A WordPress plugin brought to you by Search Engine Journal.
Everybody seems to be in a hurry these days, and online loading times matter. Studies show that speedy WordPress websites perform better in terms of:
- SEO (search engines really appreciate speed)
- Time People Spend Browsing
Now, let’s take a look at how to quickly increase the speed of your WordPress website!
1. Update Everything. Now!
note: Before hitting that update button, create a backup. Updating your WordPress installation, WordPress theme, and plugins should be painless if you use WordPress products created with WordPress best practices in mind. A theme should only take care of the visuals, nothing more.
Updating your WordPress installation, theme, and plugins will increase speed as every update brings performance, stability, and functionality improvements.
2. Use a Theme that’s Not Bloated
Sometimes, the reason a WordPress website loads slowly is because of the template. Maybe it has a lot of graphics or a lot of bulky code and inefficient functions. Try choosing a simpler theme.
There are so many heavy, bloated WordPress themes right now, it’s likely that you’ll stumble upon one. A theme could, for example, have a built-in portfolio functionality. But what if the developer stops providing support and updates? What will happen to your portfolio? Keep in mind:
A theme should display and style your content. Plugin should be used to add functionality.
Because majority of premium WordPress themes you find on market places such as ThemeForest and Mojo Themes never go through theme review guidelines, it’s better to start with the free default WordPress themes and add features and styles as you need them using plugins and CSS.
3. Limit Plugin Usage
- Decide which plugins you need and regularly update them
- Delete the ones you don’t use
Always delete plugins you don’t need, because every badly coded plugin (even a deactivated one) poses a security threat.
4. Use Cache Plugins
You’ve probably heard this one before. While you could speed up WordPress using other ways, at least give cache plugins a chance. They work just fine if you spend some time figuring out what’s working and what’s not. Two of the most downloaded cache plugins for WordPress are:
Don’t enable everything, just the most basic stuff such as: page cache, browser cache, minify (may cause your website to look little weird), or try enabling the CDN option.
5. Optimize Images
Images can massively slow down websites, especially uncompressed and non-optimized ones. There are a couple of ways to avoid this:
- Optimize images before you upload them & crop them to the correct resolution.
- Install a plugin called Wp Smush.it. It compresses your images & deletes all meta data.
6. Use Text Advertisements
There’s a chance your online business fuels itself using ads. Advertisements can be text, image, or java-script based and can be hosted on your server or somewhere else.
Solve slow loading ads by going with the text or link option. If you must use images, see if you can host them yourself.
7. Switch Hosting Company
Do a little research on different hosting companies. Send each hosting company an email and learn about their response time and customer support before you make your choice. Read this article on the performance of 7 Top WordPress hosting companies.
See if your hosting company uses Google’s mod_pagespeed and activate it. It will configure your server for speed.
WordPress speed directly influences your website authority and may determine the future of your online business. What other ways have you found to increase the speed and success of your WordPress powered sites?