It’s not a hidden factor now that Page Speed is one of the core SERP criteria. So, if you want to go ahead of your competitor, increase page speed is a must. A faster loading WordPress site will lead to highly successful marketing campaigns and increase your conversion rates. To give you an advantage, WordPress has pre-built plugins. By using some techniques, WordPress site can be loaded at blazing speed.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through a list of actions that you can follow to speed up your WordPress site. Let’s get started:
Why WordPress Page Speed Important?
Your WordPress website’s loading speed has a direct effect on your site’s conversion rates. Google has consistently promoted that your page speed is related to conversion rates. Here’s what the search engine says:
“As page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 123%.”
“53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.”
Google also stated that if a website’s loading speed is five seconds slower than a competing website’s one-second loading speed, the conversion rate drops significantly. And the bounce rates may increase by 90%.
That’s not all.
Page speed also impacts your SEO rankings. Suppose two websites are comparable in all other aspects of SEO, except for the page speed. In that case, search engines will penalize the slower website. The extent and impact of the penalty are unclear. However, it’s always a good practice to optimize every WordPress site aspect for improved page loading speed and conversions.
Additionally, the attention span of online users today are relatively short, and it’s becoming shorter every passing day. Whether you’ve some killer content on your site or your content is very useful. If the page loading speed is slow, the visitors will leave the site even before it loads. If you’re running an e-commerce site, your customers may abandon their carts if the checkout process is slow.
The point is that search engines prefer a faster loading website. They rank better for search results and generates more page views and conversions. Furthermore, it leads to a pleasant user experience.
Let’s check out the tools to measure your WordPress site load time.
How To Measure Page Speed?
Before using any techniques associated with increasing page load speeds, it’s necessary to assess the current situation. It will help analyze what’s slowing down your WordPress site and provide insights for you to optimize your website.
It’s common for most people to assume that their website is okay because they don’t find it slow on their computer or mobile. That’s a BIG mistake. Since you visit your site more frequently than others, your website stores cache of the browsers like Chrome. When you revisit the same website, the browser automatically fetches and loads the website instantly. It gives you the illusion that your website loads quickly, which isn’t accurate. However, a new user visiting your website for the first time on a different computer or device or from a different geographical location may have an entirely different experience.
Here are some testing tools to track your website loading speed based on your requirement, budget, and technology.
This is a free page speed test tool for WordPress sites, and we highly recommend you use this to test your website speed. To assess your page load time, enter your website URL, and hit the ‘Analyze Website’ button. Typically, a good page load time is under 2 seconds—however, the faster, the better. Even a few milliseconds of speed improvements will do wonders for your website.
GTmetrix is a free, web-based tool for gauging the performance of your WordPress website. To check the page load speed, go to the GTmetrix homepage, and enter your web URL. The free version does not have the provision for testing the server region. However, the paid version gives users additional control and can store history. GTmetrix provides three metrics: page load time, total page size, and the total number of HTTP requests.
It’s a free-to-use, web-based tool developed by Google Developers. PageSpeed Insights allows users to assess their website performance. To begin testing the page load speed, go to the PageSpeed Insights homepage, enter the URL, and hit the ‘Analyze’ button. PageSpeed Insights primarily focuses on mobile devices. More and more people are using the internet on their mobile devices than on their computers. A website behaves differently on a mobile device than on a computer, so the benchmarks provided by this tool is useful for optimization.
WebPageTest is another free tool to check your website’s performance. Unlike other tools, this open-source tool gives you much more control over the testing metrics. With WebPageTest, you can determine your device and the test’s location give you more detailed results.
How To Optimize WordPress Speed?
Now that we discussed the tools that will help you find out how fast your website is—let’s now briefly talk about how you can speed up your WordPress site.
Choose a Fast Web Host
One of the reasons your WordPress site runs slow or loading pages slowly is simply because the hosting server is not sufficient to store your website. WordPress is resource-intensive. The system tends to increase its size and requires even more resources when your site gets more traffic and popularity increases. So, it is imperative that you choose a faster and proficient hosting service. Before choosing a host, determine in advance what type of hosting is suitable for your website. If you opt for a shared host, your WordPress site’s performance will be relatively slow. In contrast, specialized and dedicated WordPress hosting will offer much better page load speeds. There is a trade-off, and it mostly the cost and speed.
Use a Lightweight, Flexible Theme
Your website’s page speed is heavily reliant on the theme that you choose for your WordPress site. Many times website owners don’t optimize their WordPress theme for performance. Therefore, it’s essential that you pick a theme that loads quickly. We recommend choosing a lightweight theme with basic features depending on your maximum page speed and efficiency needs.
Optimize Images and Other Visual Content
Most of the time, novice WordPress users upload large and high-resolution images and other visuals to their website without compressing them. Huge pictures with tons of megabytes can drastically slow the speed of your page. Therefore, it’s crucial that you compress and resize your images to acceptable limits and then upload them to their website. There are many image compressions tools online that will help you do just that. Also, you will find wp plugins like WP Smrush, ShortPixel Image Optimizer, and Resmush.
Use Plugins Sensibly
WordPress has become the most preferred platform for creating websites because of the dedicated WordPress community that develops and maintains plugins. These plugins expand the functionality of your WordPress site, making it more capable. You can use hundreds of plugins on your site to perform any function imaginable. But we recommend using only those plugins required for your website. To maintain your website’s efficiency and speed, it’s a good practice to periodically audit your website and remove outdated and unnecessary plugins or plugins that interfere with each other or your theme. If done correctly, you’ll notice the speed of your website improve drastically.
Install a WordPress Caching Plugin
Websites created on WordPress are dynamic. WordPress has to go through a sequence of processes to locate the required information the user wants, combine it, and display it to your visitor whenever someone visits your website. This chain of actions can slow down your website and even more when many people visit your website at the same time. This resolve this, we recommend you use a WordPress Caching Plugin for every WordPress site. Using a WordPress Caching Plugin will speed up your WordPress site significantly.
Don’t Upload Audio/Video Files Directly to WordPress
There is nothing wrong with uploading your audio and video files directly to a WordPress site. The content will be displayed and will be played in an HTML5 player. But it’s a bad idea. Hosting large audio and video files on your WordPress site costs significant bandwidth. Your web hosting company will charge you additional fees. And even be forced to close down your website altogether, even if you’ve “unlimited” bandwidth.
Another problem you may run for hosting huge media files is it will increase your backups considerably. In case your site shutdown, it will take you a long time to restore it from your WordPress site. Instead, we recommend using dedicated audio and video hosting services like YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, and others.
Optimize WordPress Database
If you’ve your WordPress site for a while, you’ll likely have plenty of information you don’t need. It’s a good practice to audit your site to remove all that unnecessary information. This way, you can optimize your WordPress Database for improved performance and page speed. For an example, if you have a lot of inactive user account, deleting them can help increase the loading speed.
Keep Your WordPress Site Updated
As WordPress is an open-source project, it is well-maintained and updated frequently. With every update, there are new features and security and bug fixes. Your WordPress theme and plugins also get updates regularly. So keep an eye on that. As a website owner, it’s expected you keep your WordPress website, plugins, and themes updated to the latest versions. Doing so will not only make your website faster and responsive, but it will also make your site less vulnerable to security threats and bugs.
Compress PHP Files
Reduce External HTTP Requests
It’s common for many WordPress themes and plugins to collect files from other websites. These files include JSS files, CSS files, and images from Google, social media sites, and others. There are no problems in using files from these sites as most of these files are optimized to load quickly. Sometimes, it’s faster than hosting them on your website. But your website could slow down significantly if these plugins are making a lot of these requests, commonly known as HTTP requests. By disabling scripts and styles in your WordPress site, you can lower these external HTTP requests. You can also merge them into one file. This way, you can optimize your WordPress website for improved page speeds.
Which one works best for me?
There are many factors to consider for choosing an appropriate tool: your site’s capacity, your site’s target audience and their browsing habits, your site’s main function, etc. Not sure where to begin? Managed-WP has got you covered. Contact us now for more professional advice.