How (and Why) to Speed Up Your WordPress Website
Many people choose to build their websites on a content management system like WordPress. And there are many good reasons for that. It’s easy, fast, and doesn’t require any programming skills to create a professional, functional, and eye-catching website.
However, it is not enough to just build a website on WordPress. You need to make sure it loads quickly. If you’re wondering why and how it is necessary, this article covers both.
Why website speed matters
More and more people are using the internet, especially in these troubled times of COVID-19 and pandemic lockdowns. But one thing that people lack is focus and time. Everyone seems to be in a hurry and doesn’t dwell long on certain content or information they come across online.
Considering that the average attention span of internet users is 8 seconds, you need to get your message along quickly and get users what they are looking for in less than 8 seconds, otherwise they will skip or jump to other sources.
If your website is under loading, you will lose a lot of your visitors / potential customers. The longer it takes your website to load, the less time you have to grab users’ attention, retain them, and hopefully turn them into customers, subscribers, or loyal fans.
In addition, page speed also plays a role in search engine optimization (SEO). Speed is an important metric that Google considers when ranking websites on its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), not just for organic results, but for Ads and landing pages.
According to Google, your website has to load within 3 seconds to be classified as mobile-friendly and thereby likely to secure higher rankings in the SERPs.
Knowing why website speed matters is another big question about how exactly can you improve your website speed.
How to improve website speed
Here are a few tips:
1. Install a cache plugin
A cache stores part of the website in the web browser. So the next time someone visits your website, the pages will load faster than before.
Use a cache plugin to do that for you. There are many great WordPress site options to choose from, like WP Rocket and WP Super Cache.
Just install your cache plugin like any other plugin to start caching your website for faster speed.
2. Optimize images for the web
Another important answer to the question about How to Speed Up WordPress Site is the maintenance of images. Images, especially those taken with high definition cameras, are memory intensive and can drag your website down, resulting in very poor speed values.
High definition images can be anywhere from 1MB to over 50MB, which is quite resource intensive when uploading to a website. Every time someone visits a website or webpage with many or large images, their browser would have to download the image and consume that 50MB of additional data. It slows down the website significantly.
So, before uploading images to your website, compress the images to reduce their size. Ideally, keep the image size under 100 KB for faster website loading speeds. Also, use the correct image file type: JPEG, PNG, or WebP.
3. Use a speed-optimized theme
Some website themes are inherently designed to load faster than others. These themes use only minimal Flash, CSS and are mainly designed with HTML.
If speed is your concern, then go for speed-optimized WordPress themes.
4th Reduce and optimize background processes
A lot is hidden behind the scenes of your website. This includes backups, database calls, and search engine crawlers trying to get information. These can slow down your website.
5. Activate extracts on the start page
This is especially true for blogs or blog sections. By default, WordPress is designed to display the entire article on the home page of your blog. This means that the entire page, images and other attributes must be loaded. This can slow down your website significantly.
Enable excerpts that only show the introductory part and link to the full article to speed up your website. To do this, navigate to Settings> Reading and enable the “For each article in a feed: Show summary” setting.
Bonus tip: It is also always recommended to update your website to the latest WordPress versions for the best performance and security.
If you do all of these things, you should be able to significantly speed up your WordPress website and provide your page visitors with an impressive user experience.