Do you know what a great way is to lose website traffic and potential sales is? Having a slow WordPress website is probably one of the best ways. Not only does a slow WordPress website hinder potential sales, it’s also an SEO killer. Here are 5 tips for a faster WordPress site that will help keep visitors on your page as well as help improve your SEO.
Choose the right web hosting plan
There are plenty of WordPress web hosts out there such as DreamHost, Blue Host and Go Daddy, but it’s the web hosting plan your select from them that will help make your website slow or fast. These hosting companies offer great deals such as web hosting for only $2.99 a month or something comparable, but the reason why it so cheap is because your website will be hosted on a server with other websites from other people who also signed up for the same deal. Shared web hosting, while appealing price wise, can slow your website down. Imagine there are 10 or 20 other sites on the server you share with other people and those sites get 5 times the amount of traffic you do. Sure your website isn’t that big, but if those other sites are throttling your speeds because the server’s processes and memory are being used primarily by them, then your website will suffer. Opt for a dedicated server where only your website will reside. Yes, the price is more, but having your own server configured and set up optimally for your website is more than enough reason to go this route. There is no one else to hog all the server’s resources and you gain all the benefits.
Your wordpress theme
The WordPress theme you choose is also reason why your website is slow. There are tons of fancy themes out there with all these fancy sliders, custom fonts, unique layouts etc. and while you may think this theme has what you need, it’s really a time suck. For very custom Google font you select or 3rd party plugin that came with your theme, it makes an external call from your web host to get that information. Now imagine that your website that looks so fancy with all the bells and whistles has to make 175 calls to get everything to look the way you intended it to. 175 calls back and forth all the while seconds are being added for the end user waiting for your website to load. No one is going to wait 8 or 10 seconds for you website to load let alone 3 seconds. And imagine if they’re trying to load this on their mobile phone. They will leave you faster than my wife does when she heads to HomeGoods for a clearance sale.
WordPress plugins are a great way to add functionality to your WordPress website that may not have come with your theme. Using too many plugins is a great way to slow down your website. A good example is a plugin that displays your social media posts or feeds. Those plugins load external scripts to feature your feeds or posts and with anything external that means your web server has to make another call to and from to get that information. The more plugins you have, the more scripts they need to run to function, the longer it takes for your website to load. Using a minimal amount of plugins with help with a faster WordPress site.
Not optimizing your images
While there is nothing wrong with using images on your website, it is wrong not to optimize them for your WordPress site. What would load faster an image that was 2.3mb or the same image optimized at 333kb? The larger the file, the longer it takes to load and thus adding time to the overall load time of your website. Optimizing your images helps reduce the page load times dramatically. Another way to help with load times with images is using “lazy loading.” Think of lazy loading as instead of loading the entire web page and rendering it to the user all at once, the idea of lazy loading is that it only loads the required section and delays the rest, until it is needed by the user.
not using a caching plugin
When someone visits your website they request the file from your web server to be served up in there browser. If there are 100 people asking for the same file at the same time, the server would have to serve the same file to each user as if it was a brand new request. With a caching plugin it makes a copy of the page being requested after the first load, and then it serves that cached version to every subsequent user. It’s a great way to speed content being served to your users.
There are tons of other ways for a faster WordPress site, but these 5 will help get you started.