanding loading times during peak traffic hours. In fact, most simply fail to provide a 99-percent uptime.
If you are using shared hosting, the performance of your website would only continue to suffer. The reason behind this is that your website is sharing the same server space as countless other websites. Besides, you do not know how many resources those websites would be using. Moreover, you would also not know how well the server is optimized.
The good news is that the web hosting industry has progressed considerably over the years due to advancements in technology. This is why the price of cloud hosting providers has been reduced significantly. Hence, you can get dedicated cloud servers from Google Computer Engine or Amazon Web Services for a nominal price. But, setting up the server is not easy which is why you will need the right web hosting provider that also provides support.
2. Opt for a Lightweight WordPress Framework or Theme
Another excellent tip that will help you increase the WordPress website speed is opting for a lightweight framework or theme. Although there are plenty of themes that provide all types of dynamic elements, social icons, widgets, sliders, and other elements, you should consider using a theme that does not reduce the website loading speed. If there are too many elements, the website speed would take a hit. Hence, you must use a simple, lightweight template for the best results.
Moreover, people prefer a minimalist theme. If there is a lot going on, they would get overwhelmed and exit the page which would boost your bounce rate and take a hit on your search engine ranking. Make sure that you use a theme that does not increase the page size as it would cause the webserver to take a thumping. It might be a good idea to use one of the default themes or purchase a lightweight theme. If you are adamant about having a feature-rich website, you must opt for a theme that utilizes a good framework such as Foundation or Bootstrap.
3. Reduce Image Sizes
There is no denying that implementing an SEO strategy increases website visibility and Google ranking. However, it takes time to implement the strategy. You should consider the job to be a marathon rather than a sprint. Thus, it makes sense to treat each SEO campaign as an ongoing project that would never be truly completed. The amount of time it takes to see results depends on just how new the website is, how consistent you are in implementation, and how good the SEO strategy is.
Once you start working on all the metrics and have prepared the perfect SEO strategy, you should start to see results within the next four months or a year, depending on the scale of the project. Keep in mind that your website’s ranking and visibility are influenced by your competitors and the keywords you are trying to rank for.
You will find quicker results for certain metrics such as backlinks and need to wait for longer for others like keyword ranking and website authority. Create a marketing plan to monitor the progress you make. SEO is an investment that requires consistency. It pays off in the long run. Hence, you need to invest in it.
Minify CSS and JS Files
If you are using the Google Page Speed Insights tool to run your website, you must have been notified about minimizing the size of the JS and CSS files. This means that you can easily improve the loading speed of your website by reducing the number of JS and CSS calls along with the size of those files. Anyone who knows their way around WordPress themes can do some manual fixing by reading up on guides offered by Google. Even if you do not possess the required knowledge, you can use a plugin to achieve the desired goal such as Auto Optimize. It helps users optimize the JS, CSS, and HTML of their website.
In addition to the above, you might also want to consider using advanced caching mechanisms using a caching plugin. You can use a WordPress caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache to easily add caching rules to the website. Thus, you would be able to simplify the website elements without having to perform any complex task. It is also worth considering combining such a plugin with advanced caching mechanisms to improve the loading speed of the website.
Use a CDN
People from across the globe might visit your website. The website loading speed would differ depending on where your visitors are located. Therefore, it makes sense to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to provide a consistent speed to visitors located in different parts of the world. The CDN will keep a copy of your website in multiple data centers that are situated in various locations. It will ensure that each visitor accesses your website from the nearest possible data center. Max CDN and Cloud Flare are two of the most popular CDN service providers out there.
Enable GZIP Compression
A great way to save a ton of disk space is by compressing files on the local computer. GZIP compression can help boost website speed by drastically reducing bandwidth usage and the amount of time it takes for people to access your website as their browser would no longer need to unzip the website. For quick GZIP compression, you can take advantage of a plugin like Page Speed Ninja.
Cleanup the WordPress Database
A notable tip that you should consider to increase WordPress website speed is deleting unwanted data from the database. It will help reduce the size of the database and backups. You must delete old drafts of content, fake users, spam comments, and unnecessary themes to improve website performance. As you reduce the size of the database and web files, you will notice an improvement in speed.
Uninstall or Deactivate Plugins
If you keep unwanted plugins on your website, it will only add to the amount of junk that is saved in your web files. It would also increase the size of the backup and place a significant load on your server resources while backup files are generated. Hence, it is best that you simply get rid of the plugins that you no longer use and opt for an alternative for scheduling or automating tasks such as IFTTT. It will reduce the burden on your server resources.
Keep External Scripts to a Minimum
If you use external scripts on your website, it will only add a huge amount of data to the total loading time. This is why it is best that you only use a few scripts that are essential like tracking tools (i.e. Google Analytics) and commenting systems. External scripts can increase the amount of data used by your website. Therefore, you must go through all the external scripts that are used by your website and remove ones that are unnecessary. It will make a huge difference in WordPress website speed.
Disable Trackbacks and Pingbacks
Finally, you should also consider disabling trackbacks and pingbacks as they affect website speed. These core WordPress components alert you whenever your page or blog receives a link. Although it might seem useful, you can simply stick to Google Webmaster Tools to check the links on your website. When trackbacks and pingbacks are activated, they place an undesirable amount of strain on server resources as it would generate requests from WordPress back and forth every time someone tries to link to your website. Besides, the functionality is widely abused when it comes to DDoS attacks. Head over to WP-Admin>Settings>Discussion to turn it off. Simply deselect “Allow link notifications” to get the job done.
When you follow the tips mentioned above, you will be able to decrease the amount of time it takes for your website to load. It will help improve user experience and Google search engine ranking. You can count on faster website speed to help take your business website to the next level. The best part about these tips is that anyone can follow them. However, if you require more information about each specific tip, you can turn to the WordPress community as it provides extensive support. Besides, there are plenty of resources that cover each tip. Thus, you have no excuse stopping you from increasing your WordPress website speed.