How to speed up your WordPress site
Jul 16, 2018
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Jul 16, 2018
When it comes to visitors, you only have a few precious seconds to engage them and convince them to remain on your site. If they are forced to wait longer than a few seconds for the page to load, they will lose patience and go elsewhere. Such is the fickle nature of the modern internet user.
You need a site that is powerful and adaptive – and this is what WordPress delivers – but it must also be quick and responsive, whether the visitor is on a mobile device or using a standard desktop computer. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the best ways to improve the speed of your WordPress site.
WordPress has thousands of free, very attractive themes you can choose from for your site, but not all themes are created equal. Some themes have a much more bloated framework (the code library that underlies a theme and dictates how it can be developed and how it works) and this translates to a much slower performance. The default WordPress theme ‘Twenty Fifteen’ is very well optimised and fast, but others are much more cumbersome and heavyweight.
Consult the thriving and robust WordPress community if you’re not sure about the speed benefits of a specific theme. Alternately, you can always perform speed tests once you’ve got your site set up and see for yourself what the user experience is like. A good WordPress developer will also be able to offer sound advice in this area, laying out the speed benefits of different themes.
WordPress comes with a host of immensely useful – and free – plugins covering everything from checkout options to stock control, and some of the most useful are those that help with caching.
A good caching plugin – W3 Total Cache is the most popular, with over a million active installs – can provide a dramatic uptick in the load time of pages. A good caching plugin will make your site feel smooth and responsive for potential customers, mitigating the dreaded slow load times that can have a real impact on conversions.
If you run an ecommerce store, of course pictures of your products are going to feature prominently. The modern internet is so geared toward visual engagement and stimulation that you’d have to be crazy not to use high quality images. Unfortunately, poorly optimised images are one of the main causes of site slowdown.
In order to avoid this issue, there a few ways to optimise images so they still look great but won’t slow down your site.
Compressing your images is the best way to ensure they don’t reduce your WordPress site to a grinding halt. TinyPNG is a good online resource for this, as you just drag and drop your images into the site and choose the amount of compression you want. But there are also plugins like Smush Image Compression, which is a very popular image compression tool that is available and ready to go when you’re using WordPress for your business site. And, of course, it’s free!
A content delivery network – or ‘CDN’ as they are commonly known – basically takes the files present on your site and puts them on different servers around the world. Then, when a potential customer visits your site, the files are delivered to them from a server that is close to their location. What this means is a faster browsing experience for them, and a better chance of engagement and conversions for you.
Of course, there are a variety of CDN plugins available for WordPress, some better than others. A good WordPress developer will be able to steer you in the right direction to meet your CDN needs.
If you want to optimise your WordPress site and get the best results, contact us today. We are expert WordPress developers, with years of experience and the knowledge to make your WordPress site the best it can be.