How to Optimize Your WordPress Website
We live in a world that is always changing and where new information is available every minute. That is a very challenging environment for both content creators and consumers.
Research shows that our collective attention span has dropped significantly, while some even suggest it has come down to eight seconds. Therefore, attracting and keeping the attention of the visitors of your website has become crucial in the Information Age.
If your website’s loading time is too slow, you risk driving people away from it. Some may even click the back button without giving it the chance to load fully. This is especially true if you decide to create a streaming website of some sort. In return, this influences your SEO, which affects the overall success of your site. It is time optimize your WordPress site and take back control!
Nowadays, you can easily test the speed of your WordPress website using free online tools. We will mention some:
They all work in the same manner — all you need to do is copy your website URL, paste it into the predicted box, and then press the test button.
Since a large part of the internet nowadays is powered by WordPress — 35.3%, to be more precise — in this article, we have focused on how you can speed up your WordPress site.
What Can Cause a WordPress Site to Slow Down?
The list of things that can cause a WordPress site to slow down is not a short one. Web hosting, images, adds, plugins, themes, etc.; these are all contributing factors. Basically, whatever you decide to do with your website, you need to choose wisely.
That is why we have broken down several essential steps to take when optimizing your website’s speed.
Your Hosting Plan
Choosing a reliable web host is essential. It is the first and the most important thing to consider or reconsider when optimizing your website. You need a host with fast servers that can support your site’s needs.
On the other hand, it is not always the host company’s fault. Sometimes, users simply choose an inadequate hosting plan. In that case, our advice is to spend a few extra bucks and upgrade.
What we recommend is to choose a premium offshore hosting service right from the start. That way, you can be sure that your site has access to great servers, excellent customer support, and a variety of hosting plans to choose from that would best suit your needs.
Your Site’s Images
Images are a fun and engaging way to add variety to your text and complement it while optimizing your WordPress site. Also, in case you run a food blog, a photography site, or an online store, they are an essential part of your website. However, you need to have in mind that large files take up a lot of space, which will increase your site’s loading time.
To avoid that, you need to optimize your images before you upload them to your website. There are tools that will compress your images, reducing their size, but without visibly affecting the quality.
Most photo editing programs have a “save for web” option. In case you don’t have such a program, there are free online image optimization tools you can use. Here are some you can choose from: JPEG Optimizer, Tiny PNG, Kraken, ImageRecycle, to mention a few.
Never Upload Video and Audio Files Directly to Your Site
Video and audio files are large, and although it is possible to upload them directly to your WordPress website, you just shouldn’t. These files can cost you bandwidth, your backup space, and your loading speed.
The best way to include videos to your site is to embed them using a WordPress embed feature. If you need to upload audio files or podcasts, you should find an appropriate plugin that will help you do it.
Use Content Delivery Network
Your WordPress website and all its data are saved on your hosting company’s server. However, when a visitor far away from your host’s server visits your site, they can come across loading issues. The further the visitor is, the loading speed decreases.
This issue can be solved using Content Delivery Network, or CDN. Basically, that means there is a network of proxy servers with a copy of your website distributed all over the world. Each visitor will have your website loaded from the server closest to them.
Some of the popular CDN services are MaxCDN, CloudFlare, Sucuri CDN, Amazon Cloudfront CDN. Some of them even offer a free plan, so make sure to check them out.
Be Careful With Plugins
While plugins can be useful, they are another culprit responsible for slowing down your WordPress site. Think well which plugins you definitely need, do your research, and then choose high-quality ones.
Also, you can always check how a particular plugin affects your site’s speed. Test your speed before and after adding one and see if it impacts the performance.
Carefully Choose Your WordPress Theme
Not all WordPress themes are equal. While some look stunningly beautiful, if they are not coded well, they can only cause problems and affect your loading speed.
As with plugins, you need to choose a high-quality theme optimized for speed. Usually, the best choices cost a fee. If you initially decided to go with a free theme and your site now loads slowly, you should consider upgrading to a premium solution.
While it may be costly to migrate to a new website theme, it’s nothing compared to the losses that you would accrue by sticking with a poor one. Luckily, there are many online guides to help you transition from one theme to another.
Before you purchase and install a theme, make sure that it’s fully optimized for all screen sizes and devices. You don’t want to go through another migration later on because you didn’t do your research properly.
Keep your WordPress Website Updated
WordPress is regularly being updated. Therefore, make sure you never miss an update, whether it is for your theme, plugins, or the WordPress software itself.
The developers working on the WordPress platform make sure that every new release brings more reliable software better optimized for speed, bug fixes, security updates, and some fantastic new features. If you ignore these updates, you risk slowing down your site or making it unreliable and prone to security threats.
Advertisements Affect Your Loading Speed as Well
Most websites need them in order to make some money. In case your site is one of them, bear in mind that ads can greatly influence your loading speed. Also, beware of what type of advertisements you place on your website.
The best way to promote a product or a service on your site is to provide a link directly to the page you are advertising. You can do this either by using an appropriate image that has been optimized for the web or by using text links. The latter is a better option, as it will have the least impact on your site’s speed.
Don’t Forget About Caching
It may sound like nothing, but caching can make your loading time significantly faster. Most of the files on your WordPress website never change, so instead of loading them every time you open it, you should allow your browser to save a cached copy of the site locally.
Every file has a specified time for how long it should be kept. Once it expires, it is simply downloaded again.
A cache plugin works in a similar manner, and you should consider installing it. Since WordPress pages are dynamic, this plugin saves static HTML files, or to put it simply, a copy of the page. This copy is then served to every visitor, reducing the number of processes it would otherwise have to run.
Don’t Forget to Empty Your Trash
Similarly to the Windows’ Recycle Bin, WordPress has its own trash system. Whatever post, comment, file, or media you have deleted, it will be there in the trash. From there, this content can be permanently deleted or restored if necessary.
However, if you keep these unnecessary files, they take up a lot of storage, which, in return, impacts your loading speed. That is why it is imperative to clean your trash regularly.
In today’s world, speed is everything. People are always in a rush, and they expect things to run smoothly and as fast as possible, especially when it comes to the internet. Your website’s speed impacts your SEO as well since 50% of visitors will click the back button in case the page fails to load within 3 seconds.
If you are a small business owner, SEO is crucial for your success. Before choosing a service or visiting a store, in most cases, people will first search for the company online. In case your SEO optimization fails and your WordPress website is not among the first ones in the search engine results, your business will suffer.
While you can always pay someone to take care of that for you, why would you? You don’t need to be a tech-savvy person to keep your WordPress website under control. With a little time, effort, and a will to learn, you will be able to do an excellent job maintaining your site.