It is common knowledge that website loading time is one of the 200 factors considered by Google in determining website rankings. Search engine algorithms apart, websites that load faster retain more visitors and generate more revenue in the long run.
Furthermore, a slow-loading site is considered sign of bad workmanship, while a super-fast site is considered a testament to the technical proficiency of the webmaster. Whatever your motivation, relying on the following WordPress speed optimization tips will prove beneficial for your site in the long run.
Use a Caching Plugin
The conventional method of accessing a website or a webpage involves numerous transactions between the web browser, the WordPress site, and the Database Management System like MySQL involving PHP scripting languages and HTML rendering.
A caching plugin like W3 Total Cache will create a cached version of your WordPress site that can be rendered instantly to the visitor’s web browser. This is one of the most popular WordPress speed optimization tips to reduce page load time without affecting functionality or data integrity.
Optimize All Images
Presence of un-optimized images can affect your WordPress site’s page speed. One popular option is to use plugins to optimize image sizes to reduce bandwidth consumption and improve loading speed.
Alternatively, you can opt for Image Sprites, which involve combining multiple images into a single fast-loading image, or Font Icons instead of having numerous standard images on your site. In addition, you can host your images through a Content Delivery Network. The images will be stored on multiple servers and content will be loaded from the server that is closest to the visitor.
Shift to a Good Web Host
The financial advantages of choosing an extremely cheap web-hosting plan may be negated by issues like slow site speed and high page loading time. A faster site will be ranked higher by search engines; receive more visitors; convert more leads into sales; and generate more revenue per visitor. In such a scenario, shifting to a slightly expensive hosting plan that offers quality service can be a smart strategic move.
Re-Think Use of Social Sharing Plugins
This plugin is useful for those who need to pull content from social websites into their WordPress site. However, compromising on site speed and using a real-time social networking tool to merely link your site with your social media profile does not make sense. Switching to static images will boost speeds without affecting functionality or user-friendliness of your site.
Optimize the Home Page
A slow-loading home page can have a huge impact on your site’s rankings and popularity amongst visitors. These WordPress speed optimization tips can help boost loading speed of your home page.
a. Fewer posts on the home page with short excerpts as opposed to lengthy posts.
b. Shifting social sharing widgets from the home page into the posts.
c. Removal of unnecessary plugins and widgets.
A lean home page will look more inviting as compared to a bulky and cluttered page that is slow to load and difficult to navigate.
Put Your Databases on a Diet
A flabby and bloated database filled with spam posts, unnecessary tables, numerous drafts and revision posts, and errors can slow your WordPress site considerably. Scheduling database optimization at regular intervals through plugins like WP-DB Manager can help ensure your site’s backend responds quickly to all content requests.
Block Hotlinking and Leeching Attempts
Hotlinking involves placement of direct links of images hosted on your site in content hosted on third-party sites. This is a common problem for those who use custom images on a regular basis. Preventing hotlinking and leeching will ensure the additional load on your server does not slow down your website.
Use Expires Header for Static Content
Expires Header ensure your visitors don’t have to download static content all over again. You can specify the duration over which such static content need not be downloaded. This simple trick ensures time is not wasted in download of website content that does not change very often.
LazyLoad Your Images
Are your visitors downloading all the images on the page even if they never scroll down to the end of the page? If yes, then you should consider useful WordPress speed optimization tips related to the LazyLoad process.
Images will be loaded only when they come into view on the browser window. Images above or below the viewing area will not be loaded automatically. This can help you shave off time that would unnecessary increase your page load time.
Make Smart Use of Static HTML
At a time when more and more people are using smartphones and mobile devices to access WordPress sites, replacing PHP with static HTML content can help you speed up the loading time. Of course, this involves an unavoidable compromise in functionality. However, this is a useful option if you want to boost speeds but cannot afford to switch to a costlier and faster web-hosting plan yet.
Your WordPress site is a dynamic organism that must evolve with time. Avoid a rigid and formulaic approach when trying to speed up your website. Consider the ever-changing preferences of your visitors and implement your strategies accordingly.
Sven is an avid outdoorsman, father and social creature who never stops striving to make the ideal work-life balance a less elusive notion. He gets his kicks by making WordPress do things it didn’t know it could do.