One of the easiest ways to ensure visitors to your WordPress website are happy is by making certain your site loads as fast as possible. Perhaps even more importantly, Google reports that your search ranking is negatively impacted if your site is slow to load. In addition, tests performed by Amazon found that for every 100ms increase in load time, their sales decreased by 1%. That leads to two crucial questions. How fast does your website load and how can you make your WordPress website load faster?
Determining Your Website’s Loading Speed
If you are not sure how long it takes your website to load, you can visit Pingdom or Google’s PageSpeed Insights. These free tools can quickly determine your website’s load time. Now, compare it to the information below:
- A page load time of 2 seconds or less is considered excellent
- A page load time of up to 4 seconds is considered acceptable
- A page load time of 5 seconds or more is bad and will affect a visitor’s experience and your search engine rankings.
How to Speed UP Your WordPress Website
There are a variety of ways to ensure your website is loading quickly. Whether you choose to follow one tip or all of them, you can be certain your page loads will speed up.
Choose a great host. The web hosting company and package you are using has a substantial impact on your website’s speed. Although they may cost much less, you really should stay away from shared hosts. They are notorious for slow load times and downtime during periods of high traffic. Identify any unneeded plugins and get rid of them. One of the primary reasons a website performs slowly is related to the number of plugins it has. This is especially true if there are social sharing plugins that create additional files to process and load. This put significant strain on your server and increases load time. It is suggested that you do not have more than 5 plugins, with an absolute maximum of 10.
Choose a solid theme. Not all WordPress themes are the same. When you are choosing a theme, pay careful attention to the page speed of the demo. You can use Pingdom to do this. After you have installed a theme, be sure to remove surplus CSS and HTML elements, while also decreasing pointless tags.
Downsize the image size. Loading images puts stress on the server, particularly when images are large or are on sites with plenty of traffic. Make sure that all images you use on your site have been optimized and compressed to use as little bandwidth as possible. You can try Smush.it, an image optimizer that automatically reduces an image’s file size, without compromising quality.
Be sure to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Although this may take time to set up, it is one of the fastest ways to drastically improve your page’s load time. A CDN takes any static files on your site and gives visitors the ability to download them as quickly as possible from the server that is closest to them from a geographic perspective. This spreads your bandwidth across several servers, reducing the load on a single server.
Optimize your homepage. This involves several things, including:
- Only show 5 to 7 excerpts of full posts on the page
- Remove unnecessary widgets, including sharing widgets, which should only be on post pages
- Remove inactive plugins
- Don’t overdo it! Content is more important than widgets on your homepage.
Clean out the trash. While WordPress does move deleted comments, media, and posts to the WordPress Trash directory, the trash can easily accumulate here and slow down your site. Also, delete spam comments that have no use sitting in your WordPress installation as they build up over time.
Turn off trackbacks and pingbacks. Used to alert other blogs your posts have been linked to, trackbacks and pingbacks can drain your page speed. To turn them off, go to Settings and then the Discussion tab.
If you have a WordPress website, make sure that your load speed is as fast as possible. It just may be what determines how successful your site is.
Have any additional ways to make your WordPress website load faster? Tell us in the comments section. If you are looking for a new WordPress design or need website maintenance support, contact Operation Technology to see how we can help grow your business online.