The Speed that your website uploads is one of the most important factors in building a website. In fact, this is the same factor that search engines and visitors prioritize.
Not only does it improve retention rates, but Google will prioritize quick pages in search results.
In this article, I will share how to get the most speed out of your WordPress site.
Why is the speed of your WordPress Site Important?
Speed is important for a variety of reasons, but the three most important include the visitor experience, search engines, and eCommerce sales.
Let’s look at each one.
Waiting for a page to load is a lot bane. This is one statement that everyone can agree with, especially when there are so many websites that can load a page in under a second. According to Google, 53% of visitors leaves the page if the load times exceed 3 seconds.
What’s even worse than a long load time? If the page is sluggish and fails to load properly due to poor design choices. It’s a foolproof way of guaranteeing that a visitor will never come back.
If there is one thing that every search engine has made clear, the speed of a website is a factor they consider when ranking your site. Search engines are designed to help users find websites that provide the information they want without taking too long to find.
And as we have just discussed, speed can change that experience significantly. Therefore, it has become a top priority for search engines to rank rankings for faster rankings.
According to Google, a 0.1 second improvement can increase conversion rates by 8.4% for retail premises. Every millennial counts when a shopper is considering buying.
Speed is more important to online stores than any other type of website.
It also suggests that shoppers can load more product pages, meaning their shopping cart has a better chance of filling. Simply put, speed improves sales.
How to Check Pagespeed in WordPress
Obviously, you’ll need to know how your website is performing to help you identify a problem. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available for use in WordPress that can do this.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is a powerful tool that will help you identify major defects affecting your load times. In fact, this is the best place to start when trying to find out where you can improve.
It provides a rating and highlights problem areas on your site. The most common are CSS, JS and HTML reduction. That said, the tool does not actually tell you a certain speed clearly.
GTMetrix is a free optimization plugin that you can run from within your site. It shows two separate scores, one from the aforementioned Google PageSpeed Insights, and the other is YSlow, a metric used by GTMetrix to analyze mobile performance.
Having two reference points without having to leave your site is a great option. It allows you to compare the data to identify problem areas and what you can do to fix them.
WebPageTest is another excellent free page speed tool that you can use. It provides a detailed account of the factors that influence your speeds. It also provides separate scores for security, first-time byte, and other factors.
And yes, this tool actually tells you the exact time it takes a page down for the militia, so it’s quite useful.
How to Accelerate Your WordPress Website
1. Select Quick Webhost
The web hosting company you choose is important and will greatly influence the speed of your website. And to say that the web hosting industry is competitive is an understatement. In fact, you have many companies to choose from, but at the same time, not really.
These companies are not all alike, and while you can see ads that have competitive prices and features, the speeds are anything but equal. That’s why at GreenGeeks we designed our WordPress hosting plans specifically with speed in mind. We have set up our servers in a certain way to ensure that we can not only provide the best eco-friendly web hosting in the world, but online, but we also have some of the fastest website speeds.
So if you’re looking for a better host for your website, it’s worth checking out our web hosting plans, or talking to one of our customer service representatives about moving your site to us. (We also Offer Free Migration Services).
2. Optimize Media Files
Images and videos are a big part of every website and unfortunately, they have one drawback. They are large files and can affect your website’s load times. However, this can be completely avoided by optimizing file size.
For images, the average file size should be somewhere around 150kb at most. You can further shrink an image file by using a compression tool. For videos in WordPress, the trick is to never host the videos yourself.
Instead, you should host them on YouTube and embed the video on your site. This saves server resources and improves page loading speed, especially if you use tools like WP Rocket’s Lazy Load to add YouTube placeholder thumbnails to the actual JS embedded script.
3. Use a Light Weight Theme
Many beginners believe that themes simply allow you to choose the appearance of your site in WordPress. However, that is partly true. They have many features that also determine how your website behaves, which can affect load times.
When choosing a theme, the keyword you need to look for is “lightweight.” This is an indication that the theme is built with speed in mind. Most of these themes offer a minimal design approach, making your content the primary focus.
Minimalist themes are an excellent choice for websites that have great images because they become the focus of attention.
4. Don’t Use Lots of Plugins
Plugins are great and can add a variety of features necessary to keep your website working properly. However, there is such a thing as too many plugins. Each plugin uses a small number of resources, which all slow down your site.
In many cases, the effects will be negligible. Yet in other cases, like security plugins, they can be obvious. This is why you should just install a plugin you ever need. It’s also important to understand that some plugins are better than others.
Reading reviews and using a testing environment is essential when trying to optimize WordPress for speed.
5. Use Responsive Design
Everyone understands that mobile users make up a large percentage of internet traffic. In fact, in the United States, 61% of all traffic came from mobile devices. This is exactly why Google uses the mobile version of your site to determine rankings.
And while mobile devices have become incredibly powerful over the years, they are still miles away from desktop power. This means that the images need to be properly sized for the screen, and in some cases, some features may be absent from the mobile site.
The good news is that almost everything is mobile-friendly these days, but you need to make sure those features are active.
6. Use Caching Plugin
Caching is an extremely important process that allows your site to copy static pages to display to visitors. This means that instead of loading a page from scratch, the site already knows what to display.
To achieve this in WordPress, you’ll need a caching plugin, and luckily there’s no shortage to choose from. In fact, I recommend that all websites have a caching, security and backup plugin set up from the start.
These are essential tools and help promote speed, safety and recovery.
7. Use Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is a development technique where elements of a page are not loaded until they are necessary. Or to put it simply, your web pages will only load page elements when they are visible. This can improve load times dramatically in most cases.
For WordPress, the most common use for this technique is for images. We already discussed that images should be optimized, and lazy loading takes it a step further. Let’s face it, many visitors who click on a page don’t scroll down.
Therefore, there is no reason to upload those images unless the visitor examines the page. It is extremely effective and simple to implement.
8. Use a pagination in the Comments Section
The comments section is an important part of any community as it allows direct communication with readers. However, as the number of comments begins to increase, loading all of them can be a challenge. Especially when that number gets into the hundreds.
To prevent comments slowing down your pages, you need to use a page in the comments section. This simply shows a certain amount of comments at one time and visitors have to select the page to read those comments.
WordPress has this feature built-in and takes less than a minute to set up.
9. Reduce CSS, JS, and HTML
One of the main benefits of using WordPress is that you do not have to write a single line of code. However, there are plenty of cases that your website can benefit from doing so. And yet, every time a CSS, JS, or HTML call occurs, it slows down your site.
So, in order to speed up WordPress, you need to reduce these files and reduce the number of calls. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to use the Autoptimize plugin. It reduces all the code and eventually makes it light.
In fact, Autoptimize effectively reduces the Cumulative Plan Shift score in PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix.
Some plugins may even add custom code without your knowledge, so this plugin will help identify and reduce it.
10. Turn off Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Pingbacks and trackbacks are alerts that WordPress generates whenever your site is used as a link on another site. In theory, this is a useful notification. However, the reality of the situation is that you will receive mostly tons of spam.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already disabled pingbacks and backups in WordPress because of endless backlinks. Not only are these requests annoying, but receiving hundreds every day will slow down your site.
As your site grows, disabling this feature is a must to speed up WordPress.
11. Disable and Delete Revisions
All websites need to update content and keep it relevant. To do this, you need to go back and edit the post or page. This should happen regularly. However, one thing that beginners do not understand is that WordPress saves the old version as a review.
This will help you get back to the old content if needed and can be quite useful. It can also add hundreds if not thousands of lines to your database, which will affect your overall speed. Therefore, it is in your interest to delete existing revisions and disable the feature completely.
And in case you like this feature, you could also try limiting the feature by limiting the number of revisions stored.
12. Limit Social Sharing Buttons
Social media has taken the world by storm and has forever changed the way websites and businesses market themselves. These days, everyone has a social media presence and that means you have a way to integrate your website with that platform.
Enter social sharing buttons.
However, there is one problem … they slow down your site. Yet, getting rid of all of them is not a good option. Instead, the best option is to limit the number of buttons you include.
Even the largest companies only list a few social sharing buttons, so don’t go overboard and look for redundancy in this area.
13. Use GZIP Compression
GZIP compression uses an advanced compression algorithm to compress common WordPress files (HTML, CSS, JS, etc.). When requested by a user, instead of using these larger files, the compressed version is.
This feature is highly recommended by Google PageSpeed Insights as it can potentially reduce file size by 70%! A great tool to do this, and handle your caching needs is WP rocket. It is an excellent premium tool to accelerate WordPress.
It’s as simple as checking a box in the settings after installation.
Accelerate WordPress Today
Increasing your website speed improves the user experience and helps you climb search engine rankings. There is no downside to having a fast website, but it does require some effort. By following the tips and advice above from page speed tools, you can create a great experience for users and search engines alike.
If you haven’t started building your website, make sure you check out our step-by-step guide to making it in 2021.
What tips made the most impact on your website? What is your favorite page speed tool to use?