Have you ever gone back to a website that took ages to load when you visited it the first time? No? Most don’t. Who likes a slow site? Yes, nobody. According to a Kissmetrics Infographic, nearly 40 per cent of visitors go away if a site takes more than three seconds to load. A scary statistic for marketers if there was one!
Your WordPress site too, no matter how fast it initially started out to be, can slow down due to a variety of factors. But this can be fixed easily by following a few tips to optimise its speed and performance.
Apart from the aforementioned fact that nobody likes slow sites, speed is also a critical aspect of Google ranking. Your Google ranking will fall if you have a slow site. With Google's introduction of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), mobile speed is also an added factor.
So without much ado, let us look at some ways WordPress sites can be speeded up.
Beware of those image sizes - Often solutions for complex problems are simple. Images, for instance, are major contributors to slowing down webpages. The trick though lies in reducing the size without compromising on the quality. To do this, you need to use specific plug-ins such as WP Smush and EWWW Image Optimizer, which can drastically reduce image sizes but keep the quality intact.
Employ Content Delivery Networks (CDN) - Site-loading speeds will differ if your visitors are located far away from where your site is hosted. Which is why there are Content Delivery Networks (CDN) that can significantly reduce the load on your server and thus result in faster page loads. There are many CDN services of which Cloudflare and MaxCDN are popular.
Install a caching Plugin - Since the majority of WordPress sites are hosted on shared servers, your website will be sharing resources with several other sites. This means your server will run a PHP process every time a page is requested. PHP is a resource-heavy usage and you can limit these requests by installing a simple plugin that will show users a cached page instead, thus improving your website's performance.
Choose a good hosting service - One of the big factors that affect the speed of your website is where it is hosted. Often sharing hosting environments don't provide good loading speed in peak traffic. This is because in shared hosting, your website is sharing resources with countless other websites and there is no data on how well the servers are optimized. This is why it makes sense to buy dedicated cloud servers from providers such as Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean etc. But be aware that setting up servers is no easy task and you will again need the help of web hosting providers to set up servers from scratch.
Use a lightweight theme - WordPress themes nowadays offer a host of features and elements such as sliders, widgets, social icons and other eyeball-catching stuff. But too many elements will naturally reduce your speed. What use are snazzy elements if your visitor is put off by your tortoise speed?! The best option is to use lightweight themes with a good framework -- this way you can keep it feature-rich as well.
Optimize your homepage - The importance of a decluttered, clean and quick homepage cannot be stressed enough. Since it is your main landing page, if it is heavy with features and pop-outs, your visitor is most likely to do a nice U-turn. In order to optimize your homepage, ensure that you limit the number of posts on the page. In fact, you can consider showing excerpts of posts instead of full posts. Make sure there are no inactive plugins and widgets on the page and remove all unnecessary content.
By implementing some of these ways, it is possible to easily speed up your WordPress site and thus ensure your business is not losing out due to lack of hustle.