When speaking about website speed and its loading times, it’s crucial for you, as a small business owner, to comprehend the value of loading times. Your website’s speed directly impacts both the user experience and search engine rankings. For example, 40 percent of internet users stated that they will abandon a webpage that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Below are 9 steps you need to take to speed up your WordPress website and enhance your users’ experience and search engine rankings.
1. Test Your Site’s Speed
Before you optimize your site’s speed, you first need to know the initial speed of your website. Here are a few tools you can use to do this:
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Pingdom Website Speed Test
2. Get A Reliable Hosting Provider
If you are running an e-commerce site or your website has a ton of content like videos and images, then you need to make it a priority to find a trusted hosting provider. If you are serious about your small business’s website, you will probably want to ditch your free hosting and get WPEngine- fast and reliable hosting for WordPress website’s
However, if that’s more than you need there are loads of hosting options, like Business Deacon. When deciding on a hosting provider there are certain to be a factors that are important you will want to think about. Depending, these may include:
- Fully managed
- Free domain name
- SSL service
- Website migration
- Technical specifications
- Daily website backups
- Chat, email or telephone support
- FTP/SFTP accessibility
- Total ratings/reviews
3. Delete Unnecessary Plugins
If you are wondering if having a lot of plugins slows down your WordPress site’s speed, the answer is maybe. It’s actually based on the size of your plugins, if they are compatible with one another, if there is overlapping functionality, and if they are well coded plugins.
We know it’s tempting to download all the cool plugins you see, but try to only install up plugins that you need. And make sure you delete plugins you are no longer using (no sense in being a plugin hoarder) and update your plugins when needed to keep them in tip top shape.
- Test your site’s speed (and run a site backup to be safe) before and after installing a new plugin
- Use a plugin functionality profiler (we recommend the P3 Plugin Performance Profiler and Query Monitor)
- Elect for plugins with many functions (such as Jetpack – WordPress’ all-in-one plugin)
(Recommended reading: 5 Must Have Lead Generation WordPress Plugins)
4. Enable WordPress Caching
One way to ensure improvement of your website’s speed is by setting up caching (even WordPress says so.) It can boost your website’s loading speed when you’re using a service that is shared. It works by displaying a backup of your site instead of executing PHP and making database calls for each and every visit.
WordPress is currently using this procedure in multiple places of its internal functioning. However, you can boost the amount of caching of additional WordPress processesby installing cache plugins such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.
5. Use a ‘Content Delivery Network’
A Content Delivery Network, or CDN for short, is a the systematic backbone of the Internet and is in charge of caching the static content of your website. Your website’s static content is saved on servers all around. The server that’s closest to your visitor will recover your content and send it when a visitor comes to your site.
Apart from speeding up the delivery of your content to your visitors, another of those advantages of using a CDN with WordPress is that it reduces your latency since it decreases the distance between the server and the endpoint system (compared to shared hosting or managed hosting providers that only uses one server.) Some of the best free CDN providers include CloudFlare, Jetpack’s Photon and CDN77 (which has a 14-day free trial.)
6. Upgrade Your PHP Version
PHP is a scripting language to create dynamic websites. WordPress relies on it to execute your website’s own code. The version of PHP has a huge effect on the performance of your WordPress website.
Upgrading may or might not be your choice, however. To see if your server has been upgraded or when it will be, check with your hosting provider. Check with your hosting provider to to learn the timeline for updating or to determine if your server was upgraded. Some previous functions may no longer be supported, so be certain to thoroughly test your site (plugins & theme included) after updating.
7. Optimize Images
- Resize and crop images before uploading using basic picture editing program
- Compress and optimize images before uploading with Kraken.io (a simple and free optimizer)
- Shrink uploaded images through image optimization plugins like WP Smush, WP Smush Guru (our favorite) or the Ewww Picture Optimizer
- Disable image hotlinking (or at least take action to stop hotlinking)
- Define picture sizes in your WordPress theme
- Defer image loading until desired with a lazy loading WordPress plugin
(Recommended reading: 8 Places to Get High Quality Free Images for Your WordPress Website)
8. Limit Post Revisions and Clean Out Your Database
Sometimes your database will include unused and duplicated data that you don’t need so take a moment to cleaning up your WordPress database. Removing this data can decrease the size of your database, which will enhance your website’s performance.
Post revisions take up space inside your database, so it is a good idea to limit the amount of drafts saved to a minimum of 3 or 2 to serve as your backup copies. Add this line of code to your wp-config.php file:
define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3 );
Alternatively, you can use a plugin. One popular alternative is WP Optimize, which includes simple alternatives for cleaning up your articles, comments, trackbacks, metadata and much more.
9. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks
By default, WordPress sends and receives trackbacks and pings to other sites and from. This occurs when other websites mention your website. This may result in added links that irrelevant to your website, which may cause confusion and affect your website’s performance.
To disable notifications on pingbacks and trackbacks on your WordPress website, login to the admin dashboard, then go to “Settings” – “Discussion”. Here, uncheck the “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)” option.
Possessing a solid foundation on the speed of your website will not only optimize your website for search engines but your users’ experience. It can help you a great deal in driving more traffic to your site, and it may even increase the amount of users that become prospects.
Need help with speeding up your WordPress website? Submit your question and we’ll answer it during our next Webcast Wednesday!
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