WordPress is the most powerful Content Management System available today. But if you fail to ensure that your website is fast enough, you wouldn’t stand a chance. Studies show that the average attention span devoted to a website by its visitors has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds, from 2000 to 2016. This means that the time available for you to prove the quality of your website is quite limited. Plus, Google now considers the speed of your website to rank it. Therefore, if you have a slow website, it may affect your SEO negatively. So you might want to start taking precautions now.
Getting started, the first step is to test how fast your website really is. Now, you may think that the speed of your website is good enough. But this could be a big mistake. The speed of your website may seem okay on your computer because on your own computer it is a frequently visited site. Because of this your website is always stored in the cache and loads quickly when you search it. But for a totally alien user this may not be the case. So, it’s better to start by properly testing the speed of your website. For this you can use speed measuring tools like Pingdom, or GTmetrix. The generally accepted load time for a website is under 2 seconds so if the test shows anything more, you have to work on reducing it.
But what makes my website so slow?
In order to figure out how to reduce the load time of your wordpress site and increase its speed, first it’s important to figure out the factors that slow it down.
- Web hosting servers that are badly configured.
- External scripts like ads can slow down your website.
- A poorly coded plug-in.
- The WordPress site not serving cached pages which may even cause the Website to crash.
- Pages of unnecessarily large sizes can slow down your website.
- Non optimized images for web
Here are some measures you could take to speed up your WordPress site;
Choose a great Web hosting service!
As it is clear that a bad Web hosting service will be a catalyst to slow down your website, it is wise to choose a good web hosting service. Ideally a Managed Web hosting service is recommended. They provide high security for your website and is cost effective. At Cloudcone we provide managed web hosting services and help our clients speed up their websites.
- If you have opted for a Shared web hosting service be warned because they give incredibly slow speeds during periods of high web traffic.
Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A CDN could help deliver your static files to the visitor’s of your website from a server that is much closer to them than the server of your website. That way the visitor’s don’t need to reach your server, but instead just hitting the cache should make it possible for them to access your web pages. And as we learned earlier, accessing web pages from a cache makes it faster.
Choose a great caching plug-in
A caching plug-in improves the page load time and are free and easy to use. W3 Total Cache is a widely recommended Caching plug-in. WP Rocket is also highly recommended because it decreases load time, compresses files to convert HTML, JS & CSS to static files, images load only when you scroll down and it’s generally developer friendly. However it is difficult to choose one best plug-in just by normal comparison, so it is considered wiser to test some of the “better” plug-ins and choose whatever works best for you.
- In addition to W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket, Zen Cache, WP Super Cache and Hyper Cache are also considered to be among the best.
Choose a solid lightweight Theme
You might think that having a fancy framework-ed theme, heavy with multimedia is the best option assuming that it makes your website more attractive. The truth is quite the contrary. Heavy frameworks with a lot of complicated features often, if not always, take too much time to load, steering visitors away from your website and making it rather unattractive.
We all know how large images can slow our websites down. Let’s deal with this issue as well. Compress your images.
- EWWW Image optimizer and WP-SmushIt can help you compress your images without a significant loss of quality.
- WP-SmushIt compresses all your images automatically as they are being uploaded.
Using these five tips you will soon be able to increase the speed of your website and attract visitors easily. Make sure to also keep an eye out for the catalysts that slow down your website and get rid of them. Good luck with your WordPress site! Reach out to us if you have any concerns, suggestions or general feedback.