A List of Essential Tips You Should Use to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
When you have a well optimized website page, not only will it rank better in the search engines, but users are also going to benefit from a better experience. While a combination of speed and great looking graphics is generally hard to achieve, people using WP CMS should no longer worry about this at all. In fact, there are many benefits you’ll enjoy if you opt for it and in the paragraphs below we’re going to talk about this, but also focus on the things you should do to improve your website’s speed and overall navigation.
First impressions are always important and the pros of having a faster website are numerous. Among them, the 3 most important advantages include:
It’s very well known that users love fast websites and are quick to click away from those that take a long time to load. Therefore, if you want to offer them a better browsing experience, you need to make your website as fast as possible. Based on information from KISSmetrics, 47% of users expect website pages to load within 2 seconds. If their expectations are not met, then they won’t stick around for long.
Website speed was hinted by Google many years ago and in 2010, the search engine giant even announced that this is a ranking factor. 4 years later, Google’s obsession with speed has only increased and it currently heads an initiative known as “Make the web faster” and offers different types of resources and tools that are meant to help webmasters and developers build faster websites.
Your hosing package, but also your internet hosting company play a big role when it comes to the speed of your website. While in the past people were drawn in by the low prices of hosting, these days that’s no longer the case. Hosting is no longer something they can skimp on because if they do, then this is going to have a direct and always negative impact on their business and of course, search engine rankings.
To give you an example of the difference between a slow host and a fast host, it takes only 7 ms for a browser to connect to the client using WPEngine. On the other hand, those using a cheap shared hosting package has a DNS response time of 250 ms. So if you want to make sure your website runs quickly, make sure to go with a great package from a reliable web hosting company.
We’re using 1&1 Internet (CA) hosting company for all of our websites.
While we wish they were, not all WP themes are created equal. Some of them are very fast, but there are also many which have lots of unnecessary bells and whistles that can hinder user experience.
A couple of years ago, Synthesis’ Julian Fernandez, conducted a very interesting experiment where he updated his standard theme to the Genesis framework. He wanted to see how website speed would be affected by this. The difference was actually amazing and he noted that just by changing the theme, loading times decreased from 620 ms to 172 ms.
As you can see, it’s very important to verify the page speed of the theme’s demo to see how fast it runs without adding anything to it. You can use Pingdom tool to do this and when you’re done, it’s going to give you a pretty good idea of how well it’s coded.
A lot of research has been conducted in order for companies to find out exactly how their website’s speed influences their bottom line. Probably the best example regarding the importance of website speed comes from Amazon which reported an increase in revenue of one percent for every 100 ms improvement in website page speed. Another examples comes from Mozilla which published data revealing that its downloads increased from 15.4% after its developers managed to reduce the average page load time by two point two seconds.
The majority of website owners will enable HTML compression because it helps them a bunch with reducing file size across their website. This is achieved by safely shortening URLs and by removing all the untidy white spaces and standard comments from the HTML document file. When it comes to WP, each comment is formatted in an HTML document, so this means that when HTML compression is enabled, it’s going to save a lot of bandwidth and therefore guarantee swift content delivery to the readers. On top of that, this also positively influences Google rankings.
If you want to enable HTML compression on your WP website, you just need to download the WP Super Minify plug-in. Once it’s activated, it’s going to work automatically.
When you decide to compress a file on your computer, you’re going to reduce its total size which means that you can easily send it to someone or maybe back it up on an external drive. In this regard, Gzip works in the same way, yet with your web page files. You can download the plug-in here: Gzip Compression
After you install it, the program will automatically start to compress your website’s files and therefore improve page load times and save you a lot of bandwidth. So when someone will access your website, this plug-in will automatically unzip the files, making for a much more effective and faster browsing experience.
The good news is that there are practically no cons of installing this plug-in and the increase in speed is substantial. In terms of the amount of space you can save, Gzip can help lower the size of your files by a factor of five or even more.
P3(Plugin Performance Profiler) is one of the most popular plug-ins among website owners and that’s because it’s very efficient at showing you the exact impact the various plug-ins you have installed on your website have on its page load speed. Because of that, it’s very simple to determine what plug-ins are negatively impacting your website’s loading speed and then proceed to remove them. You can download it from here: P3 Plug-in
In general, it seems that social sharing plug-ins are the ones that affect page load speed the most, yet the good news is that you can easily use social buttons in order to replace them. Just embed them into your theme’s source code and you’re good to go. In some cases, you may need to replace or remove the plug-ins altogether, so make sure you do everything necessary to improve your website’s page load speed.
Optimizing your blog’s database is very much recommended and you should do so by deleting spam comments, auto draft posts, but also unused posts revisions. In just a few clicks, by using WP-Optimize, you can greatly improve your website’s page load time and therefore greatly improve user experience.
The reason websites with lots of images load slowly is because each image needs to send a request to the server and this greatly impacts website page load speed. While in this case, most website owners will want to reduce the number of images on their page to improve page load speed, there are other solutions to consider. One of them is to ensure that the images are only loaded when needed.
Where appropriate, it’s recommended that you use static HTNM to replace PHP. There’s no denial that if you want to reduce the need of having to enter the same info multiple times and make your website a lot more efficient overall, then PHP is the way to go. However, when you call info through PHP, you’re using a lot of server resources and this doesn’t bode well for user experience. Because of that, it’s recommended that you replace PHP with static HTML where it does not save time.
Trackbacks and pingbacks are practically methods your WP blog uses in order to alert other blogs your posts link to. It’s true that this can be useful on a number of occasions, but enabling these functions can also impact your page load speed and that is why you need to turn them off. To do so, you just need to go to Settings and then click on Discussion and uncheck Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles
Page load time and user experience are some of the most important factors you need to consider if you want to make sure you’ll retain your visitors and improve your overall search engine rankings. Now that you’re aware of these useful tips and tools you can use to achieve that, optimizing your WP blog or website is going to be a lot easier.
Here are some tools that would help you to test your website speed:
If you require additional assistance with this issue, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Xourx Digital Agency. We provide web site design, SEO, and other services in addition to web design. Xourx Web Design is a well-known web design firm that can assist you with your website design requirements.