WordPress Speed Need a Boost? Here’s What You Need to Know
July 20, 2023
Almost every site owner realizes the paramount significance of WordPress speed. A fast-loading website plays a critical role in ensuring higher search engine ranking and enhanced user experience.
So now what? How do you address a sinking site?
Before You Start
You start by using tools such as Pingdom, GTmetrix, and PageSpeed Tools to analyze your site’s performance and find that indeed, your page load times are higher than average. You realize that optimizing your WordPress site speed is now your top priority.
Pingdom: It helps analyze the load time of website pages and helps find performance bottlenecks.
GTmetrix: Tells you about how your site performs and assists in optimizing website load time by providing actionable recommendations.
PageSpeed Tools: Helps identify ways that not just help in making a site load faster, but also make it mobile-friendly.
Lay Down a Rock-Solid Foundation
Let’s say you own a boat with a hole in it. In that case, you don’t paint your boat, rather you’ll fix its foundation (i.e. repair the hole). The same is the case with your site. It’s crucial to evaluate whether the basic framework of your WordPress site is robust and functioning properly. If it’s not, remedial action is required.
The foundation of your website is the server or host you have chosen, the theme you’re using, and the framework on which it’s built. If any of these elements are subpar, your website’s speed will suffer.
If you’re running a small blog, a shared hosting plan from a company like Bluehost might be sufficient. But as your blog grows and attracts more traffic, you might need to upgrade to a managed WordPress hosting plan from a provider like WP Engine or Kinsta. These providers handle all the technical aspects of your site, allowing you to focus on creating content.
If you’re using a theme that comes with a lot of pre-installed plugins and features you don’t need, it could slow down your site. Instead, you could use a lightweight, WordPress speed-optimized theme like GeneratePress or Astra.
If you’re using a poorly coded framework, it could slow down your site. Instead, you could use a well-coded, speed-optimized framework like Genesis from StudioPress.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
For example, if your website attracts visitors from all over the world, using a CDN like Cloudflare or MaxCDN can help ensure that your site loads quickly for everyone, regardless of their location.
Get Rid of the Plugins That Are Slowing You Down
Whilst plugins are essential components of a WordPress site, helping you to extend the functionality of the website; they might be the reason that causes your site to slow down. Simply put, often installing too many plugins can make your WordPress site speed tank. And so, it’s imperative to check out the performance of all your website plugins. The best way to identify the plugins that might put a negative impact on the site’s performance is to use Code Profiler.
Once the Code Profiler plugin is installed on your site, it will first scan the website and brings traffic to it, and then monitor’s the performance of the site on the server. And then, it shows the result that looks something like:
Compress Your Website Images
In the digital age, eye-catching visuals are the new black! They’re the secret sauce to driving traffic and expanding your online presence. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s a surefire way to keep your visitors (and customers) hooked and browsing your site longer.
But here’s the catch – images are the heavyweight champs of content, packed with extra metadata that can slow your site down. The solution? Image compression. It’s like a magic wand that shrinks your images without compromising on quality, speeding up your site’s load times.
You can consider using the lossless compression technique provided by EWWW Image Optimizer or Smush.it. By using an image optimization plugin like Smush.it or EWWW Image Optimizer, you can reduce the file size of your images without sacrificing quality.
And the cherry on top? The lazy load technique. It’s the ultimate hack that loads images only when they come into view on the screen, saving your site from unnecessary load and keeping it swift and smooth. So, let’s get trendy, optimize those images, and give your WordPress site speed a boost!
Optimize Your Database
In the digital landscape of 2023, WordPress continues to be a lifesaver with its automatic saving feature. It’s like having a digital safety net, ensuring you never lose a single piece of data. However, every rose has its thorns, and in this case, the thorn is the cluttering of your website database.
With every autosave, your database gets filled with post revisions, unapproved comments, pingbacks, and more. Frequent updates only add to the pile, making your database a digital hoarder’s paradise. The result? A bloated database that slows down your WordPress site’s speed by increasing load times.
But don’t fret! There’s a solution to keep your database lean and efficient – the WP-Optimize plugin. It’s like a digital Marie Kondo for your database, routinely cleaning out the clutter and boosting your site’s performance.
Here’s a pro tip: You can also limit the number of post revisions stored in your database by adding the following line of code to your wp-config.php file:
This code will limit WordPress to only saving the last three revisions of each post or page, helping to keep your database clean and efficient.
Remember, before you dive into database optimization, always create a backup. It’s your safety net in case anything goes wrong. In the world of website management, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Install and Activate a Caching Plugin
In the hyper-connected world of 2023, speed is the name of the game. And when it comes to supercharging your WordPress site, caching is your secret weapon. Think of it as your site’s personal memory bank, storing frequently accessed data for quick and easy retrieval. It’s like having a personal assistant who anticipates your needs, fetches data before you even ask for it, and saves you from making tedious round trips on the web.
Check out W3 Total Cache. It’s not just a plugin, it’s a full-fledged WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework, designed to turbocharge your site and elevate the user experience.
Don’t just take my word for it. W3 Total Cache is the go-to choice for digital heavyweights like Mashable, AT&T, Smashing Magazine, and CSS-Tricks. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of WordPress plugins, performing a plethora of functions to boost your site’s performance.
So, if you’re ready to take your WordPress site into the fast lane, buckle up and get ready to experience the power of W3 Total Cache. Your users (and your bounce rate) will thank you!
Hosting Compatibility: Works with shared hosting, virtual private/dedicated servers, and dedicated servers/clusters.
Mobile and AMP Support: Provides specific caching for mobile users and supports Accelerated Mobile Pages.
SSL/TLS Support: Ensures your encrypted connections are also optimized for speed.
Lazy Load: Defers offscreen images to improve user experience and page load times.
Browser Caching: Uses cache-control, future expire headers, and entity tags (ETag) with “cache-busting” for faster load times for returning visitors.
In the era of mobile dominance, the speed of your WordPress site is more than a luxury – it’s a necessity. In short, here’s what you need to know to keep your site sailing smoothly:
Diagnose First: Use tools like Pingdom, GTmetrix, and PageSpeed Tools to analyze your site’s performance and identify areas for improvement.
Solid Foundation is Key: Ensure your hosting provider, theme, and framework are robust and efficient. Consider upgrading your hosting plan or switching to a lightweight, speed-optimized theme if necessary.
Trim the Plugin Fat: Use a Code Profiler to identify any plugins that are slowing down your site. Remember, quality over quantity is the rule of thumb here.
Compress Images: Use tools like Smush.it or EWWW Image Optimizer to compress your images without sacrificing quality. This can significantly reduce your site’s load times.
Optimize Your Database: Use the WP-Optimize plugin to routinely clean out unnecessary data from your database. Consider limiting the number of post revisions stored to keep your database lean and efficient.
Cache is King: Install a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache to store frequently accessed data for quick and easy retrieval. This can significantly improve your site’s load times and user experience.
A slow-loading site can be a deal-breaker. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure your WordPress site stays in the fast lane, keeping your audience engaged and your bounce rate low. So, set sail and let the winds of optimization guide your site to smoother, faster waters.
What are Core Web Vitals and why do they matter?
Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. They include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These metrics affect your site’s SEO and user experience.
What is the difference between site speed and page speed?
Site speed refers to the speed of a sample of page views on a website, while page speed can be described as either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server).
How can I optimize my site speed?
There are several strategies to optimize your site speed, including compressing images, reducing the number of plugins, optimizing your database, using a caching plugin, and ensuring a solid website foundation with a reliable host, efficient theme, and robust framework.
What is a good website speed?
A good website speed is subjective and depends on various factors like the complexity of your site and user expectations. However, as a rule of thumb, a site that loads in 2 seconds or less is typically considered fast.
What is caching and how does it improve website speed?
Caching is a process that stores copies of files in a cache, or temporary storage location, so that they can be accessed more quickly. When a user visits a website, the cached version usually loads faster because the browser can load the page without having to send a request to the server.