In an age where consumers expect products and services on demand, few things are more annoying than a slow website.
And for companies that fail to get their website to perform optimally, there is a big risk: it ruins the customer experience. Show studies that just two extra seconds of load time can increase bounce rate by 103%, while 100 milliseconds of load time can cause a 7% conversion drop.
Site speed is also a factor in Google rankings on desktop and mobile. Poor performance can reduce your site’s visibility in search engines, reducing your traffic.
But you’re in luck: if your website runs on a WordPress site, there are six things you can do to make sure it’s running at top speed.
1. Identify the problem
This may seem obvious, but figuring out why your website is performing slowly is the first step.
This could be anything from problems with your site’s web hosting provider to slow WordPress plugins and themes. Figuring out what issue is causing slowness is key to figuring out which optimizations to prioritize.
Start by running a page load speed test using an online tool like GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insightsor web page test. Keep in mind that load times should be less than a second.
Each tool has its own performance metrics that can give you a better understanding of why your website is lagging in the first place, such as web page speed index or network loads, which could be due to excessive CSS, page content, or unoptimized images.
WordPress users should also specifically test their themes and plugins for performance issues. This requires disabling one theme or plugin at a time and running the aforementioned page load tests. This way you can determine if one of these add-ons is the root cause.
2. Choose a lean theme
You hear this pretty often in the world of WordPress: choose the theme for the look and feel and choose the plugins for functionality. But when it comes to themes, it’s not all about looks.
Themes come in different sizes, both in terms of page size and the number of requests – or the number of files to load. The size of the theme has a huge effect on the loading time of your website.
Again, you can test themes on your website by running a loading speed test (as mentioned above). It only takes a few minutes.
3. Optimize images
Just as the size of a theme affects speed, so do the images on your web page. Optimizing and compressing images, or reducing their file size, can speed up site performance.
The fastest way to do this is to use an image compression plugin. But you can also resize the image so that it uses fewer pixels, or serve images through a content delivery network (CDN), which is basically a server that hosts the images, videos, and CSS and delivers them to your page quickly. loads.
Finally, you can also try cleaning your WordPress library. As you create pages, images, videos, and other files tend to accumulate and take up storage space. For example, even if you delete the blog post hosting these images, they will remain in your WP library.
Before you clean up your WP, make sure you have a backup of your WordPress site in case something goes wrong.
4. Only show text fragments
If you want to host a blog feature on your website, another hack to speed up overall site performance is to display only short snippets of the posts on the homepage or elsewhere.
By default, many WordPress themes show full posts on a site’s blog, homepage, and archives, which can cause significant delays. It can also negatively impact search engine performance as it acts as duplicate content on your website.
When choosing your theme, make sure to check whether full blog posts or snippets are the default option. If so, you can change the settings. WordPress also allows users to customize snippets so you can create a compelling piece of text to drive more engagement.
5. Choose the right WordPress host
Hosting your WordPress site in an isolated environment can mean both faster speed and better security, as the provider takes care of both site maintenance and security.
WordPress providers, such as IONOStry to make life easier for WordPress users, as they offer all the features of a secure server infrastructure for a small monthly fee (you can try IONOS’ “Grow” package for just $1 a month when you start).
IONOS also comes with a free caching plugin, which can help increase loading speed by using a full page cache to store HTML. For example the company receivables the latest version has made loading three times faster.
6. Refine your website
After completing steps one through five, there are several smaller tweaks you can make to fine-tune the speed of your WordPress site.
First, split longer posts into smaller pages. While readers like to read long on a single page, this can hurt your site’s load times.
Next, reduce the number of external HTTP requests on your site. WordPress plugins and themes often load a lot of content and files from other sites, such as images, scripts, and stylesheets. If your WP plugin is making too many requests, it can reduce your speed. One way to avoid this is to activate GZIP compression, which compresses all files sent to your site. Check this one out code shortcuts to help you.
Also consider lazy loading. This means that images and videos only load when they appear on the user’s screen as they scroll through your site, rather than all at once. WordPress users can implement lazy loading with the Lazy Load by WP Rocket plug in.
When you’re competing against thousands of other websites to prove your product or service is the best on the market, every second counts. Don’t let load times get in the way of your success.