Did you know that one of the reasons people leave websites is because it takes to long to load?
Slow load times can be one of the major reasons your site is losing visitors. WordPress is well designed and generally runs quickly.
But what if your WordPress blog is running slowly?
Luckily, there are easy ways you can make your site load as quickly as possible. WordPress optimization is something that should be done by every site owner using the popular platform.
Many bloggers and website owners get WordPress up and running and think they are done. However, with a little extra time spent to optimize it, their site could be running much faster.
This post will look at 10 ways for how to speed up WordPress to optimize your blog. These ways are easy to set up, and can be used right away.
One last thing: to test the speed of your site you can use the Pingdom website speed test tool. Test your site before you optimize WordPress to see just how much load time you are saving.
Let’s take a look.
1) Use A Good Web Host
This one goes without saying. Without a good host, your efforts to speed up WordPress will not fix your slow speed, even if you do other things.
Not all web hosts are created equal and the same goes for hosting plans. It is important to choose a reputable host that will host your site on a quality, fast server and you should avoid using free web hosting that always have speed issues.
The hosting plan you choose will also affect the speed of your WordPress website. For most website owners and especially beginners, a shared plan is enough. However, if you need more resources you can always consider upgrading your hosting package which can be done down the road.
BlueHost is one of the best hosting providers, especially for beginners. They provide 24/7 support, quality service at the most affordable prices and they are recommended by WordPress themselves.
Choosing a good web host is an important decision and will ultimately be one of the deciding factors for your site speed. If you think your current hosting plan is the problem, you might want to switch to them today.
2) Choose The Right WordPress Theme
When it comes to speeding up WordPress, you will not have much luck if you have a poorly designed, slow theme to work with.
The theme you use on your site will play a major role in how quickly your site loads. A theme that is poorly designed and is bloated with unnecessary features can slow down your site.
In general, choosing the best premium WordPress themes will help ensure that it will be fast-loading.
Check to see that the theme states that it is fast loading and also look at the reviews. To get an idea, you can also do a test on the theme demo to see how fast it loads.
I can personally recommend from MyThemeShop because I actually use them and they have the best speed optimized themes on the market.
3) Install A Caching Plugin
In the most basic terms, WordPress caching works by storing a copy of your site to then show to your visitors, which in turn speeds up the load time.
There are a few great WordPress plugins out there that can do this for you easily.
Here are two of the most popular caching plugins for speeding up WordPress.
- WP Super Cache: Over 1 million downloads.
- W3 Total Cache: One of the most popular WordPress caching plugins, W3 Total Cache comes with many options and features.
Simply install the plugin and set it up for your blog. Caching can dramatically improve your WordPress speed. You can test the difference by checking before and after with the speed test tool.
4) Keep WordPress Up To Date
Keeping all elements of your WordPress blog up to date will ensure you are not losing any speed.
Make sure you keep your WordPress version up to date, as well as update your themes and plugins.
Staying up to date is important not only for the speed of your site but also for security. Installing the most recent updates will ensure you are getting any recent security and bug fixes if there are any.
As you most likely know updating WordPress is easy, and you get a notification whenever a plugin needs to be updated. Simply head over to Dashboard > Updates to see any new updates that need to be taken care of.
5) Optimize Your Images
This is something that many beginners often overlook, but can be one of the most important things for site speed.
Optimizing your images can help you save server speed and also dramatically increase your page load.
To optimize WordPress images, there are many plugins out there that are available. Here are a couple of the best ones:
- EWW Image Optimizer
- Tiny PNG
- WP Smush It
Install the plugin you wish to use and make sure you set it to automatically optimize your images for you.
6) Remove Unnecessary Plugins
This is something that can easily make room on your site and increase your speed.
Sometimes you may install a plugin to try it out or use it only for a short amount of time. What some people do not realize is that the more plugins you have, the more room they take up on your site.
An excessive amount of plugins can bloat your WordPress and can slow your site down.
The first step is to decide which plugins you actually use and then remove the rest.
Removing any plugins that you do not use will help you speed up your blog.
Do not worry, this is not as hard as it may seem. Once again, there is a plugin that will do this for you.
Minification is the process of taking away unnecessary information and reduces the size of your files.
Smaller file size is good and lessens the amount of time it takes for your site to load.
You can do this manually, but there is a much easier way with WordPress. Once again you can merely install a plugin to minify files for you to help speed up WordPress.
Autoptimize is a plugin that will do the minification for you. According to the plugin website:
Autoptimize speeds up your website and helps you save bandwidth by aggregating and minimizing JS, CSS and HTML.
Simply install the plugin, set up the options, and it will do the rest.
8) Turn Off Pingbacks And Trackbacks
Pingbacks and trackbacks are a built-in feature in WordPress.
They work by notifying other sites when someone links to them. When someone links to your site and you have this option on, a trackback will be displayed on the post.
This feature is not generally used as much anymore, and can add extra work for your blog.
To turn off pingbacks and trackbacks, go to Settings > Discussion. Then uncheck the box that says “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles.”
Here is some more information on pingbacks and trackbacks.
9) Enable A CDN
A CDN (content delivery network) can greatly enhance the speed of your blog all over the world.
A content delivery network works by distributing your blog across a number of servers spread across the world.
When a user goes to access your site, they will use the closest server to their geographical location, speeding up the time it takes to access your site.
For example, here is a visualization of CloudFlare’s CDN:
Two of the most popular content delivery networks include CloudFlare and MaxCDN. CloudFlare offers a free plan.
10) Optimize Your Homepage For Speed
Your home page is going to be one of the most important parts of your blog, so you want to make sure you optimize WordPress to make it load fast.
Most often a website’s homepage is one of the pages that gets the most traffic. You will want it to load as fast as possible.
This is one area that is often overlooked when it comes to speeding up WordPress. However, there are a few quick things you can do to optimize your homepage for speed. Consider doing these things:
- Keep the design minimal and make sure any images are properly optimized.
- Use image sprites for icons.
- Remove unneccesary widgets and other plugins.
- Limit the number of posts shown and only show post excerpts.
This last one is especially important. Without limiting the number of posts you show, you will have a long stream of posts.
To set the limit for the number of posts shown go to Settings > Reading. Then set the number of post you want to show in the “Blog pages show at most” section. To show only post excerpts, select “Summary” in the “For each article in a feed, show” section.
Your homepage is one of the first things you should optimize to speed up a WordPress blog.
Site speed can play a major factor in the success of your blog.
Think about this: 47% of people expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. The majority of people expect a fast site and will leave quickly if they have to wait too long.
A poorly optimized WordPress blog can not only cause visitors to become frustrated and leave, but also affects your website’s SEO.
Seach engines look at site speed as a ranking factor. That means a slow site can lower your ability to rank in search engine results pages.
With these 10 tips, you can learn how to speed up WordPress easily. WordPress optimization does not take much time to set up and lasts for the duration of your blog.
Take the time to ensure your blog runs fast today. By speeding up WordPress, you will be checking one more thing off your list for achieving blogging success.