The loading speed of your website determines its success. It also significantly influences your visitors and subscribers. Being really impatient, your visitors do not take more than 5 seconds to hit close or back button to navigate away from your website.
In addition, website performance has a lot to do with your search engine rankings as well. Latest Google Algorithm updates consider the speed of a website as a major factor in determining their SERP, it has become more important than ever to pay attention to your website performance and take actions to improve it.
Website speed is a very crucial factor affecting the User Experience, SEO, and ultimately site conversions and sales. Since Google has kept the users in the center of its ranking algorithms, it is very important to make your site deliver the information as fast as possible and in the most efficient manner possible. Therefore, optimizing a website for speed has been a major concern in the field of WordPress development in the recent years.
Having been working with WordPress for past many years, we have managed to find certain optimum solutions to speed up a WordPress website and drastically improve its performance. Thus, today we are going to share these tips with you and help you grow your online business in no time.
1. Optimize your images
Images are an important part of nearly every website. Web users are usually goal-oriented and tend to scan the information provided on the internet instead of reading it word by word. This is where images can help you solve the purpose of your visitors visit. Adding self-explanatory images with some text help users to grab the information they were looking for without having to spend a lot of time reading the whole article. Moreover, the latest trend of infographic makes the job even easier to capture the attention of your visitors through eye-catching, attractive and self-explanatory images.
However, images can be heavy, and adding many images to your website can slow down the loading speed of your website. So, does that mean you need to cut down on your image usage? No! This simply means you need to optimize your images. Running a WordPress website gives an advantage of optimizing your images with a few mouse clicks, thanks to worldwide popular image optimizer WordPress plugin – WP Smush It. The plugin helps you reduce the size of your images significantly while keeping the quality intact.
WP Smush It comes in a free as well as premium versions. A free version of the plugin only allows 50 images to smush at one time.
2. Optimize your Homepage
A homepage is one of the most important pages of a website since it is normally the first page that most of the users see. Optimizing your homepage is not the ultimate solution for your website speeding issue but it is one of those few things that make sure your homepage loads rapidly.
There are few things you can do to optimize your homepage:
- Stop adding unnecessary widgets to the homepage
- Minimize the number of posts on your homepage and only show excerpts instead of complete posts.
- Try to avoid image slider since they take much more time to load than plain text and images
- Remove all the unnecessary plugins and widgets.
Keep your homepage as simple and minimal as possible as your visitors are here for the information, not for thousand elements you add on the homepage.
3. Use a caching plugin
WordPress offers W3 Total Cache caching WordPress plugin that comes with various advanced features such as:
- Caching of Feeds
- Caching of search engine result page
- Minification of posts, feeds and page
4. Optimize your website database
If you have been using WordPress for a quite some time, chances are, you website database is taking a lot of extra space like deleted plugins data, trashed comments, spam comments, revisions and so much more. Deleting all this unnecessary data from your database can help you minimize the size of your database and consequently, improves your website’s speed. Well, when you build websites with WordPress, you usually have easier and convenient way of doing things. And optimizing your website database is no exception.
Using a plugin WP-Optimize, you can ensure your database is cleaned properly while reducing its size. However, the plugin only allows you to optimize your database for tables, drafts, post revisions, spams and more. There is another popular WordPress plugin namely WP-DB Manager that can also help you schedule to clean up of your database.
5. Enjoy the benefits of content delivery network (CDN)
There are numerous CDN available today that can be used depending on your website needs and requirements. However, WordPress also offers a free plugin, Free-CDN that makes up for expensive CDN and lets you use all the features for absolutely free.
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6. Enabling Browser Caching
In order to enable browser caching, you need to add a small code snippet in your .htaccess file.
Copy the following code and paste it into your .htaccess file
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
Improving the speed of your website is not an option anymore, it has become the necessity of the time. With so much competition arising in the market, you cannot lose your visitors and customers to your competitors merely because of your website performance. Therefore, make sure you follow good practices and make the most of WordPress plugins.
Emma is a renowned WordPress developer by profession and writer by hobby. She is working for Wordsuccor Ltd. If you’re looking for wordpress template customization services, then you can get in touch with her. Emma already has multiple WordPress-related articles under her name.