Most folks can keep busy for hours just adding fresh new content to a website, but there’s no point if all of the visitors struggle to load the website. It seems to be a common belief that the website will be fine if left alone, but this is not the case.
The more content added to the site, the more words and pictures start to take up space, slowing down the website overall. If you monitor your blog regularly, you should be able to improve WordPress performance in just a few easy steps.
Importance of Site Speed
When someone first arrives on your WordPress site, they’ll only stick around for a few seconds before becoming bored and leaving; that means you only have so much time to capture their attention and keep them engaged. In fact, just a 2-second delay can result in more than 4 percent reduced clicks and lost revenue.
Put simply, if your website takes too long to load, most people have left before you had a chance to show them what you have to offer. Not just that, but Google also considers speed as a factor for ranking on search results page. That means speed has an impact on SEO; slow sites lose visitors and won’t reach as many with a reduced rank.
Of course, you can fix that; just a few steps will let you greatly improve WordPress performance.
Pick a Good Hosting Plan
Whether you already have a hosting plan or not, the first thing to do is evaluate a provider to see whether you’re getting the best deal. After all, if your server can’t rapidly process PHP and MySQL, then nothing you do with them will get your WordPress site to optimal speeds.
Performance services are capable of monitoring your server’s response time. Be sure to test similar websites along with your own and see whether or not there is a discrepancy. For example, if you run a review website with images, be sure to look at the response time of other websites that provide image reviews.
Sometimes the hosting company itself isn’t to blame, however; the real problem could be your specific hosting plan providing insufficient resources. Many customers look to save money by opting for shared hosting plans, but they’re most likely to undergo slower load times. This is because the same server has to split resources across hundreds of sites.
This means you’ll need to get the resources that your website needs. If your website requires an upgrade, you’ll need to get a better hosting plan.
Pick a Responsive WordPress Theme
Using a poorly coded theme with frequent use of images forces weight that your page doesn’t need. It’s easy to use a quality theme that only takes up a few megabytes of space suitable for desktop and mobile devices alike. Such a theme will also dramatically reduce loading time.
The only tricky thing is that most developers have optimized their demonstration websites with content delivery networks and cache techniques. In other words, trial and error will be the only way to know which WordPress theme is actually speedy.
Much like theme developers do for their demonstration websites, you can also install a cache to improve WordPress performance. In fact, it’s essential for any website gaining plenty of traffic. A cache saves a page and shows the snapshot to the next user to arrive. This reduces load time since it doesn’t need to be created at the request of every user. Several WordPress cache plugins exist, both free and paid versions.
Monitor Plugin Use
Speaking of plugins, you don’t want to take on more than necessary; this is another major cause for slow WordPress performance. Make sure you only install plugins considered absolutely necessary; anything that you’d like to add because it “might be nice” can be coded into the theme itself or evaluated for speed performance.
Research comes in handy here as well; there are a few plugins that the community knows causes WordPress to slow down. This poor coding may be due to frequent calls, pinging an external server or updating parts of the database. Such plugins bottleneck the CPU and could cause the server to go dark.
It’s not uncommon to use stock photo websites to provide pictures for their WordPress blog. The only problem is that most downloaded files are too big to use on the website as-is. Because of this, they should be cropped in Paint, GIMP or Photoshop. Most themes can display images 500px in width well.
It’s also a good idea to know which image extension you should be using. Pictures taken with a camera and without much writing will work best as a JPEG. Simple images that may feature writing but no other fancy effects can be saved as PNG. Images that are meant to move for a short number of frames should be saved as GIF.
Each of these common file types has their advantages. If you’re not sure which one you should use, the best way to teach yourself is to save the same file in all three of the formats. After that, examine the quality of the picture and how much space it takes up. This will give you a sense of which file types work best for reducing the size of which types of pictures.
Finally, always make sure your WordPress site has been upgraded to the latest version. This is because each upgrade serves to fix performance problems and security bugs from the previous version.
These days, it’s no longer just an option to optimize your website; between Google’s new emphasis on speed and the likelihood that customers will click away, it’s critical to improve the performance of your website if you want it to succeed. Many may believe that you need to be a WordPress expert to make it an optimal blog, but these tips should prove that this is not the case.