A curious study finds that there are about 64 million websites built using WordPress. If yours is one of them, then improving site loading speed may be one of your concerns. Today, we thought of crafting a blog that addresses WordPress site loading speed enhancement.
Quick fact: loading speed resists people to bounce and is also a major factor in SEO ranking. If you don’t want to see your audience leaving and strive to obtain a high rank on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page), let’s dive in to find some handpicked tips practised by the experts of website development services.
Detailed Guide to Improve WordPress Site Loading Speed
Choose the Right Host
The hosting of the site largely impacts its speed. You may come across some shared hosting service providers that claim to offer “unlimited” space, bandwidth, emails, and more. However, such sites can be incredibly slow during high traffic periods.
Our suggestion? Opt for a trusted hosting service provider (example – Bluehost). You can also pick dedicated cloud hosting from SiteGround, Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean, Google Compute Engine, etc.
Choice of Theme
Speed optimization should be at the back of your mind while choosing a theme for your website. Sometimes, impressive and stunning themes are poorly coded that adversely impact the speed of the site.
Go for a simpler theme instead of a bloated one with irrelevant features, flashy animations, and a complex layout.
Now, how would you know which theme facilitate a fast loading speed? In times like this, it’s better to seek assistance from a professional website design company. They will select the right theme for you and also customize it for you with the essential features.
Install a Caching Plugin
Look out for WordPress plugins for caching. These can drastically improve page loading speed. You can find them on WordPress.org for free. For instance, W3 Total Cache is a highly popular caching plugin. It is easy to install and use. Other than that, you can also use WP Super Cache (free) or WP Rocket (premium) plugins.
Instead of running the entire page generation process whenever a user opens a site, the caching plugin creates a copy of the page right after the first load. Then the cached version is served to the user.
Optimize the Homepage
You want to offer the best possible experience on your site’s homepage, isn’t it? Here are some quick and easy things you can do to ensure the homepage loads fast:
- Don’t use too many sharing widgets on the home page, consider adding them in posts.
- Show small snippets and add a “read more” button that leads to the dedicated product categories or service pages.
- Keep the homepage minimal – it will create a sophisticated look and also keep the page blazing fast.
- Remove unnecessary plugins and widgets that you don’t need.
Use a Content Delivery Network
Let us amuse you with a striking fact: depending on the location of your web hosting server, the users in different geographical location may face different loading speed on your site. For instance, if your web hosting company has its servers in the UK, the visitors in the UK will see faster loading times than a visitor in the USA.
You know it already but we don’t want you to overlook it by mistake! That’s why we have added it to our list. While visuals can instantly grab the viewers’ attention, an unoptimized image can take a long time to load and thereby affect site speed.
Here’s a fact: WPBeginner finds that the size of a non-optimized PNG file is 145 KB. On optimizing the image in Photoshop and converting it to JPEG file reduces its size to 33 KB! You can guess the immense impact it will produce on website performance!
Add Lazy Loading to the Visuals
While we are discussing visuals, let’s quickly walk you through lazy loading. It is the process of loading and displaying the visuals once the users start to scroll down and approaches towards the visuals.
That way, the site need not load all the texts and visuals at once. It will save bandwidth by loading less amount of data and thereby drastically enhance loading speed. You can lazy load videos, images, and even comments, and gravatars.
WordPress is frequently updated and you need to keep up with it. That’s because each update doesn’t only roll out new features but also fixes bugs and security issues.
You should keep your website theme and plugins updated with the latest version. If required, you can hire WordPress developers to avail of website maintenance service from time to time.
Use the Latest PHP Version
Talking about updating, let us remind you to use the latest PHP version. WordPress is written in PHP language. Usually, reputed hosting companies use the most stable PHP version on the servers. But it may so happen that the hosting company you hired is running its server on an older PHP version.
Do you know that the latest PHP version is significantly faster than its predecessor? And as you can imagine, it will give a huge boost to the site performance. You can install and activate the Version Info plugin to check the PHP version your site is using. If the version is lower than PHP 7, make sure to ask the hosting service provider to update.
Optimize WordPress Database
Just when you thought we couldn’t talk about “optimization” anymore, here we are with yet another optimization!
Jokes apart, WordPress database optimization is an important element in improving site loading speed. You can use plugins like WP-Optimize, WP-DB Manager, WP-Sweep plugin, etc. to make the process more streamlined and hassle-free.
Optimize the database (post revisions, spam, unused tags tables, drafts, etc.) to reduce the overhead. Leverage the plugins to schedule dates for the next database optimization.
Don’t Store Excessive Amount of Drafts
We admit that you may have to store a lengthy and informative post in the draft box several times before you hit the ‘publish’ button. But let us tell you, it makes the site bulky.
WordPress seeks to store every single draft for an indefinite time. Therefore, you should better step in and remove them after the post is published.
You can also use a plugin like Revision Control that lets you control post revisions. Try to save 2 to 3 drafts for backup but don’t clutter the backend with excessive amounts of drafted posts.
Found the article insightful? Don’t stop at that! Try these techniques and give an added boost to your website.