How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Getting your site to load quickly is very important. There are various steps that you can take to ensure that your site is performing at its best.
WordPress is now the world’s most used content platform. However, this means that there are thousands of plugins and themes that all have their own unique characteristics.
Why WordPress Site Speed Matters
When a person lands on your site for the first time, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention to convince them to hang around.
According to a report by the Bing search team, having a page load time of 2 seconds or longer increases the likelihood that a user will leave a site and decreases its profitability.
Site speed is now a major factor in the algorithm used by Google for determining the rankings of a website. This means that if your site has slow loading times, it could lose visitors and lower rankings in search engines.
Let’s fix that.
How To Speed Up WordPress
These are not prioritized or anything like that, but just a list of everything I learned about how to speed up WordPress page loads.
1. Choose a good host
It’s not as simple as it sounds. Having a shared host comes with its own set of costs. It comes at another cost: incredibly slow site speed and frequent downtime during high traffic periods.
If you’re planning on publishing a lot of content, then it’s time to move to a proper hosting platform.
2. Start with a solid framework/theme
The Twenty Nineteen theme is very fast and lightweight. It has the same basic design as most frameworks, but it has plenty of features that will never be used.
The Focus theme framework is by far the fastest loading theme I’ve used. It has the new Focus skin that is easily customizable.
3. Use an effective caching plugin
There are a few good reasons why WordPress plugins are useful, and some of them are even better than standard ones. These are the best WordPress plugins that are free and easy to use.
W3 Total Cache is by far my favorite, it is extremely easy to install and use. Simply install and activate, and what your page load faster as elements are cached.
4. Use a content delivery network (CDN)
Several of my favorite blogs are making use of this feature, and if you are a WordPress user, then you will be glad to know that some of your favorites are also making use of this.
A content delivery network (CDN) is a service that takes all of the static files from your website and sends them to servers as close to your site as possible.
I use StackPath to deliver content to my WordPress sites, as they have the most reasonable prices. Their website is very simple to use, and their tutorials are very good.
5. Optimize images (automatically)
Yahoo!’s image optimizer is called Smush.it, and it will reduce the size of an image by up to 99%.
This is a great plugin that will automatically upload all of your images to WordPress. You can also manage it through your desktop.
6. Optimize your homepage to load quickly
There are a few simple things that you can do to make sure that your homepage loads quickly.
Things that you can do include:
- Show excerpts instead of full posts
- Reduce the number of posts on the page (I like showing between 5-7)
- Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the home page (include them only in posts)
- Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
Keep in minimal! Readers are here for content, not 8,000 widgets on the homepage
Overall, a clean and focused homepage design will help your page not only look good but load quicker as well.
7. Optimize your WordPress database
You can do this very tedious and boring manual fashion, or you can use the WordPress-Optimize plugin. This one lets you do it all in one simple step.
8. Disable hotlinking and leeching of your content
Hotlinking is a type of bandwidth theft where other websites link to the images on your site, which would cause your server load to increase significantly. This is usually done due to the increasing number of people who “scrape” your site’s content.
9. Add an expires header to static resources
10. Adjust Gravatar images
On this site, the default Gravatar image is set to nothing. It improves the load times of the site by not having a lot of nonsense.
You can also set the default image to a blank space in the WordPress admin panel. This will help improve the site’s speed.
11. Add LazyLoad to your images
LazyLoad is a process that only displays the images that are above the fold load. These images are then loaded as soon as the reader scrolls down.
This feature will automatically load images and videos at the slowest speed possible. It can also reduce the amount of data that users have to consume to get to the next page.
12. Control the number of post revisions stored
I saved this post to my WordPress account 8 times. Each time, I would draft another post.
You can also set it to 2 or 3, so that in case you make a wrong post, something to fall back on.
13. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks
WordPress will automatically update your site each time a blog mentions you. This setting will not destroy the backlinks to this site, but it will generate a lot of work for you.
For more detail, read this explanation of WordPress Pingbacks, Trackbacks, and Linkbacks.
14. Replace PHP with static HTML, when necessary
This one is very simple and can cut down your load time dramatically. It can also be used to include page speed data.
So go there and check it out, it wrote it out in plainer terms than I ever could!
15. Use CloudFlare
This is a quick overview of how to use CloudFlare. It’s also similar to the section on using CDNs, but I’ve added it separately here.
CloudFlare and the W3 Total Cache are two powerful tools that will greatly improve the speed and security of your website. Both are free!
As you can probably tell, we are obsessed with all the different ways you can speed up WordPress. Having a fast site helps boost your rankings, improves crawlability for search engines, improves conversion rates, increases time on site, and decreases your bounce create. Not to mention the fact that everyone loves visiting a fast website!
These are a few of the solutions you can try and implement for improving the speed of WordPress site.
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