Are you struggling to make your WordPress website faster? Slow websites can adversely affect your SEO and user experience.
Your website visitors have no patience to wait for a slow loading website and will leave in seconds. If you are trying to promote products or services on your website, it means fewer conversions. Actually a second delay can lead to 7% reduction in conversions on average.
Therefore it’s important to make sure your WordPress website loads fast in order to make your site visitors happy, increase website traffic and generate more sales.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to boost WordPress performance and speed. No worries that it’s not technical, and everyone can do it.
What Factors Affect Your Site Speed?
There are a number of critical factors that affect your site performance. The most common reasons that make your website slow are the following:
1. WordPress Hosting
Your website speed is greatly influenced by your web hosting server. So if your website is slow, sometimes it might not be because of your website setting. In that case, you have to contact your web host or change to a better web host.
If your website has a lot of images, they will slow down your website. So make sure you optimise the images by using a WordPress plugin like ShortPixel.
3. WordPress Plugins
Installing too many poorly coded plugins can have an adverse impact on your website speed. Make sure your plugins are well-coded. To do this, only install plugins developed by reputable developers.
4. Outdated WordPress
You have to keep your WordPress version updated, otherwise it might affect your website speed.
5. External Scripts
Display ads, font loaders and other external scripts can slow down your site.
6. WordPress Configuration
If you don’t serve cached pages of your website, it will overload your web server and cause downtime.
How to Test Your Site Speed and Performance?
Before we dive into how to optimise your website performance, you need to know how to test the speed and performance of your website. This will give you ideas of how fast your website is and what to improve.
You cannot open your website and count the time by yourself. It’s not accurate. Since you visit your website all the time, your browser will store your website’s cache and hence your website will load fast most of the time for you.
However, the speed you get on your browser may not be the same for a new visitor. A visitor who browses your website for the first time will load differently. The geographical location also affects the website speed.
To get a more accurate idea of how fast your website is, you need to use a tool like GTmetrix to analyse.
Simply enter the URL of your website and click “test your site”. You will see the page load time, performance grade, number of requests and page size etc. You can then go ahead and fix each issue identified.
14 Easy Ways to Optimise Your Website Speed
It’s time to optimise your website speed by doing some settings. You should aim to make your webpages load in 2 seconds or less. That way, your website visitors can have good experience and buy stuff on your website.
I’m going to share with you 14 ways to optimise your WordPress site performance without writing any code.
1. Choose the Best WordPress Hosting
As mentioned, the WordPress hosting you choose has a big impact on your website speed.
There are two types of web hosting: Shared Hosting and Managed WordPress Hosting.
Share Hosting: Shared hosting services like Bluehost are popular because of low price. But the performance is poor because you need to share the server resources with many other customers. You would need to compete for server resources during high traffic times. That will result in slower website speed.
Managed WordPress Hosting: this is a more expensive option but worth it. The hosting provider will handle all the technical issues for you and ensure the server is optimised for your website. I highly recommend people to choose Managed WordPress Hosting, especially if your business is growing bigger. WPX Hosting is one of the best Managed WordPress Hosting providers that I highly recommend.
So if you experience slow website speed even after doing all the essential configurations, I suggest you switch to the Managed WordPress Hosting like WPX Hosting. You should see a big difference in performance.
2. Choose a Lightweight WordPress Theme
Choosing a lightweight WordPress theme is the key for fast website speed. Some themes are bloated with complicated features and designs that it takes longer to load.
So make sure you choose a simple and lightweight WordPress theme to boost performance.
I always recommend GeneratePress as it is the fastest WordPress theme on the market. They are designed for speed.
Moreover, when it comes to the design, you should choose a minimalist design to make your website load faster. People actually don’t like complicated and fancy designs nowadays. Minimalism is the trend in website design.
Remember, the simpler your website is, the faster it will load.
3. Use a WordPress Caching Plugin
Using a caching plugin can boost your website speed a lot. A caching plugin works by generating static HTML pages of your website and storing them on the server.
So every time a new user visits your website, the caching plugin will serve the HTML page instead of processing the WordPress scripts again. This will greatly reduce the page load time.
4. Automatically Optimise Images With a WordPress Plugin
Images take longer to load in general as image files are large. But every website has images, so you should optimise and compress your images by using a WordPress plugin.
I recommend using ShortPixel, which is the best plugin to reduce image size.
5. Remove Unused Plugins
There are so many free plugins available for WordPress, so some people like installing a lot of plugins to add a lot of redundant functionalities to the website.
The problem is when you have many plugins which are not in use, it will slow down your site. So I suggest deleting the unused or unnecessary plugins to keep your website lightweight.
6. Choose Lightweight Plugins
Not every plugin is well-coded. So you have to be careful in choosing what plugins to install.
You can test if a certain plugin is slowing down your website by activating and deactivating the plugin and run a speed test.
Personally, I do a lot of research before installing a plugin. I always look for plugins that have high ratings and many installations.
I have curated a list of my favourite plugins, which are essential to a successful WordPress site.
7. Keep Your WordPress Site Updated
The core developers of WordPress keep updating the core technology. Those updates usually fix bugs, improve speed and security.
So you should make sure your website is using the latest version of WordPress. You will get notification on your WordPress dashboard when there is a new update.
8. Enhance the Security of Your Website
In some cases, your website may be hacked and hence you will notice unusually slow website speed. For example, Denial of Service attacks happen from time to time. This type of attack will slow down your website and redirect your website traffic to the hacker’s website.
Therefore, to ensure your website performs well all the time, you must secure your WordPress site.
I recommend using the security plugin called MalCare to fully protect your website and clean any malware.
This plugin operates security scanning on the cloud server instead of your website, so it won’t use your own server resource and affect your site performance.
9. Don’t Upload Videos Directly to Your Website
Having videos and audio on your WordPress site is good for engagement. However, these are large media files, so it can cause your website to load very slowly.
Therefore, you shouldn’t upload these media files onto your website. Instead, you should upload them to platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. Then you can embed them onto your site using the URL. That way, the media files are not stored on your website.
10. Use Lazy Loading of Images
Lazy loading is useful if your webpage has a lot of images. With lazy loading, only the images that are first seen on the screen are loaded. So images will not be loaded all at once.
Other images will be loaded as the user scrolls down the screen. This improves the user experience as the page loading time will be reduced.
If you use WP Rocket, it offers the lazy loading function within the plugin.
11. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Users in different countries or locations may have different experiences when browsing your websites. Some people in the US might have a fast loading speed while some people in Europe might not feel the same.
This is because your website’s web host doesn’t have a nearby data center in some locations. So the loading speed will be slower.
To solve this issue, you can use a content delivery network (CDN). It’s a network that has servers around the world. The servers can store your website’s static content or files and serve the files from the server closest to the user.
I recommend using StackPath CDN for their reliability and speed.
12. Optimise Your WordPress Database
Your WordPress database is a storage room of your website. As you add more contents to your website, the database will start to grow bigger. If you have a lot of unused stuff, it will affect your website’s performance.
So I recommend installing a plugin called WP-Sweep to clean the unnecessary files in your database from time to time.
To easily do this, install a plugin like WP Rocket, which is the best plugin to help improve your site speed.
However, if you are a member of Wealthy Affiliate, which is my #1 recommendation for online marketing beginners, you don’t need WP Rocket, as they will provide you with an in-built function for this.
14. Use the Latest PHP Version
WordPress is written in the programming language called PHP. To make your website faster, you should use the latest PHP version.
The updated PHP version like PHP 7 will use less server resources.
You need to rely on your web hosting provider to update the PHP version for you. If your web hosting provider doesn’t provide the latest PHP version, you should switch to a better hosting service like WPX Hosting.
I hope this article helps you optimise your website speed and performance. After you implement all the above tips, you should see a much faster website.
Comment below if you have other effective and easy ways to optimise the website speed. Let’s discuss.