Do you get a lot of traffic to your WordPress website but find that your bounce rate is high and conversions are low?
If so, it may be due to the fact that you need to speed up your website.
If your web pages take more than a couple of seconds to load, users are likely to click off your website and access the content they need from one of your competitors instead.
Your WordPress websites page loading time will have a significant impact on its overall user experience. If the web page loading time is slow it will result in poor user experience and may put off people from using your website.
Slow page loading time can also negatively impact your websites search rankings, which can lead to a loss in traffic. If you think this may be happening to you, you will need to make changes and improvements to speed up your website.
First of all, you will need to find out how fast your WordPress website is using tools like GTmetrix, Webpage Test and Pingdom. Simply type in your URL on these websites and they will reveal a lot of insightful data about your WordPress websites speed and performance.
It is recommended that you test your website using one of these tools before you make any tweaks and improvements so you can re-test your website afterwards and compare the difference.
Below we have explained ten ways you can go about improving your WordPress websites speed.
Invest in WordPress Hosting
To speed up your WordPress website, it is highly recommended that you use WordPress specific hosting such as that offered by WP Engine.
Hosting offered by this company has been optimised to host WordPress and secured against known security threats.
They also provide WordPress hosting located within London which can offer speed gains to other hosting companies which may be located in Germany or the United States of America.
Cacheing is another way to serve files quicker to your website visitors which is also provided by WP engine and additionally they offer a content delivery network, also known as a CDN, to deliver image files on your website much quicker to your target audience based in London.
WP design using WP engine for all our London based clients websites. Having used many hosting companies previously, we found WP Engine to be the most reliable, secure and fastest hosting company for our client's website's that were targetting London and UK website users.
Install a solid WordPress web design theme
When you sign up to WordPress you will notice that there are hundreds of free and paid themes to choose from. Some WordPress themes and frameworks are better than others.
Rather than rushing into the decision, it is recommended that you take the time to research the best web design themes, ensuring that the one you choose performs well. You will find that some WordPress web design themes load faster than others because they have a simple and light framework. To test different WordPress themes, use Pingdom or Webpage Test.
Use proper caching to speed up your website
One of the best ways you can improve the speed of your website is to ensure proper caching is being carried out. This can be made easy for you by installing the W3 Total Cache plugin or by using the built-in caching feature from a WordPress hosting company.
There are various different WordPress performance optimisation plugins available including WP Super Cache, Hyper Cache Extended, Quick Cache and W3 Total Cache plugin which is the most popular caching plugin due to the fact that it is both comprehensive and efficient.
The W3 Total Cache plugin is used by all of the top WordPress websites. It is designed to improve the user experience of your WordPress website by enhancing server performance.
These WordPress plugins will cache every aspect of your website to reduce its page loading times. It does this by creating static cache pages for each of your WordPress web pages.
This means that the content does not need to be dynamically loaded every time a users clicks on a page, helping to significantly decrease web page loading times.
It can also be integrated with a content delivery network, which we will go on to talk more about below.
Implement a content delivery network
In order to stand the best chance at improving your WordPress websites loading speeds, you will need to implement a content delivery network (CDN for short).
This will make your website load faster for visitors, regardless of their location, internet connection or the device they are using. It will help to improve overall user experience, increasing both user engagement and the time users spend on your website. Using a content delivery network can also help you achieve better search rankings through enhanced user experience.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced, user-friendly CDN for your WordPress website, we recommend checking out the Max CDN Content Delivery Network. It has an intuitive dashboard, making it very simple to use and there are also video tutorials to help you get set up. If you require any more information about content delivery networks for your WordPress website, contact our London web design agency.
Images make up the largest file size of your website so it's essential they are compressed to reduce loading times of your WordPress website. We provide recommended image sizes to upload, however, we also realise this isn’t always possible to do so images are automatically resized to the correct dimensions. In addition, images are compressed which significantly reduces the file size.
Image quality may be affected slightly if too much compression is applied so applying just enough image compression not to visually affect the image quality is important.
A WordPress image optimisation plugin is used to automatically compress the images which can be undone as the original uploaded images are retained within the WordPress installation.
You can learn more about the best image compression plugins for WordPress here.
JS & CSS Optimisation
Our team of WordPress developers ensure that code isn’t bloated in order to maximise web page load times. JS, CSS and HTML files are minified by removing unnecessary spaces in the code which can slow down the website.
CSS files are combined into one file and error checked. This helps reduce server request and improves loading times.
Internal and external JS files are combined where possible and redundant files are excluded to prevent unused files from loading.
Optimise your WordPress database
Optimising your WordPress websites database can also help to boost its page loading times and performance. You can do this manually, but the process will be very tedious and time-consuming.
Instead, we recommend that you install the WP-Optimize plugin. This is a popular WordPress plugin that allows you to optimise all aspects of your database (including spam, post revisions, drafts, tables etc.) to reduce your overheads.
You can also download the WP-DB Manager plugin, which will allow you to schedule dates for your database optimisation, ensuring continuous and consistent improvements are made.
Minify your WordPress website
Minifying your WordPress website will help to improve its speed. This is basically a process of removing all of the white space from your website coding. Although white spaces and tabs make it easier for humans to read code, servers and browsers do not have the same preferences.
Enable Gzip compression
When a user visits your website, a call will be made to your server to deliver the requested files. The larger these files are, the longer it will take for them to be delivered. Gzip is designed to compress your web pages and style sheets before delivering them to the browser.
It does this by compressing common strings of repeated text and white space, cutting down the size of web pages and style sheets up to seventy per cent. By downsizing your files, it will dramatically reduce their transfer time.
Utilise the Smush.it WordPress plugin
If your WordPress website features a lot of images, this will be one of the reasons why it takes longer to load, especially if the website isn't hosted in London. Rather than removing the images from your website, why not compress them instead.
To reduce the file size of an image, without reducing its quality, you will need to install a WordPress plugin like WP-Smush. This is a free WordPress plugin that will compress and optimise your images automatically, as you are uploading them.
Another great way to combat the problem of multiple images is to implement lazy loading. The Lazy Load WordPress plugin enables you to only load images above the fold when a new user arrives on your website.
Once the user starts scrolling down the web page, the images will begin to load. Lazy loading helps to speed up page loading times, whilst also saving bandwidth for users who do not scroll all the way to the bottom of your web pages.
Use CSS Sprites
The idea behind CSS Sprites originates from a technique used by video game designers. Basically, in the past, they would increase the speed of video game graphics by allowing computers to grab the graphic from the screen, store it in its memory and display only parts of the image when they were requested.
Today many web designers use a similar technique to enhance website speeds. By reducing the number of hoops the internet has to jump through to load your WordPress website, you will increase web page loading times. CSS Sprites also reduce the number of HTTP requests needed to load a specific web page, by doing this you will save bandwidth and use less energy.
Don’t overdo it with WordPress plugins
Whilst WordPress plugins are great for boosting the functionality of your site for both you and its users, it is important to remember that plugins can slow down your website and even cause it to crash.
If you have a large number of plugins installed, it is likely that it will lead to software conflicts, which can affect page loading times. The solution to this is to only use WordPress plugins that are absolutely necessary. If a plugin is inactive or you are not really benefiting from it anyway, make sure that it is completely removed from your website.
It is also important to make sure that you keep your WordPress plugins up to date. Every now and then the developers will release new versions, which are likely to have enhanced speed, functionality and security features.
By keeping your WordPress plugins up to date, you can improve the efficiency of your website and minimise the risk of security threats.
One of the great benefits of WP Engine hosting is the automatic update feature for WordPress and the installed plugins. They also prevent WordPress plugins from being installed which are known to have vulnerabilities or slow down your WordPress website. I have found their support team based in London to be very helpful in with support queries in the past.
So there we have ten great ways you can speed up your website!
If you decide to try out any of these for yourself, it is highly recommended that you test the changes you make using tools like Pingdom and WebPage Tester. This will help you to see how much the plugin or technique you have implemented has reduced your web page loading times by.