Professional Tips for Improving WordPress Website Speed in 2019
As we live faster and faster, time becomes our most valuable resource. This is exactly why a few extra seconds website needs to load can impact its ranking, conversion rates, and overall user experience. According to research, plenty of consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less. Moreover, 40% of users will leave a page that takes three or more seconds to load. In a case your website speed is slow, you are in danger to lose your potential clients & customers since almost half of your visitors will leave before even they enter your site. Additionally, a huge number of your potential customers said they won’t return to a website that takes ages to load. This can affect your business and decrease your chances of getting noticed and well-positioned compared to the competition. Another important thing you should have in mind is the fact that mobile website searches continue to grow. In other words, fast website speed will be a really important factor in achieving good search results on Google. Unfortunately, many things can affect your website speed. From database optimization, server and hosting services to the type of content you share. The good news is there are many methods you can use to improve your WordPress website speed. Check out some practical tips from digital and WordPress experts.
Tools & Plugins for Improving WordPress Website Speed
Mustaasam Saleem – WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways
In recent times, a lot of performance improvements have been done in the WordPress core, but not every user is getting any value out of it. Many WordPress users aren’t familiar with their hosting architecture and don’t show any concern whether they are hosted on a shared environment or a dedicated but unoptimized one. Having the latest WordPress version running on a server with the latest PHP version with a few server-level optimizations will give the user a lot of advantages.
Moreover, I have seen many of WordPress users recommending CDN to boost the website’s performance. In reality, it may impact negatively if the CDN nodes are away from the targeted audience.
A CDN is helpful for a global audience. For specific local websites, choosing a local data-center is the best bet.
Javier Balcázar – the founder of Javier Balcázar
If you have a blog section on your website, you are accumulating comments at the end of each post. And that’s very good since it means that people are interested in your content and that your loyal community grows.
Each comment is associated with an image of the gravatar profile of that person. These are the images that are not on your server and that increase the number of external requests and slow down your web page. There are several ways to fix it but the simplest and fastest is to install a free and unknown plugin called Optimum Gravatar Cache.
This plugin will create local copies with the optimized images of the gravatars, reducing their weight and the number of external requests. Just install it, activate it and configure how often you want gravatars to refresh and where those images should be stored on your server.
Although you can indeed configure more settings, with this you will have everything ready to speed up the posts in which you accumulate a few comments.
Tapas Pal – the co-founder of Intlum Technology Pvt. Ltd.
WordPress sites can usually get slowed down due to tons of reasons but anyway, the website loading time can be boosted! The single best tip I could come up with is W3 Total Cache!
W3 Total Cache is a WordPress Plugin which comes with a range of outstanding features which help a website load way quicker than it used to! This plugin creates static cache pages for every page that is loaded. So, once a WordPress site is cached by W3 Total Cache, the page loading time and server resources will decrease significantly!
These are a few in-depth features of the plugin that help in reducing the loading time of any WordPress site:
- CDN Integration – W3 Total Cache also has CDN Integration (Content Delivery Network) which distributes the web objects (text, scripts, graphics) and downloadable objects (media files, docs, software) to different proxy servers and data centers. So, the closest server will response based on the location where a site’s accessed. It will result in faster loading time for a WordPress site!
- Works Well with AMP – W3 Total Cache inserts a script into the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) which will ensure that your website’s mobile speed is blazing fast in today’s mobile-friendly world.
Further Benefits of W3 Total Cache for Better Website Loading Time:
- Caching for search results and database objects
- Browser Caching
W3 Total Cache is the true One-Stop solution for a WordPress Site’s Loading Time!
Stacy Caprio – the founder of Growth Marketing
My favorite tip to improve a WordPress site’s speed in 2019 is to consider converting your site to AMP. To do this you can use the free WP AMP plugin developed jointly by Google and WordPress. First, make sure to make sure your theme is compatible with the plugin. Test on a backup staging environment site first, not your live site, since issues may arise that need to be dealt with. However, running your site on amp makes it incredibly lightweight and cuts tons of speed right off the bat. I’ve seen a site go from 8 seconds to under a second load time after installing amp.
Always Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider
David Alexander – Designer, Developer, SEO Consultant at Mazepress
One of the least mentioned ways to improve site speed is to look at how many people are hotlinking your images and if it’s a substantial number consider blocking hotlinking.
Hotlinking is when someone else decides to embed your image without downloading and re-uploading the image.
This means if you have hundreds or thousands of instances where your images have been hot-linked these are all being loaded from your server and it will impact the speed of your site.
This might not have an instant impact on your site speed but it will protect you over time as your site grows in popularity and you are having a lot of your images stolen and hotlinked.
The best method is to start by looking at your hosting. If you pay $5-10 per month for shared hosting and want the site to load faster, upgrade to a VPS or a managed solution from WPEngine, Kinsta or WPX.
If you have a website that generates money or has the potential to do so, then investing in the best possible hosting is the best investment you can make.
Trifon Tsvetkov – Content Manager at Regiondo
The major factor that influences the speed and performance of your website is your WordPress hosting service. It may seem a good idea to buy shared hosting, particularly when it offers unlimited bandwidth, emails, space, and much more. But, in general, shared hosting declines the performance of your website because you share the server resources with countless other websites, and you also don’t know how much resources are being used by one website.
Shared hosting particularly fails to deliver during peak traffic hours. For example, if your neighboring site gets a lot of traffic, then it can impact the entire server performance and may lead to impact the speed of your website.
On the other hand, if you buy dedicated cloud servers or use a managed WordPress hosting service like Bluehost, DigitalOcean, SiteGround, etc. it gives you the most optimized server configurations to run WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting providers also offer some extra features like automatic backups & updates, and advanced security features to protect the website from malicious attacks.
While it is OK to start with a shared hosting when you are just beginning your site, make sure to regularly monitor the resource usage and traffic volume of your website, particularly in peak hours so that you can upgrade to a better hosting server to increase the performance of your site as well as its speed.
When it comes to an E-commerce website, it’s important to rank highly for the relevant keywords associated with your products. Otherwise, customers simply won’t discover your product pages through search engines.
By making sure your page speed is up to par you can outrank competitors and rise to the top of the charts. Host your website on servers with enough power to handle your traffic and consider implementing AMP pages for an extra bump from Google.
In addition to simple changes such as compressing images, these programs will show you where to make changes in your site’s backend. For instance, minifying your CSS and HTML as well as avoiding redirects can do wonders for speeding up your site’s response time. While these may sound complex, WordPress offers several integral plugins which automate these optimizations.
Marcus Miller – Head of SEO & Digital Marketing at Bowler Hat
The absolute best thing you can do to speed up WordPress is getting good hosting. We use a platform that is optimized specifically for WordPress and only hosts WordPress. Often, we can move sites over from a generic hosting environment and we see improved results. This is especially true for sites that are on low grade shared hosting and have not been optimized as the technical optimization and caching is built into the platform. This is not to say other best practices are not important like optimizing your images and being mindful of the plugins you use. However, to get the greatest results with the least effort then invest in quality hosting for your WordPress site. All other speed optimization is the icing on the cake!
Chris Oquist, Director of User Experience and Digital Strategy at Brooklyn-based design studio Dialogue Theory
Improving the speed of a WordPress site can involve a wide range of exercises, but more often than not, the easiest – and most dramatic – gains can come from optimizing images. So many websites are serving up huge images – much larger than necessary and with little to no compression. This often happens to the savviest and well-intentioned teams: long after a rigorous website redesign, large image files “sneak” onto the site over time as contributors and content managers who are either time-compressed or unaware, upload heavy assets without taking the proper care to reduce their impact.
To ensure that massive images aren’t slowing your site down:
- Scan your pages using a robust, free performance test (we like Webpagetest).
- Pay special attention to the “Waterfall View” to identify any image files contributing to long loading times.
- Resize any large files, cropping them down so that you aren’t loading bigger files than you need to, and use the compression included in a tool like Photoshop (or an online tool like Tinypng to make them as lightweight as possible without sacrificing image quality. Hero images, even detailed ones, should be no larger than 150kb – inline images should be even smaller – aim for 30-60kb at most.
- Integrate TinyPNG’s image compression plugin to ensure that any images moving forward are compressed automatically, reducing the likelihood that content contributors will upload massive files again over time.
- Create and distribute an easy-to-follow, step-by-step checklist to help content contributors understand how to crop and compress their images so that future content updates are as lightweight as possible.
Marco Hernandez – Head of Marketing & Sales at Kaizen Social
Rio Rocket – Digital and WordPress Marketing Expert
The most important factor in speed improvement is optimization. Image and database optimization of your WordPress site should be a top priority. The following plugins will accomplish this task quickly and effectively.
- Smush Image Compression offers lossless compression of image files which means it strips the file of garbage data without affecting the quality of the image.
- WP-Optimize cleans your WordPress database automatically to keep it running at maximum efficiency.
- WP Fastest Cache offers a simple and fast WP Cache system creates static HTML files to serve visitors instead of rendering PHP and MySQL files again and again which utilizes lots of RAM and CPU.
- SEO Redirection is a link optimization plugin that manages 301, 302, and 307 redirections as well as fixing crawl errors (404 and soft 404). I mean seriously would you rather someone send you a link that looks like this: https://yourwebsite.com/wp-content/uploads/image-name-2019-4-24.jpg or this: https://yourwebsite.com/headshot.
Adeel Shabir – Content Marketing Executive at GigWorker
Wordpress is the most used platform for many businesses and is easy to utilize the best of it. There are more than 1.1 million registered new domains on WordPress. It enjoys 59.4% of the market share of the most used CMS.
But, when you have a business that needs to be on WordPress, you will have to optimize the best way to load faster and should not have any issues. These are the best ways that you can use to utilize the best in performance and speed:
- Page load speed is usually slower when you have much larger files of media. The website gets slower because of the lower bandwidth. There are multiple tools that help you optimize your website. You can try WP Compress – an excellent tool used for optimizing your media files.
- When you see an update on you WordPress, make sure you update. There are many bugs and errors that you don’t see but they are actually there. So update every time you see an update from WordPress.
- Use a lightweight theme. Already the default themes on WordPress themes are lightweight but if you are looking for the best version of your theme from a 3rd party, make sure they are WordPress friendly and lightweight.
- Compress your WordPress site, the smaller the site, the faster it will load. GZip Compression is the best tool to lower your website size to opt for faster load speed. GZip compression can be done easily by installing Breeze plugin.
Use the best coding practice
Flynn Zaiger – CEO of Optimistic Web Design
Rishit Shah – the founder of Tally School
A clean theme can increase your WordPress website’s speed significantly.
There are a lot of free and paid themes for WordPress but only a handful of them have been optimized for least amount coding.
When coding is optimized, the theme will load faster and hence, the WordPress website will load faster as well.
Many people overlook this aspect because, at the time of selecting a theme, they only look at the theme visually. They should also look at the minimal and optimized code for that theme.
Remove what is redundant
Yaniv Masjedi – CMO at Nextiva
It’s easy to get roped into it – everyone does at some point or another. The beauty of WordPress is that it is so darn customizable. There are plugins available for every single action you might wish to do, from tracking on-page usage to adding a background soundtrack to the user experience.
However, each and every plugin you install has the ability to slow down your page. And, for every millisecond your page slows down, you lose a little bit of customer patience, and increase the likelihood that your visitor might leave your website before ever converting.
To optimize your website speed, it’s time to take a hard look at your site. Audit all of your plugins: do you actually use them? If not, it’s time to consider cutting them loose. You’ll be amazed at how much faster pages load without those plugins covered in a thick layer of dust.
Sam Orchard – Creative Director at Edge of the Web
If you’re looking to make a significant page speed improvement on your website, you might want to consider using WordPress as a headless CMS.
A headless CMS works like a content repository, separate from the visual elements of your website. So instead of using a system that allows you to manage how everything looks, how it works and the content available, you only need a CMS that holds the content for you, with your site calling an API to get the information.
This makes it much easier to manage content across different platforms, as well as reducing the need for a code-heavy CMS slowing down your site.
Since 2016 WordPress has had a REST API, which means your developers can separate the front end of the platform and use the API to retrieve content without having to use WordPress functions.
With a headless CMS, you can dramatically cut down on unnecessary code and overhead on the front end, which will give you a big boost in page speed.
However, this approach does require ongoing input from an experienced development team to keep the site updated. If you don’t have that resource in-house, it might be best to stick with the normal, visual interface.
From moving your site to the better hosting provider, removing redundant plugins, to compressing image size and using powerful tools to analyze your website content, there are many things you can do to speed up your WordPress website speed. Try all of these methods or start with one and follow the results. Good luck!
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