Research reveals that 47% of visitors to a site will bounce off on experiencing a load time of more than 2 seconds. A slow website might also hurt your rankings! In 2018, Google announced that speed is now very much a key factor in their ranking algorithm, particularly for mobile searches.
This is why as a WordPress (WP) site owner; you ought to place performance at the top of your priorities to grow your traffic, leads, and sales. Now, there are simple steps you can take to tune your WordPress site speed or performance. Let us take a deep dive and expound on some steps you can take:
Plug-ins are an excellent way to improve your WordPress website with additional features. However, too many plug-ins can lead to errors and performance issues for the end user. So, as a rule of thumb, deactivate any plug-in you are not using on your WP site. After installing a plug-in, you might want to uninstall the recent addition if you have noticed an error or significant change in your site’s loading speed. You can start by deactivating them until you determine which plug-in significantly reduces your load time. Once you declutter your site of unnecessary plug-ins, retain the ones you have left and only install the plug-ins you need.
Tip: Keep in mind that plug-ins could also pose a threat to your WP site security. It is yet another reason to watch out for the plug-ins you install.
If your website is not cached, WordPress creates a dynamic version of your site for visitors who require access. However, the number of queries needed to create a dynamic version might reduce your site speed. Caching your website significantly improves WordPress performance by reducing questions to your server. It will present your visitors with a static HTML version of your page.
Luckily, WordPress caching is super easy. If your hosting provider does not have a built-in caching process, you could use plug-ins like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache and start enjoying higher page speeds.
Your visitors access your website from various regions of the world. For instance, if someone is viewing your page from Australia, but your server is in Georgia, users will experience a slow load speed thanks to traffic routing on the web.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) will eliminate this problem by ensuring that the end user gets to your site faster regardless of location. One benefit of using a WordPress-managed host is that it comes with a robust CDN as part of the hosting package. However, if a CDN were not part of the package, it would help to take your time to find the right CDN for your WP site.
An SSL certificate provides a layer of encryption that makes it harder for hackers to infiltrate traffic in transit from your browser to the server and vice versa. In addition, SSL certificates work with HTTP/2, whose primary focus is to improve WordPress performance.
A website having an SSL certificate will load faster than one without HTTP/2. HTTP/2 also allows your browser to receive and request numerous web elements simultaneously. Your visitors will be extremely satisfied, as they will no longer have to wait too long for results.
Studies reveal that readers are more engaged when websites contain visual elements such as images. However, large images occupy lots of space on your site and significantly reduce your load speed. It would almost be criminal to sacrifice quality and upload low-resolution images to your site. The problem is that you would not want to upload content without images.
The best option would be to use tools that optimize your images and make them as small as possible without compromising quality. You could either use a web-based tool or install a plug-in that automatically optimizes your images before you upload them to your website server.
One of the most important ways to improve WordPress performance is to select an appropriate host. Most hosting providers have core features that help you skip the technicalities and work efficiently. However, it would be wise to clearly define your needs to choose the best hosting provider for your site.
For instance, a managed host would be the perfect option for you if you choose based on performance.
As you browse, we urge you not to be carried away with hosting providers that boast many features you skip past one that would significantly boost your performance.
Choosing a high-quality theme as you set up your site is also essential. You might be tempted to choose a WP theme with numerous flashy features. However, these feature-rich themes are bloated and it will reduce your WordPress Speed. So, choose a nice theme that only has the features you need.
Investing in a WordPress theme from a reputable source or vendor would also be wise. Avoid nulled themes or any theme from a pirated source. Again, WordPress makes it easy to include additional features to your site along the way, mostly via plug-ins.
Your WP site performance will depend on how fast your pages render. This is why you should check on aspects like the size of your images, the traffic you get, and the likes. The beauty is that many tools can help to increase your website performance. Start by running tests on your WP site; then, you can work to optimize and boost the performance.