In this day and age, the speed of a website has an enormous influence over the business in general.
Learning how to tune up your WordPress site can be a very beneficial skill for you as the owner of a website.
The reason why the speed of the website is extremely important is that it influences a lot of things like traffic rates, bounce rates, conversion rates, customer experience, and more.
Eventually, all of those things lead to influencing the profit.
That is why in this article I will try to get into why the speed of the website is important, which things influence the speed, how you can measure your website’s speed.
After that, I will give you some tips and techniques that you can implement or pay attention to so your WordPress site will load faster.
Why is site speed important?
Before we get deeper into this subject, let’s start with the basics. Site speed is extremely important. But why?
- First impression: the speed of the site is the first impression your site will leave on visitors and first impressions matter. Customers on the internet make an instant judgment about your business by visiting your site. User experience is extremely important when it comes to first impressions, and how fast or slow your website loads is a big part of the UX. Slow-loading websites often give out an impression of untrustworthy and insecure.
- Expectations: the improvement of the internet and constant evolution creates certain expectations for the users. In the past, we would wait for a page to load for even minutes, but today’s standards are far from that. We demand fast sites, and we expect businesses to have them too. Moreover, if the brand is established people tend to be more patient like for example if your Facebook is not loading. But for small businesses and people that are first coming to your page, the patience is quite low.
- Good user experience: it is what makes you stand out from the competition. If you really offer a great UX you can make a deep impression on your customers. A good UX is always simple and fast. This means that you can’t offer a good UX without first offering great speed. Slow-loading websites frustrate people, and frustrated people do not have a good user experience.
- Lost conversions: patience is scarce among internet users. 40% of them will leave your website if it loads for more than 3 seconds. That is a huge portion of visitors to lose for a thing that you can work on and improve. You lose visitors-you lose money. It’s just the way things work.
- Google rank: there is not a website out there (at least a good one) that doesn’t thrive to rank better on Google. Having a better Google rank can truly bring success to your business. At Google, they truly appreciate speed because they are trying to make the whole web as fast as possible. That is why speed is taken into account when pages rank and not just on Google, but also on other search engines.
Things that influence site speed
The speed of any website is a result of many complex things. I will mention a few to give you an idea of what those things could be:
- The server and hosting technology: there are different types of hosting that influence the speed. Also, the technology that is used in the servers both hardware and software plays a role. Things like is the server using the latest versions of HTML, PHP, etc, SSD hard drives memory, and more. The server location plays a role in the speed too. Servers that are closer to the visitors requesting the site are generally faster.
- The software powering the site: in this case, it’s WordPress. How it’s built and on which principle works is relevant to the speed. Moreover, WordPress has tons of plugins, themes, and other add-ons. Although they make the sites better, they can also make the sites slower by adding extra code that has to load.
- Devices of users: determine how fast will the site pop on the screen on the user. The majority of users use mobile devices nowadays, which means they often have less processing power and slower internet. There is nothing you can do to influence other people’s devices, of course, but you should keep this in mind when you are making your website.
Testing site speed
Before you try to improve your site speed, you should actually know how fast or slow your site is at the moment.
There are some free tools out there that can measure your site speed, but be aware that the results on all of them might differ.
Do proper research before trusting a certain tool.
Some often used tools for testing the speed of your site are:
How to speed up WordPress site
It’s time to get into what you can do to improve the speed of your WordPress site.
1. Choose a good host
Shared hosting providers are looking good on paper with their offers of unlimited bandwidth, emails, domains, etc.
But the hosting of your website is something that influences the speed quite a lot.
Shared hosting can fail you in times where there is peak traffic and overall provide a poor performance since they are shared with many other websites.
I understand that the prices are more affordable that way, but the web-hosting industry has really advanced and the cloud hosting providers lowered their price quite a lot.
The host is the place where your website is housed and it is not the place where you can skim since here you get what you pay for.
Do the proper research before you make a decision.
2. Use a caching plugin
Plugins are quite useful in WordPress and some of the best ones when it comes to speeding up a site are the caching plugins.
These plugins store the final view of the site and the future visitors get that version.
Your WordPress won’t have to generate the site to every person that visits the site in the future and hence make it quite faster to load.
Do your research or speak with your host provider for the right type of plugin to use for cache since some of them might be too complex and end up making more damage than help out.
Keep in mind that a lot of websites use these plugins to cover up deeper issues with performance.
Avoid doing that. The cache plugin should be an additional help, not a fix up for all the other problems like low-quality hosting, slow themes, bloated databases, etc.
3. Optimize images
Images are something that makes your website what it is. You can’t possibly skim on images that make the design of your website alive.
Good visuals can truly motivate people to keep reading your content, but if they aren’t properly optimized they can do a lot of harm to the website.
Images that are not optimized properly are one of the most common reasons behind speed problems.
Use photo editing software to optimize the images before you upload them to your website.
I assume that you are using very good, high-quality images which in their original formats are huge files.
You have to compress them and make them tolerable to be on the website.
4. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Chances are, the people that are visiting your site are accessing it from all around the world which means the loading speed differs for them.
Using a CDN can help you by keeping the loading speed of the site low for visitors that access the site from certain countries.
The CDN will keep a copy of the website in several data centers in different places.
Its primary function is to serve the site to a visitor from a location that is as close to the visitor as possible.
5. Verify Your Plugins
Another thing you have to take into consideration if you want to keep the speed on your site on a good level are plugins that might be inactive or for some reason do not work properly.
Verify if the current plugins are working correctly since sometimes they might cause some lagging in the loading of your website.
Test a little bit about how fast they are working. For this testing, you can get another plugin Query Monitor which will report any potential problems that the plugins cause your website.
Try to remove or change the plugins that are causing problems, and also keep in mind that even having too much of well-functioning plugins can be slowing down your website.
6. Use Speed Optimized Theme
There are some amazing-looking themes for your website that are in fact coded in a not very optimized way and can damage the speed of your website.
When you are selecting a theme, make sure that it’s a theme that works smoothly.
It’s always better to pick a theme that is not too complex and filled with different types of features, animations, layouts, etc.
You better choose a theme that is simple and then add these features via WordPress plugins.
7. Optimize the Homepage
This is not a button you can click and your whole homepage will be optimized.
It is a sum of a few things that you can make to ensure that the homepage loading time is not too big.
This is very important because the homepage is the most probable place where the visitors will land so you want to make it as fast as you possibly can.
Things you can do to improve the homepage are:
- Show fewer posts on the page
- Show only necessary sharing widgets on the homepage
- Discard inactive plugins and widgets
- Be minimalistic, focus on the content, not widgets
- Have a clean, clear design
- Show excerpts, not full posts
There are many other things that can be done to influence the speed of your site like:
- Optimizing WordPress database
- Disabling hotlinking
- Disabling pingbacks and trackbacks
- Enabling GZIP compression
- Use lazy loading
- Use latest PHP version
- Update WordPress frequently
Making your website faster will help you out immensely in improving the user experience thus making your business thrive.
Big loading time is bad no matter if it’s on the PC version or mobile devices.
The benefits of having a fast loading website, as discussed earlier, as quite important for the success of your business overall.
You will achieve better UX, better SERPs rankings, more conversions, lower bounce rates, etc.
If you found this post helpful, check out these other posts related to WordPress:
- How To Create An Awesome Logo For Your WordPress Site
- 5 Features That Make WordPress Great 
- How To Create An Awesome Logo For Your WordPress Site
Leave a comment letting me know what else you would be interested in for my next posts.