In this post, we’ll discuss the seven ways to speed up your WordPress blog.
Site speed is essential for the following reasons:
- Impacts your digital strategy and online presence
- Affects SEO rankings on both mobile and desktop
- Also the total user experience and your sites conversion rate for sales and services you offer
As you can tell, it is now a requirement that affects all websites, and if you pay attention to this metric, you will improve your SEO, brand awareness, and overall user experience.
Let’s review seven ways that you can speed up your WordPress blog.
1.Choose a Reliable Web Hosting Platform
Make sure to choose a hosting platform based on the speed that they offer, as well as other added benefits, including data integrity and customer service support for 24 hours.
Consider the following when choosing a host:
Traffic: You want to consider the traffic you will receive and calculate if their server will be able to handle it. You can easily do this by unpacking your last six months performance on google analytics. Consider the purpose of your website. If you’re running an online store and it’s new the traffic may be minimal.
Yet if you’re running paid Facebook ads to your site, you may experience a surge in traffic. If you only paid for a specific amount of bandwidth, it could result in bottlenecks, and your website will slow down. Therefore if you’re considering building your blog to great heights, take a plan with higher bandwidth.
Avoid shared servers if you can: Shared servers usually run hundreds of websites. And generally, there isn’t too many options available to you. If you are starting, it may be more cost-effective, but as you’re growing your WordPress blog, aim to move over to a more reliable server that gives you better speeds.
Cloud servers will be more helpful: This would be the best option for you as it allows you to scale your business and will charge you additional fees due to this. Usually, these servers run through Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
Reliable hosting platform
WPMU DEV is an excellent web hosting platform that caters specifically to WordPress. It is entirely optimized for WordPress, allowing both object and page caching and their CDN.
- Seamless integration of plugins
- Speedy cleaning up of your site if infected with malware
- Extremely fast due to the onboard technology such as iPv6
- Has dedicated IPs; therefore, no shared servers which slow down your WordPress site.
2. Run a Free Google Speed Test and Fix Errors
When you run a free google speed test, it will point you in the direction you need to go to get your speed faster.
You can access the google speed test and create a list of all of the errors included and start working on them one at a time.
All you have to do is the following:
- Access PageSpeed insights which is a free tool from Google to measure your page speed.
- Then enter your URL for your website and let it load
- Once done, it will populate a mobile score and website score
- If you scroll down, the site will also give you’ opportunities’ to improve your speed.
- It’s a good idea to make a list of each of these opportunity’s and work on improving each aspect over time.
- In this example, this website could save 5 seconds in load time and improve the user experience by reducing the server response time. Their host may not be benefiting their website; they should consider a new one.
You can try running a speed test on a text-heavy content site like bloggingtips.com, and see how the speed and loading compares to your site. The more images and the heavier your WordPress backend is, the more likely you will see some speed issues.
3. Reduce Image Size with WP Plugins
WordPress has many useful plugins that will automatically optimize your image size.
A top plugin that is very effective right now is WP Smush Pro. The nifty plugin is known for its bulk optimize function that goes back in time to every image and reduces the image size.
- Keeps a back up of your original image
- Allows 2x compression yet maintains the quality
- Can handle photos that are large to a maximum of 32MB
- Automatically resizes and scales your pictures.
- Trusted by 900k members, therefore, has an excellent reputation
- Helps in improving your page speed, and you will notice a significant improvement after use
All in all, this is a great tool that can quickly improve your page speed.
4. Remove Unwanted WordPress Themes and Plugins
You can improve your page speed significantly by cleaning out unwanted themes and plugins. Remember that you should only keep plugins and themes that are vital to the running of your site. It pays to ignore the hundreds of people telling you a plugin that can fix the problem.
Excess plugins can reduce the speed of your WordPress site significantly. The major problem is that these unused plugins take up too many resources and slow down your website, often adding additional HTTP requests. Ultimately it creates a poor user experience increasing your bounce rates and reducing your reach.
The best way to see what plugins might be slowing your site down, is to run a process to see all scripts loaded on a particular page. You can see a rundown of how to accomplish this here.
Therefore if you do have unwanted WordPress themes and plugins, you should go ahead and uninstall them.
Only keep those plugins that add to your bottom line.
Keep plugins that do this:
- They help speed up your site and improve user experience
- They develop your analytics and gives you an indication of how well you’re doing
- They enhance the SEO on your WordPress site, so you get more reach
- Increase your conversion rate so you earn more revenue
At first, it may prove challenging to choose, but if you look at the options above, you will be sure to have a much easier time making a decision.
5. Minify JS and CSS Files
Taking the time to minify JS and CSS files could help improve your page speed, and help it load faster. To minify JS and CSS files is a matter of compressing the code so that the size on file is smaller. You do get to reduce the size, and while the impact is minimal – every bit helps.
If you’re planning on minifying your JS and CSS files, there are plugins you can use to help you out, and they’re called Autoptimize or Smush.
Both plugins help compress the code and does so automatically. Alternatively, you could choose to use a website called Minifier, which minify’s all your code ready for you to upload to your WordPress site.
6. Keep External Scripts to a Minimum
Many WordPress sites need to call external scripts to ensure that your website functions correctly.
You should consider that running the additional scripts could be a cause for the slow rendering of your site. You’ll be pleased that there’s a safe way to minimize external scripts.
There are two methods:
Manual – Involves interfering with code on your WordPress site and should only be attempted if you are a skilled programmer.
These options will help you keep external scripts from interfering with your WordPress speed.
7. Enable GZIP Compression
GZip compression may also be called HTTP or browser compression. Gzip compression is a great tool to reduce the size of your WordPress site. Initially, we discussed how minifying code could speed up your WordPress site, and now with Gzip compress, it takes it one step further.
Since most code is repetitive, a Gzip compression aims to write all code in shorthand. Ultimately it will make your code even smaller when applied. So Gzip is just a library that compresses and decompresses data, mainly text-based data like code.
As pointed out in this latest speed test article, the importance of a fast loading website is now more important than ever. More than 40% of users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and making sure you have Gzip Compression in place on your site can drastically improve loading times.
How do you enable Gzip Compression?
- Ask your host to set it up – this may be complex to set up, so before you start changing anything, speak to your host as they could decide to include it in your package.
- Use a plugin – Often, the simplest way is to use this method. A good one is ‘Enable Gzip Compression,’ and once you install it, you can go into the settings and enable Gzip compression.
Those are two ways to get around GZip compression, and the second one does prove to be the most accessible, saving you loads of time.
It’s amazing how little tweaks to your WordPress site can make a difference. So, you should never underestimate the importance of your websites speed.
Now that you’ve taken time to improve the speed of your site, you will be sure to see an increase in organic traffic, better conversion rates, and general improvements in your visitor’s experience.
There are many other ways to increase the speed of your website, including using a CDN and using a caching plugin.
Yet, methods in this article are simple yet effective means that will be sure to improve your WordPress site.
Have you tried any of the seven ways to speed up your WordPress blog? Any tips or thoughts? Please share them in the comments section.