Your WordPress site speed is huge when it comes to keeping people on your site and showing search engines that the website is loading quickly enough to offer a valuable user experience.
In short, if your website loads slowly, you run the risk of people navigating to other sites and there's a small chance you move up in the search engine rankings. Let's walk through a few ways to speed up WordPress to make your site appealing to users and search engines.
Start by using Pingdom to see what areas of your site need improving.
Hosting is Key
There are plenty of little tweaks to improve the speed on your website, but it all starts with website hosting. Some hosting companies provide better up-time, faster loads and overall higher performance.
It's worth noting that you also need to gradually upgrade your hosting plans if you start to see traffic increases.
Use a Stable Theme With Legitimate Support
Not all WordPress themes are made equal. Some are clunky, with unnecessary code and attributes that slow down your page loads. The problem with many themes is that it's difficult to find support and consistent updates to maintain a lightweight site.
We offer various free themes that are lightweight and professionally designed to keep your site running quick at all times. Premium themes are also great places to start since they typically respond to support questions and release updates to keep up with WordPress changes.
Boost to Hyperspeed with CDNs
CDNs, or content delivery networks, are comprised of numerous servers that are located all over the world. They work together to serve up your content as quickly as possible. CloudFlare offers a suitable CDN that integrates nicely with WordPress and only takes a few steps to setup. To learn more about CDNs, check out out our new series on CDNs for WordPress.
Deliver Cached Pages with a Plugin
Caching plugins basically take past instances of your pages and posts to serve them up quickly to your users.
Caching plugins help you optimize your databases and perform other functions like minify, object optimization, and some of them even hook up with your CDN.
Learn How to Optimize Your Images
Your images take a while to load depending how you set them up. We have a full guide on optimizing your images, but here are a few tips:
- Resize images, instead of letting WordPress dynamically resize them
- Shrink file sizes with options like TinyPNG
- Primarily use PNG files, but JPGs are nice for high-quality photos
- Try the Smush.it plugin to automatically shrink images upon upload
Optimize Your Database
Your WordPress Database is almost always going to become a mess if you don't install a plugin that helps contain the craziness. An overloaded WordPress database means trouble for the speed of your site, so use a plugin like WP-Optimize to clean up the database and even complete other tasks on this list like getting rid of trackbacks and removing spam.
When you write a blog post, how many times do you hit the Save button? Every time you click this button WordPress saves a draft that becomes unnecessary after you publish it. Use a plugin like Revision Control to prevent old saved drafts from cluttering your database.
Minimize Plugins and Spam
Always update your plugins and WordPress versions so they are running properly. It's also wise to keep your plugin count down. Go through your plugins and delete the ones that you don't need. Keep your spam under control with Akismet or other spam moderation options.
Show Fewer Posts on Your Homepage
Most visitors land on your homepage, so you want it to load up quick. Homepage kryptonite is when you have too many posts showing. Go to Settings > Reading and change how many posts show up.
If you have any questions about how to speed up WordPress, drop a line in the comments section below.