Do you want to speed up your WordPress site? Fast loading pages improve the website speed, user experience, increase your page views, and help your WordPress SEO.
Speed is essential for a website. It is so important because Google has made it an actual ranking factor. With time, Google takes action to improve the loading speed of websites by providing a set of tools for developers and web admins.
In this article, we will discuss how to improve the website speed on Google ranking.
We have tried to cover everything from why speed is important, what slows down your WordPress site, and actionable steps that you can take to improve your WordPress speed immediately.
What is Google PageSpeed Insights?
PageSpeed Insight is an online tool provided by Google. It is used to identify web performance issues on sites. The most related to technical SEO issues, the tools also analyze the site from a user Experience and accessibility point of view.
You enter the URL there, and after a few seconds, the tool will return a page with some results regarding your website’s performance. There will be a general score, which is an average of multiple factors.
Below you can see detailed information about what affects your speed. It has mod page speed, a server module used to solve these speed issues, and the full-fledged lighthouse, available in Chrome. There are also some Chrome Extensions related to Google PageSpeed Insights.
Why is Speed Important for Your WordPress Site?
One study found that from 2000 to 2016, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds. You have a little time to show users your content and convince them to stay on your website.
A slow website means users will potentially leave your website before it even loads.
According to a strangeLoop case study that involved Amazon, Google, and other more significant sites, a 1-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
Google and other search engines have already started penalizing slower websites by pushing them down in the search results, which is lower traffic for slow websites.
How to check your WordPress Website Speed?
Often beginners think that their website is ok. But that is a HUGE mistake.
When you frequently visit your website, modern browsers like Chrome store your website in the cache and automatically prefetch it as soon as you start typing an address.
But a normal user who is visiting your website for the first time may not have the same experience.
Users in different geographical locations have entirely different experiences. For that, we recommend that you test your website speed using a tool like IsltWP’s WordPress speed test.
It is a free online tool that will allow you to test your website’s speed. A good page load time is under 2 seconds.
You can make it faster, the better it is. A few milliseconds of improvements here and there will add up to shaving off half or even a full second from your load time.
What is Slows Down Your WordPress Website?
Your speed test report likely has multiple recommendations for improvement. Most of that is technical jargon which is hard for beginners to understand.
Learning what slows down your website is the key to improving performance and making smarter long-term decisions.
Below, the primary causes for a slow WordPress website are:
- Web Hosting
- WordPress Configuration
- Page size
- Bad plugins
- External scripts
Now you know what does slow down your WordPress website, let’s look at how to speed up your WordPress website.
Importance of Good WordPress Hosting:
WordPress hosting services will play an essential role in website performance. A good shared hosting provider like Bluehost or Siteground will take the extra measure to optimize your website for performance.
On shared hosting, you can share the server resources with many other customers. If your neighboring site gets a lot of traffic, then it can impact the entire server performance. That turn will slow down your website.
Using a managed WordPress hosting service gives you the most optimized server configurations to run WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting companies will offer automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and more advanced security configurations to protect your website.
Speeding Up WordPress in Easy Steps
We know that making changes to your website configuration can be terrifying for beginners, especially if you are not a tech-geek. Don’t worry, you are not alone. We are helping thousands of WordPress users improve their WordPress performance.
You install a WordPress Caching Plugin:
WordPress pages are dynamic. It means they are built on the fly every time someone visits a post or page on your website. To create your pages, WordPress has to run a process to find the required information, put it all together, and then you can display it to your user.
This process involves many steps, and it can slow down your website when multiple people visit it at once.
We advise every WordPress site to use a Caching plugin. Caching makes your WordPress site anywhere from 2x to 5x faster. Caching plugin makes a copy of the page after the first load and then serves that cached version to every subsequent user.
You can see in the graphics above when a user visits your WordPress site, and your server retrieves information from a MySQL database and your PHP files.
It is a long process, but you can skip a lot of it when you use caching instead. There are many good WordPress caching plugins, but we advise using either WP Rocket or WP Super Cache plugin.
Many WordPress hosting companies like Bluehost and SiteGround offer caching solutions as well.
Optimize Images for Speed:
Images will do bring life to your content and help boost engagement. One research has seen that using colored visuals makes people 80% more likely to read your content.
If your images are not optimized, then they will do hurt more than helping. Non-optimized photos have one of the most common speed issues that we see on beginner websites.
You upload a photo directly from your phone or camera, then you use photo editing software to optimize your images for the web. Based on the image file format and the compression you choose in your editing software, you can decrease your image size by up to 5x.
Now we will know that what is the difference between PNG and JPEG?
The PNG image format is uncompressed. When you compress an image it loses some information, and then an uncompressed image will higher quality with more detail. It is larger file size, so it takes longer to load.
JPEG is a compressed file format that slightly reduces image quality, but it is significantly smaller.
How do we decide which image format to choose?
- If our photo or image has many different colors, then we use JPEG.
- If it is a simpler image or we need a transparent image, then we use PNG.
|Image Format||Image Size|
|Photoshop Optimized JPEG High||33 KB|
|TinyPNG Optimized||57 KB|
|JPEG Mini Optimized||70 KB|
|Photoshop Optimized JPEG Max||93 KB|
|Non-Optimized Max||119 KB|
|Photoshop Optimized PNG||135 KB|
|Non-Optimized PNG||145 KB|
WordPress Performance Optimization Best Practices:
After installing a caching plugin and optimizing your mages, then your site will start loading much faster. If you want to keep your website as quickly as possible, you will need to use the best practices listed.
Keep Your WordPress Site Updated:
As a well-maintained open source project, WordPress is updated frequently. Each update will not only offer new features but will also fix security issues and bugs. You will update regular your WordPress theme and plugins.
It is your responsibility to keep your WordPress site, theme, and plugins update to the latest versions as a website owner. If you can not do it, then your site will make slow and unreliable and make you vulnerable to security threats.
Optimize Background Processes:
Background processes in WordPress are scheduled tasks that run in the background of your WordPress site. Below some examples:
- WordPress Backup plugin tasks
- WordPress cron jobs to publish scheduled posts
- WordPress cron jobs check for updates
- Search engines and other crawlers trying to fetch content
Other background processes like backup plugins and excessive crawling by search engines can slow down a website. You need to make sure that your WordPress backup plugin only runs during low traffic time on your website for backup plugins.
If you want more frequent backups, such as real-time backup, then you can use a SaaS solution not to tax your server. You keep an eye on your crawl reports in the Google Search console for crawling.
Use a Content Delivery Network:
If you use Content Delivery Network, it can help speed up loading for all of your visitors. Content Delivery Network is a network made up of servers all around the world. Each server stores static files used to make up your website.
When you use a CDN, every time a user visits your website, they serve those static files from whichever server closest to them. Your web hosting server will also be faster since the CDN has done much work.
Do not Upload Audio/Video Files Directly to WordPress:
If you want, you can directly upload audio and video files to your WordPress site. It will automatically display them in an HTML 5 player.
But you should not do it.
Hosting audio and videos costs your bandwidth. You can change overage fees by your web hosting company, or they may even shut down your site altogether, even if your plan includes unlimited bandwidth.
Instead, you use audio and video hosting services like YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, SoundCloud, etc.
WordPress has a built-in video embed feature, you can copy and paste your video’s URL directly into your post, and it will embed automatically.
Use a Theme Optimized For Speed:
When you select a theme for your website, it is essential to pay special attention to speed optimization. Some beautiful and impressive-looking themes have poorly coded, and they can slow your site way down.
It is usually better to go with a simpler theme than to choose a theme that’s bloated with a complex layout, flashy animations, and other unnecessary features. If you want, you can add those features use quality WordPress plugins.
There are many premium WordPress theme shops such as StudioPress, Themify, CSSIgniter offer themes. Those are well coded and optimized for speed.
Use Faster Plugins:
Poorly coded WordPress plugins often load too much bloat whether your site needs it or not. It increases your page load speed and slows down your site.
We often publish our expert pick of best WordPress plugin showcases to help you choose the best plugins. We special attention to ease of use, user experience, and, most importantly performance.
You follow some of our picks for the most common WordPress plugin categories.
- Envira Gallery
- Shared Counts
Simply run speed tests before and after installing a plugin to compare its impact on performance.
Fine-Tuning WordPress for Speed:
Using the WordPress optimization best practices and essential speed tips listed above, you can see a significant improvement in your site’s loading times. But every fraction of a second counts. If you want to get the fastest speed possible, you will make a few more changes.
The following tips have a little more technical, with some requiring you to modify your site files or have a basic understanding of PHP. You want to make sure to backup your site first, just in case.
Split Long Posts into Pages:
Readers love blog posts that are longer and more in-depth. Longer posts even tend to rank higher in search engines.
If you want to publish long-form articles with lots of images, it can hurt your loading times. Instead, you consider splitting up your longer posts into multiple pages.
WordPress will come with built-in functionality to do that. You add simply the < ! – – next page – – > tag in your article where you want to split it into the next page.
You Reduce External HTTP Requests:
Many WordPress plugins and themes load all kinds of flies from other websites. These files include scripts, stylesheets, and images from external resources like Google, Facebook, analytics services, etc.
Many of these files have optimized to load as quickly as possible, so it is faster than hosting them on your website.
If your plugins make many of these requests, then it can slow down your website significantly. You reduce all these external HTTP requests by disabling scripts and styles or merging them into one file.
You Reduce Database Calls:
Unfortunately, there are many poorly coded WordPress themes out there. They will ignore WordPress standard practices and end up make direct database calls or too many unnecessary requests to the database. It slows down your server by giving it too much work to do.
- <html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml” dir=”<?php language_attributes(); ?>”>
- <head profile=”http://gmpg.org/xfn/11″>
- <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”<?php bloginfo(‘html_type’); ?>
- charset=<?php bloginfo(‘charset’); ?>” />
You can not blame theme developers for that. They have not other way to find out what language your site. If you want to customize your site using a child theme, you can replace these database calls with your specific information to reduce all database calls.
The most significant advantage of lawyering your website’s loading time is that it will help tremendously improve your visitor’s experience. It will improve your ranking in the SERPs.
Reduced bandwidth usage of your hosting and faster site loading speed on the client-side benefit you both in the short and long run.