Website Speed Optimization

A beginner’s guide to WordPress speed optimization for faster loading

When it comes to getting online, There is nothing more annoying than waiting for a website to load completely. A slow-loading website is terrible in terms of both user experience and searches traffic.

Faster the website loads, better is the user experience and lesser is the bounce rate. This is very important for making more conversions and increasing the revenue for any business website.

If you have have been wondering about the speed of your WordPress website and thinking of easy ways to improve the speed, this guide can be handy for yours.

Begin by benchmarking the current speed of your site:

It is important to analyse the current speed performance of your website before you make any specific plan for speed improvement. There are lot of online tools to test the speed of your website. For a long time, I have been using GTmertrix and is pretty awesome tool.

Simply click SPEED TEST. and run the test by inputting your website URL.

OK, once you click the analyse button you will be able to get your result in a few seconds. “Wait” ..”Wait”…”Wait”..”Wait”…”Wait”………….DONE!

I can see my website loads in 2.8 seconds with a page speed score of 83% and Yslow score of 73%.

Now what is your website loading time? Did you get it below 3 seconds? If yes! congratulations. If your website is loading in more than 3 seconds, you need to be a bit concerned and if it takes more than 5 seconds, you need serious improvements with your website.

According to Google, your website should load in less than 3 seconds for better user experience and better SEO score

Now, lets dive into each steps that will help you get your website load time to below 3 seconds.

Optimize images on your site

Heavy images on your web page will slow down your website performance to a great extent. Image are important part of your content and story telling so if you are using lots of images on your website, make sure all of them are properly compressed and optimized.

To make your image load faster, follow this things:

Use images in jpeg format. By doing this you can keep good resolution even in the smaller image size. For transparent image png format works well.

You can use online image converter in order to change the format of your image.

Compress your images to reduce the size.

WordPress has some awesome plugins for compressing images. Some of the best ones are reSmush.it, Compress JPEG & PNG images, Compress JPEG & PNG images, ShortPixel Image Optimizer, WP Smush

Here is a screen shot of the WPSmush plugin dashboard. Once you install the plugin and run the setup wizard, it will automatically detects the images that needs compression.

Click on “bulk smush now” to begin the compression. Wait for few seconds until all the images are compressed.

Enable Gzip Compression

Gzip compression helps you reduce the size of your web pages. Web pages are compressed and sent to the browser which helps in a faster download. This will improve the speed of your WordPress site.

Gzip compression for a WordPress site can be easily enabled by using one of the plugins like Force gzip, W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, WP Rocket etc

Wp fastest cache is one of the super-powerful plugins which allows you to enable Gzip compression for FREE.

Website Speed Optimization

Enable Caching

When ever you request something on the browser, The PHP script is processed and HTML content is generated. When you enable caching, the HTML content generated once can be saved and can be sent again in another similar request. By doing this PHP script doesn’t need to be run again and again. This will make the site load faster.

WP fastest cache plugin can be used to enable caching on WordPress sites.

Website Speed Optimization

Minify the Codes

Code minification helps to load the website faster by removign the unnecessary character and making the files smaller in size.

Also, you need to combine all the javascript in one file and all the CSS in one file. Doing this will help to reduce the number of requests that is needed in order to load the page. Lower the number of requests, faster the website loads.

There are lots of plugins to minify and combine javascript and CSS files. WP fastest catch does good work in minifying the codes.

Website Speed Optimization

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network performs like a caching system. The caching system stores static files in the server whereas the CDN serves the content from different serves in different locations.

There are many CDN available for WordPress. Some of the popular CDN are:

  1. MaxCDN.
  2. Sucuri
  3. Cloudflare
  4. StackPath
  5. KeyCDN
  6. Rackspace
  7. Incapsula

MaxCDN is recommended by most of the WordPress users. They have lightning fast servers that can deliver content within seconds.

Website Speed Optimization

Clean up WordPress database

Spam comments, fake users, the useless content drafts, unused plugin and themes should be deleted. Doing this will reduce the size of your database and helps in faster loading of your site.

Doing database cleanup after a certain time period will help you to lower the size of your backup files. Wp-Sweep is a good plugin for cleaning database files.

Use a superior web hosting provider

The speed of your website is greatly affected by the server your website is hosted with. Most of the shared web hosting server can make your website load slow as there is a constant sharing of the hardware resources among the different users. You don’t even know who is using what portion of the resources.

Shared servers might look affordable in the beginning but in the long run the performance matters the most.

Dedicated cloud servers are better and efficient servers for hosting websites that really want superior performance.

You can use managed WordPress hosting from providers like Siteground and Bluehost. WPengine is another good server for managed WordPress hosting.

Regularly update WordPress

Website Speed Optimization

WordPress makes frequent updates to make sure everything works smoothly and up to date. With every new update release, make sure to update your WordPress. This will help you enjoy extra added features and also fix the existing issues and bugs.

Also, check for theme and plugin updates. Update them regularly to the latest version. Outdated themes and plugins can slow down your site and make your site vulnerable to malware and threats.

Use a high quality theme

Website Speed Optimization

The speed of your site also depends on the quality of the theme used. Poorly coded and non optimized themes makes your site load slow. Remember to test the speed of your theme and check its features before using them.

Look for the optimized and high performing theme like Schema. This theme loads in a couple of seconds. Using such SEO friendly themes will save a lot of time and resources that would otherwise be spent for speed optimization.

Host the audio/video files out of WordPress

Website Speed Optimization

The large media files will increase the size of your backups. It is better to host large audio and video files in other hosting parties like sound cloud, vimeo and youtube. This will save a lot of your bandwidth .

You can simply embed such audio video file using the built in embed features.

Use lazy loading

For those sites which use a lot of images ,videos, audio, and gallaries, Using lazy loading is a good choice.

What does lazy loading do?

Lazy loading will help to delay the loading of the objects in your site and help your website load faster. The user does not have to wait for the image and video element to load, they can start browsing the other element in the page. This will:

  • reduce the load in the browser
  • the http request is decrease when the page loads for the first time
  • few data can be served by the server
  • this will save your bandwidth

Use Website Firewalls

Firewalls act as a protective shield between your website and the visitors and web traffic. The main purpose of a firewall is to monitor, analyse and block the potential common threats before they get into the WordPress Dashboard.

There are basically two types of firewalls. Application-level and DNS level firewalls.

DNS level firewalls are better in identifying the quality of traffic coming to your website. They only send genuine traffic to your website by routing the website traffic through their cloud proxy servers.

The DNS level firewall significantly lowers the load on your hosting server

Website Speed Optimization

Some of the best firewall plugins available for WordPress are:

Limit post revision

Limiting the post revision can help your website perform better and faster. If you have a large blog and a lot of author working on the post, there can be a lot of revision. Each post revision tasks a space in your database. If your revision is not excluded, it might slow down your site.

 limit post revisions on WordPress with the help of  WP Revisions Limit plugin. This will help your site to perform better in terms of loading.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can i check the loading speed of my website?

You can check the loading speed of your website using one of the following online speed testing tools: Gtmetrix speed test, Pingdom speed test, Page speed insights speed test.

2. How fast should my website load?

In general, a website should not take more than 3 seconds to load. Google says- “any website that loads in more than 3 seconds can have a negative effect on user experience”.

3. Do i need coding skills speed to optimise the speed of my website?

Not necessarily! WordPress Websites can be optimized fairly using speed optimization plugins.

4. How can loading time affect my site?

The loading time of your site can drastically affect your website performance. A site loading in more than 5 seconds can increase your bounce rate by 90 percent.

Wrapping in

Having a website that loads fast can dramatically improve the user experience, conversion, and over all lead generation process. No body loves a slow loading site. Thankfully, WordPress has so many plugins available for free to optimize your site for better performance.

Test and play with different plugins, Try to see what works good and see what can be done better. Taking few hours to work with the site optimization can make a huge impact on your website as a whole.

Let us know what steps you have taken to speed up your site, share with us your optimization tips and help others create a faster loading website. Don’t forget to share your experience in the comment below.

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