Website speed is an incredibly important part of the user experience. By having a slow website you can easily lose visitors, leads and customers. By examining your website you can find easy ways to improve your website speed and make sure that you keep people on your site. If you think website speed isn’t important, think again. This is even more important in the context of designing for mobile devices. In the video we go over 5 ways that you can speed up your WordPress website.
To start off, check out Pingdom tools to get your page load time and your page size. This will help you to establish a baseline for improvement. Once you know what your load time is you can use the following 5 steps to improve your WordPress website speed.
Optimize Your Images
One of the easiest ways that you can improve your WordPress website speed is to optimize your images. Often times WordPress users will load up extremely large images to use as background images or as images in body copy. Many of these images can be scaled down to a smaller size which will drastically improve load times.
When you are working with images make sure to always save them for web if it is an option. If you are working in Photoshop this is as simple as going to the menu, selecting save for web and adjusting your image settings.
Even better, consider removing any images that are not essential to your design. While images are often important to get your message across, they can be a huge factor in the speed of your site. It is important to consider every image that goes onto your site so that you do not weight down your site unneccessarily.
Remove Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins are one of the best parts of using WordPress but all too often we have more plugins than we need. Not only does this cause security issues, it can also slow down your website. Check your plugins folder and see what plugins you have that you are not using. If you find plugins that are going unused you should deactivate them and remove them. Often times plugins that have not been deactivated will still load on your page.
It will also help you with the security of your site to remove those plugins that you are not using. So even if you have deactivated plugins in your folder, you should still remove them if they are not in use.
Install a Caching Plugin
By simply installing a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache and setting up your basic settings you can see a drastic improvement in your page load size and your website speed.
Implement a CDN
If simply optimizing images, removing plugins and installing a caching plugin isn’t enough to drastically improve your performance you can implement a CDN. A CDN or content delivery network does exactly as the name describes: delivers your content from various servers around the world. Let’s say that your server is located in New York but a visitor comes to your site from San Francisco. A CDN will store your content on a server in San Francisco and it will load significantly faster for that visitor.
Where your server is in relation to your visitor can have a big impact on the performance of your website. A content delivery network will have servers set up to serve your content as close to your visitors as possible. This can help you to seriously increase the speed of your WordPress website. MaxCDN is a good bet and it’s only $39.95 a year.
Change Your Hosting Provider
If you have taken the above steps and your WordPress site is still on the slower side you might want to consider changing your hosting provider. Most hosting providers will put you on a shared server. This is fine if you don’t have much traffic and you are not worried about getting a server that is optimized for WordPress. These hosting plans are typically cheap and provide you with basic features. When your website traffic grows, especially quickly, you might have trouble with this type of set up.
There are a number of managed hosting providers for WordPress with servers that are specifically optimized to handle WordPress websites. Page.ly, WP Engine and Synthesis are all good options that will give you fast load times, better security, automatic backups and a number of other great features that will allow you to scale your website better. If you need some serious performance from your WordPress site you would be wise to check out these options. If you are launching a site and are planning on getting significant traffic, these companies will serve you well without having to worry if your site is going to be down from too much traffic.
Hopefully these 5 tips will help you to increase your WordPress site speed and give your visitors the best experience possible. Please sign up for the blog at the end of this post to get our blog content directly to your inbox.