No matter how fast your WordPress site is, you’ll always find ways to improve the loading speed. Why all the fascination about your site’s loading speed?
It has a lot to do with the success of your online business. If your site or blog takes too long to load, then you are likely to experience a higher bounce rate.
Higher bounce rate leads to loss of potential leads and revenue for your business. It also leads, directly or indirectly, to a lower search engine ranking. This results in lower visibility for your website and much lower traffic to the same website.
The page load speed for your website is a critical aspect of your business that has to be handled properly. That’s the reason for this guide – to provide you with the needed speed to rev up your WordPress site’s web pages.
If you’ve noticed, the topic of this post clearly indicates a focus on the WordPress site. The reasons are not far fetched as WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) used by marketers and bloggers.
Plus WordPress has all the tools that you need to execute the tips that we cover in this guide. Some of those tools (WordPress plugins) will be mentioned in the post.
Finally, WordPress is a flexible content management system that allows you to build any kind of website. You can build corporate websites, blogs, forums, online learning platforms, e-commerce stores, and membership websites.
Now that we have that cleared, let’s get you started with optimizing the speed of your WordPress site.
Before you start working on the speed of your site, it is important to measure the current speed. We want to be sure that there’s actual improvement after executing the tips mentioned here.
After all, you won’t be able to improve on something that you do not or cannot measure. To run a speed test of your website, listed below are some tools that you can use.
- Page Speed Insights by Google
Ensure that you take a snapshot of the speed test as this will be used to measure the speed improvement. The next thing you ought to do is do a WordPress database backup on your site.
That’s because some of the optimization tips will get to the database level. We want to be sure that there’s a backup for restoring your database in case you experience any glitches.
That said; let’s delve into those tips that will get your site blazing with speed.
1 – Choose a WordPress Optimized Web Hosting Plan
By taking this decision alone, more than half of the load speed problems will already be dealt with. A WordPress optimized web hosting offers you features that have been designed to improve your site or blog.
Issues that have to do with site performance, load speed, and security are handled at the server level. Plus they are taken care of by highly qualified persons who know what they’re doing.
I do understand that beginners are advised to go for the most basic web hosting package when starting out. In this case, the web hosting plan happens to be the shared hosting. This may be appropriate for the newbie but it will cost you in terms of performance.
The least option to settle for is the WordPress hosting plan on any reputable hosting company. I would recommend using any of the WordPress optimized plans on SiteGround or BlueHost. Their plans come with the basic features to boost the load speed of your web pages.
Some other features to expect include CDN, Premium DNS, WordPress caching, and the latest PHP version.
2 – The Use of CDN Network
A CDN (content delivery network) is one of those setups that guarantee you faster load speeds. It is a server network that is designed to distribute your site’s assets across geographically dispersed servers.
So the CDN network improves page load speed by delivering your page assets through the nearest servers to your visitors.
For instance, web visitors living in India will have their page contents served to them from the Delhi server. That’s because the Delhi server is the closest server to their physical location. CDN networks reduce the time taken to serve the page contents and also the page load time.
Most often you will be offered a free CDN service in most WordPress optimized web packages. If you want an individual CDN service, one of the most suitable options would be the WP Rocket plugin.
3 – Upgrade to a Faster WordPress Theme
WordPress themes come at different shapes, features, and prices. However, I’ll advise that you upgrade your current WordPress theme to a faster one, that’s if you haven’t done that already.
Themes that were designed 5 – 10 years ago are cool, but recently designed WordPress themes are optimized for speed.
You see, back then speed wasn’t a major issue as it is today. Besides that, it is important that your theme be responsive and mobile-optimized. If you’re not sure whether your theme has these features, it probably doesn’t have them.
Astra themes are quite cool and they are optimized to offer suitable load speed for your site and web pages.
4 – Ensure You Are Using The Latest PHP Version
The PHP version that you’re using for your server has a bearing on your site’s loading speed. Each time there is a major PHP upgrade, you’re assured of an increase in performance.
That means PHP 7.0+ has significant improvement in its performance over PHP 5.0+. It is clear that PHP 7.0+ is the minimum version you should be using for your server.
To find out what version of PHP your site is running on, you can inquire from customer support. Also, most web hosting companies would specify the PHP version alongside the features of their web hosting packages.
That way, you will be able to find out the specific version of PHP in use. For advanced users or developers, a manual check will reveal the version used by your hosting company. If the current PHP version is less than 7.0, you could request for a hosting plan that comes with that version.
If your hosting provider cannot give it to you, then it is time to shop for a new web hosting company to use.
5 – Get the Closest Server to Your Audience
The physical distance between your server and audience does affect the load time of their pages. It’s like traveling from the city you currently reside in to a different city. The farther the destination city the longer the time it will take you to get there.
The same is applicable to web pages that your audience receives on their devices. The first step to take is to determine the city or country where your target audience is living. If you’re building a blog for a particular nation, it makes the work easier.
That’s because you have already decided on the country to focus on for your traffic source. The next step to take is to choose a web hosting plan that allows you to decide on the location of your server.
Most plans offer the options of US and UK servers for webmasters.
6 – Limit Usage of WordPress Plugins
WordPress has this fancy system that allows users to customize their sites to any level. This fancy system is referred to as plugins and they come with different functions and features to extend your WordPress site.
However, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of plugins and having so many of them installed on your site. As great as plugins are, they can negatively affect the performance of your site. Too much of it and you’ll have a pregnant site that takes too long to load on users’ devices.
Also, there are some badly designed plugins that slow down your website. Some even go as far as crashing your WordPress site and making it inaccessible. Before installing any plugin on your site, check for reviews from real users to find out its working condition.
Another care that must be taken is to avoid loading your site with too many plugins. It’s much better to settle for plugins that are designed for so many related functions than using individual plugins for each function.
A plugin like WP Rocket is designed to handle most of the performance issues of WordPress. Finally, on WordPress plugins, ensure to carry out regular clean-ups of your site. A good tool for this is Asset cleanup which also prevents some scripts from loading on specific pages.
7 – Optimize Images on Your Site
Images are must-haves for your website especially when you have to illustrate a concept or point. They make your pages interactive and add beauty and color to your pages’ aesthetics.
However, the use of images can turn out to be a double-edge sword for you. On the one side, they make your site look beautiful and attractive to your audience. On the other side, images lead to slower web pages which may impact the user experience of your audience.
So how do you strike a balance with images on your site?
I’ll suggest you use images in your posts when they are absolutely necessary. If you are able to illustrate a point without using visual aids, then do so.
Also, it is important that you use high-quality images in your blog posts and articles. And since higher quality images are larger in size, a good image compression tool should be used.
The WordPress plugin ShortPixel is a great tool that you could use to optimize your site’s images. Another means of speeding up image load time is through the use of lazy loading. This enables the loading of media that are only within the view of a web user.
Using CDN is another image optimization strategy to ensure that media files do not slow down your pages. Finally, choose the right file size for uploading your images to your site. For example, converting a PNG file to JPG can reduce the image size by as much as 75% without affecting image quality.
8 – Reduction in DNS Lookup
Multiple DNS Lookups is a major culprit of slow loading web pages. Most times site owners aren’t even aware that their sites are being slowed down by third-party scripts.
Third-party scripts can be used for different reasons such as ad management, analytics, optimization, or marketing. Before taking any actions aimed at reducing your DNS lookup, you need to first find out the scripts causing the problem.
You’ll need to run a site test using the Pingdom tool to find out which third party script is the culprit.
You may need to run multiple tests within 30 to 60 minutes intervals to get accurate results. Once you are able to establish that a third party script is a cause, there are some actions you can immediately take.
If you identified any specific scripts during the tests, it’s time to remove them. You could also request a replacement from the owners of the script
By using a faster DNS provider, you will be able to reduce the time spent on the DNS lookup. Some of the DNS providers offer such services as Cloudflare, Amazon and Google domains. You can move your domain from your current provider to any of the ones listed above. If this isn’t feasible at the moment, then you can sign up for Cloudflare DNS service
If you haven’t been using CDN, then you’ll need to get one and start using it. It will help in reducing the amount of DNS lookups while boosting your site’s load speed.
The performance of your site is a critical factor that affects the user experience of your visitors as well as your SEO.
When a page takes longer than usual to load on users’ browsers, there’s a likelihood of a higher bounce rate. To stem this, you’ll need to employ the right tactics for boosting your page load speed.
You may not need to implement all 8 tips that have been outlined in this guide. However, you can begin with those that you can easily start using so your page load speed can be improved.
Do you want to enjoy a faster hosting server other than the ones mentioned above? Then try out the .