If your WordPress site takes too much time to load, then you might lose a lot of potential customers. That’s because users are unforgiving whenever it comes to slow loading websites, and will most likely abandon your site before taking any desired action – be it making a purchase, signing up your newsletter, or any other action. In fact, there is a greater likelihood that your customers won’t return to your site, which is not good for your brand reputation.
In short, you will likely fail to achieve valuable conversions in case your website runs slowly.
Have your ever wondered the difference slow speed of your site make? Or have you even analyzed how slow is your site and how you can improve its speed? This post will cover answers to such questions, so as to help you succeed in making your WordPress website speed faster.
Understanding the Significance of a Fast-Loading WordPress Site
Here’s an image that will give you an idea of how website performance can impact conversion rates:
If you still are confused, below are a few statistics that will make you understand the importance of having a faster website:
- Based on KISSmetrics reports, “nearly 40 percent users abandon a website that fails to load within 3 seconds.” In essence, just a single second of delay in getting a page loaded can have an adverse effect on conversions.
- Furthermore, a page that takes three seconds to load compared to one that loads in one second results in 22 percent fewer page views and conversions. And, it causes 50 percent higher bounce rates.
- According to WebPerformanceToday reports, Walmart experienced a rise in their conversion by 2 percent with an increase in page speed at every second.
The bottom line is that you must make your site load in one second. Even you’ll do pretty well if your website loads within three seconds. However, you must speed up your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Now let us talk about some useful tips following which you can improve your WordPress site speed. But before that make sure to test the speed of your site using tools such as GTmetrix, Pingdom.com, WebPagetest, etc. Of course, you need to know the current level of performance of your site in terms of speed, before you can take any initiative.
Tips to Boost Your WordPress Site Speed
1. Choose Quality Web Host Having Fast Servers
The first and foremost reason behind the reduced speed of your site are slow servers. So, when searching for a web host make sure to select one with fast servers. When it comes to choosing a hosting plan, you’ll need to make a choice between a Shared, Dedicated, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and a few other hosting plans.
While shared hosting plan requires you to pay a nominal fee, your website on shared servers is going to be slower since it is necessary to use the same resources like other sites running on the same server. On the contrary, a dedicated hosting plan will ensure faster website speed since you’ll have more resources available for use, as you get to use the physical server alone. In essence, dedicated serves are the fastest, but their cost is usually higher compared to other hosting options.
However, in case you need a hosting package that costs anything between a shared and dedicated hosting plan, you can consider choosing a VPS.
2. Pick a Theme Optimized For Faster Loading Time
Once you’ve chosen a good web host, next, you’ll possibly look for a suitable WordPress theme for setting up your site. Most of us have a tendency to find themes that look aesthetically pleasing. But that’s not the right approach to choosing a theme. Of course, a beautiful looking theme is critical for driving traffic to the site, but it is also important that your theme is optimized for faster load time.
Basically, you must pick a theme that not just looks good but also loads quickly. However, make sure to avoid a theme that is written poorly, has bloated code or unnecessary features, since it can cause your website to run slowly. But then, you wouldn’t want a theme with minimalistic features as it might not be able to deliver an enhanced user experience. That is why you need to select a theme that is designed with a perfect balance between splendid design and functionality.
Ideally, it is recommended that you should prefer using premium themes than the ones available for free. Here are a few reliable sources you can consider when searching for quality WordPress premium themes:
Also, it’s imperative that your theme does not contain security loopholes or else it might bring down your site. Here’s an article that will help you understand how you can prevent your site from getting hacked: Jot Them Down! 8 Simple Methods To Secure WordPress Site Against Hackers.
3. Get Rid of Unwanted (and Unused) Plugins
Almost every WordPress website contains several plugins that help in extending the functionality of the site. But, while focusing on other crucial aspects of your site, you might overlook upgrading all of your installed plugins. What’s more? The chances are that you have installed a few plugins that are of no use to your website. Now, when a visitor loads a page they need to load all of the plugins as well, even if they’re not used on that page. Needless to say, the more plugins you will have, the more time your page will take to load.
Therefore, you must deactivate or delete unused or unnecessary plugins from your site. Also, you should only keep the plugins that best help you in protecting your site, improve user engagement, boost load time and so on.
In case you’re still encountering problems post deleting the plugins, using the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) can help in determining the culprits (i.e. the plugins) that are making your site run slowly.
4. Take advantage of a Caching Plugin
Whenever a user requests any particular page on your site, all of the PHP scripts are processed by the server. This could increase your page load time. However, serving the requested data or files from the cache can help in loading your site quickly. Cache is basically a place that stores your data (ideally recently used information) temporarily.
In essence, your website files get stored in the user’s browser cache. Thus, when users visit your site next time, the browser will load the requested files from the cache instead of fetching them from the server over and over again. Bear in mind, caching does not happen automatically. Often, your hosting service provider will handle the process of caching your website pages. Or else, you can use caching plugins to perform the job. Some of the best WordPress caching plugins worth considering are:
- WP Super Cache: One of the most downloaded caching plugin, WP Super Cache should be your first priority when it comes to producing static HTML files. Thus, as soon as an HTML file gets generated, your server loads the same file rather than processing the relatively heavier PHP scripts. This plugin is ideal to be used for websites running on shared servers compared to heavy traffic sites.
- W3 Total Cache: Next, the second most widely used caching plugin, W3 Total Cache also helps improve page speed by increasing server speed, providing integration of Content Delivery Network (CDN), etc. Most importantly, W3 Total Cache plugin is best suited for high-traffic WordPress sites. It can work with shared, dedicated and virtual private servers.
- WP Fastest Cache: It serves as a cache system that produces a static file and loads that file instead of rendering the requested page again and again. This plugin deletes all of the cache files once the page/post gets published, which further saves the space on the server making your site a lot faster.
A Few Other Recommendations To Improve Page Speed
Below listed are some other important recommendations that you must consider when trying to improve your web page speed:
Utilizing a CDN
If someone lands on a site with its data stored on a remote server, then they’ll likely face difficulty in fetching the required data quickly. However, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) helps keep a copy of your site on globally distributed network of servers. Thus, whenever someone requests for your website content, he/she will get static content from the server that is nearby to their location.
Reduce Your Image File Size
Images are unarguably an indispensable part of almost every site since they help in making a site look attractive and appealing to visitors. But, using large size images can also result in slow website speed. Fortunately, there is an excellent plugin that can help in optimizing WordPress site images for faster load times, called as WP Smush.
Remove Unused Data From Database
Unused data in your site can make it load slowly. However, several places contain such data. Most importantly, website database often includes overhead that leads to increasing in load time. So, it becomes needful for you to optimize your database by cleaning it up. This can be achieved via plugins like WP-Optimize, WP DBManager and much more.
Keeping the tips mentioned above in mind will definitely help you in improving the speed of your WP site to a great extent. But before you follow any of the discussed tips make sure to create a backup of your site to avoid loss of data.
Guest Post By: Sophia Phillips has been working as a professional in WordPrax, WordPress web development company and loves sharing information about leveraging multiple benefits of WordPress CMS in the best possible manner. Currently, she has an impressive count of WordPress development-related articles under her name.