If a website loads slowly from the beginning, I will leave and look elsewhere – the poor user experience already dampening my mood. And I know many online users who would agree.
A fast website immediately creates a positive user experience, increased engagement, and improved search engine ranking. On the other hand, a slow website can frustrate users, increase bounce rates, and negatively impact your search engine ranking.
“Can you make my website faster?” is a frequently asked question from clients on our website projects. Well, in essence, yes. A slow website may be caused by a variety of factors, which we can troubleshoot and eventually optimise for better performance.
In this article, I will share five tips to speed up your WordPress site and boost user experience. But, before we dive into the tips, let’s look at a few stats to reiterate why website speed matters:
Website speed is an essential factor that affects your website’s success.
According to a study by Google, the probability of a user bouncing from a website increases by 32% as the page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds. A one-second delay in page load time can cause up to a 7% decrease in conversions.
How to Test Your Website Speed
Before jumping head first into optimising your website’s speed, you need to identify the current speed the website loads. There are several tools available to test your website’s speed, but the most popular ones are Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix.
Google PageSpeed Insights analyses your website’s content and provides suggestions on how to improve your website’s speed. On the other hand, GTmetrix provides a detailed report on your website’s speed performance, including page load time, page size, and the number of requests which provides great insights into where a fault may be.
Factors That Affect WordPress Site Speed
Your WordPress site’s speed may be impacted by a number of factors. Some of these may be:
Web hosting is a crucial factor that affects your website’s speed. A slow web host can significantly impact your website’s speed. This is often caused by the type of hard drive RAM and bandwidth that your host transfers. All of which will ultimately affect the performance of your website.
Therefore, it is essential to choose a reliable web host that provides fast server response time and uptime. If you’re not sure which web hosting service to choose from, contact us for recommendations.
Your WordPress theme can also affect your website’s speed. Some themes are poorly coded and a site built using these themes can slow down your website. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a lightweight and well-coded theme. WordPress has an extensive range of both free and paid themes. Although the common belief is that a premium theme will be of higher quality, many free themes offer the same functionality and quality. Although, that being said, paid themes have many upsides that the free versions lack. It is often recommended to rather spend the extra bucks to ensure your theme is of the highest quality.
Plugins are crucial to adding functionality to your website and creating a great user experience. But because they take up plenty of your server’s processing power, a plugin can ultimately have a direct impact on your website’s speed. Many plugins used may not have been coded correctly, or have not been updated, which will cause a slower load time for your website.
It is crucial to install recommended plugins and to update these regularly.
WordPress Website Optimisation Techniques
Now that you know the factors that affect your WordPress site’s speed let’s talk about WordPress optimisation techniques.
Tip #1: Use a Caching Plugin
Caching plugins can significantly improve your website’s speed by storing a copy of your website’s pages and serving them to visitors. Your website will load faster as a result of fewer requests being sent to your server. W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are two popular caching plugins.
Tip #2: Optimise Images
Large images or videos can significantly slow down your website. Therefore, it is essential to optimise your images before uploading them to your website. Tools such as Smush or EWWW Image Optimiser are a great way to compress your images without losing quality before uploading them to your website.
Tip #3: Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a network of servers that are spread across the world and store a copy of your website’s content. Similar to a VPN or Firewall, a CDN can watch out for bots or bad traffic and block it from your site.
Ultimately, when a user visits your website, a CDN ensures that the content is delivered to the user from a server closest to them which speeds up the rate at which your content is delivered. Some popular CDN services include Cloudflare and MaxCDN (which is now Stackpath).
Tip #4: Optimise Your Database
Over time, your website’s database can become cluttered with unnecessary data, slowing down your website. A simple cleaning up of spam comments and deleting post revisions can improve your site. WP-Optimise or WP-Sweep are great plugins that can optimise your database.
Tip #5: Minimise HTTP Requests
In conclusion, website speed is not just an optional factor for your website’s success but a critical component that can make or break your online presence. With today’s fast-paced digital landscape, a slow website is a surefire way to lose visitors and damage your brand’s reputation. By optimising your website’s speed, you can improve user experience, increase traffic, and ultimately, boost your conversion rates. Don’t wait for slow loading times to cost you, valuable customers. Contact us today to learn how we can help you optimise your WordPress site’s speed and take your online business to the next level.