WordPress has transformed how content is created, designed, published and managed. It is a one-stop shop for everything websites. WordPress possess cutting edge features that have made the work of webmasters and bloggers very easy. You only need to register your WordPress account, and you are good to venture into the content creation world.
Maintenance and constant improvement are the key ingredients for perfection. Hence, as a website owner, you should dedicate most of your time assessing the metrics provided by WordPress. When you invest time and energy in managing your WordPress, you stand to benefit more because it is always updated and work optimally at all times.
To ensure that your WordPress will never give you problems, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information on WordPress speed and performance. This includes the need for a speedy WordPress, causes of a slower WordPress and the interventions to help speed it up.
Importance of A Fast WordPress Website
Human beings are known to be very impatient. A human being is only able to pay attention to a maximum of seven seconds. As a web owner, within this timeframe, you are required to have set up your page to load fully and managed to convince the users to stay on your page. Therefore, it is vital to ensure your page is fast and contain contents relevant to the searcher.
Google takes this seriously and now penalises those with slow websites by ranking them low in search engine result pages.
Checking Your WordPress Website Speed
Many web owners always think that if their website is fast on their computer, it is fast on other computers too. But this is very wrong. Since your computer store cache of the pages you always visit on your computer, it becomes fast for you to retrieve the content when you need it. However, other computers could experience slow speeds because their computers have not had access to your website and cached your content.
It is advisable to measure the speed of your website regularly in different locations. After undertaking the test, set your website a minimum target of two seconds load time.
Components Slowing Down Your WordPress Website
After doing a speed test for your website, the testing tool that you use provides a test report with proposals on areas that should be upgraded. The report may contain very technical terms but do not be stressed. Below are the proponents that make your page slow:
- External scripts such as adverts can make your WordPress website to be slow.
- Web Hosting. A web host is essential for a website, and if you solicit the services of a poor quality web host, your site is guaranteed to experience slow load speed.
- Page size. These are the content that is contained on a page including videos and images that are not optimised.
- WordPress configuration. You should ensure your website is cache-enabled so that it does not risk the chance of making your server slow or crashing it.
- Poor quality plugins. An inadequately coded plugin is among the causes of slow websites.
At this juncture, the source of your problems has now been pointed out; you can make informed decisions. The best decision that you can take at this point is to find ways of making your page speed fast.
Finding a good web host for your WordPress website goes a long way to determine how fast or how slow your site will operate. You can use a managed WordPress hosting platform such as WPEngine. Managed web host services are preferred among web owners because it offers several cutting-edge features.
- Sophisticated security configuration
- Computerised WordPress updates
- And planned backups
Shared hosting is also recommended, but it has several downsides to it. Since you share a lot of server resources, if another website in the host server is experiencing traffic, your page can be affected too.
Install Caching Plugin
WordPress automatically goes through your entire content when a searcher accesses your account. The information is then stored so that in future when the visitor visits again, they do not have to load a page entirely afresh. This is because their search information is already cached on the computer.
The process of scrapping and displaying information by a site so that it can be shown to a searcher is very rigorous. The process involved in gathering information and displaying it requires many processes and may cause your website to run slowly if several visitors are accessing your website at a go.
It is recommended to use a cache plugin for your WordPress because it can speed up your website up to five times faster.
How It Works
When a searcher accesses your PHP designed website, data is reclaimed from your PHP data and MySQL storage. The information is then combined to form an HTML material which is displayed to a searcher. The process is tedious, but you can bypass it by using a caching tool.
There are two points to note here. The first one is that you can reinforce your caching plugin’s security using a firewall such as Sucuri to help consolidate the security of your WordPress plugin. Secondly, managed web hosting platform clients do not have to worry about caching plugin because the web host offers caching services.
Optimise Images for Speed
Text, when combined well with images, can be the real game changer for your WordPress website. According to studies, more than three-quarters of searchers relate well to information accompanied by quality images.
However, placing images haphazardly on your page is also not helpful. If you want your pictures to make a difference to your content, then you should ensure they are optimised, and they contain the right colour balance.
Before being uploaded, the images should be optimised for the internet. Optimising the images help reduce their size and enhance their quality depending on the compression and file format of the editing tool. The software can reduce the size of the file by five times.
Several image editing tools use the PNG and JPEG formats. An example of such a tool is the WPBeginner.
JPEG produces smaller images, but it slightly reduces the quality of the image. PNG images are larger but possess more information and quality JPEG images.
PNG images are used when you want a simple image without many details while JPEG is used for images with several colours and many details.
Best Practices for WordPress Optimization
The optimisation of your images and caching WordPress will make considerable differences to the speed of your website. You will realise that your website’s speed has increased a lot, but it is not still enough to ensure your site maintains the high speeds.
Maintaining a high speed will require that you apply WordPress’ best practices. The practices are straightforward and do not need any technical capabilities to execute.
Update Your Website
Updates are very important in ensuring your WordPress website is up to date on all upgrades, especially security features. The updates also help improve the look of your website by availing new plugins and themes whenever you upgrade your website.
The responsibility of always ensuring your WordPress website is updated lies with the owner of the website. Failing to update your WordPress will render your website slow and susceptible to security infringements.
Have Excerpts on Archives and Homepage
WordPress is programmed to automatically show the entire content of your article on your archives and homepage. Do you know the meaning of this? It means that your homepage alone is packed with a lot of content. This makes it hard for other components of your WordPress to load at high a speed. The components affected by this include tags, archive pages and homepage. Furthermore, displaying the full articles on the homepage risk making the searchers not to see the importance of accessing the page containing the whole article. Then, the time visitors spend on your website reduces drastically, the same to your pageviews.
To shorten the loading times, you can program the website to display the content as excerpts instead of the whole content at once.
Set this up by navigating to Settings > Reading. Then activate an option for articles to be displayed as a summary and not the full text.
Comments to Be Split to Pages
Loading all comments on one page can make your website very slow. Having many comments on your website is not a bad thing. It is the best thing that can happen to your website. It is a pointer of how well your website is doing. Separate comments into different pages to relieve the burden on your website of having to load all comments on one page.
Content Delivery Network
Avoid Uploading Videos Straight to WordPress
Uploading videos directly from WordPress website is possible, but it is not recommended. Hosting videos from your WordPress site can have negative implications on your bandwidth. Furthermore, it balloons your backup space which can make it difficult for you to retrieve your website from the backup.
Therefore, it is advisable to host your videos with platforms like Vimeo and YouTube because they can support the bandwidth for all your videos.
Use Theme Optimised For Speed
Purpose a choose a theme that is optimised for speed. The market is flooded with themes of all types. However, you should invest in a WordPress theme that is s\easy to use. Avoid complex themes that possess a lot of features with no use.
Have A Speedy Slider Plugin
A slider allows you to make your website presentable by displaying your content on a colourful slideshow before the introduction of the main content of a website. The slider always loads all the contents it contains which can make other parts of your website to load slowly. Hence, it is essential you ensure that you use a WordPress slider plugin that creates quality but fast sliders.
Fast Gallery Plugin
This type of plugin is a must have for those with portfolios or photography sites. For quality photo galleries that can load at high speed then, a plugin like Envira Gallery is what you require. Furthermore, it is optimised for speed.
Separate Wordy Post into Pages
Long posts are a draw for many people. Searchers like detailed blogs that provide additional information. However, posting long content accompanied by videos and images can decrease the load speed. In this case, it is wise to split the posts into different pages so that it is faster to load posts.
Optimise WordPress Database
As you continue to use WordPress, it stores a lot of information about the activities of your website which you may not even have a use for any more. To manage this, you require WP-Sweep plugin to delete the data which have no use. Deleting the unnecessary data help boost the speed of your website.
It is also able to optimise the layout of your database with a single click.
Minimise External HTTP Requests
Cut on HTTP request your site sends because they can overload your website with content that does not serve the goals of your website. When several HTTP requests are sent to the host server, several are sent back to your website making packed. An overloaded website tends to have low load speeds which can have an impact on customer experience, page views and the number of time searchers spend on your site.
Cut Database Calls
Some themes used on WordPress are not coded to the required standards. Thus, some end up sending many unnecessary calls to the database which can overwork the server making it slow.
It is important to note that this step is very technical and may require the assistance of templates to execute successfully.
Reduce Post Revisions
Post revisions create unnecessary congestion in your website by leaving behind revision post on your database. The database becomes packed with the revision posts which can make your website slow and affect some databank queries operated by plugins.
A line code is added to the wp-config.php file to solve these two problems.
1 define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 4 );
You are then able to limit your website to back up on the previous four revisions per page or post. Then it automatically removes previous post revisions.
The importance of reducing the load time of your WordPress website is that it helps improve the search experience of your clients. Your clients form the backbone for the success of your website. And as much as this guide helps you to improve the health of your website, it also helps improve the health of the relationship between you, your clients, and your website. Continuous improvement of your WordPress website ensures this relationship axis remains healthy in the long term.