How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site to Boost SEO and Conversions
WordPress is a great platform, and it has come a long way from the days when it
One weakness that it suffers from, however, is it can be
That’s not only a hassle for repeat visitors and may cause you to lose new customers. But that is not the only problem. Increasingly slow sites are being penalized in the SERPs by Google and other search engines
But WordPress’ propensity towards sluggishness can be fairly easily overcome. In this post we are going to look at some of the best ways to do just that.
Why WordPress Site Speed Matters
When a person lands on your site for the first time, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention to convince them to hang around.
Get ready to lose sleep at night: according to a report by the Microsoft Bing search team, a 2-second longer delay in page responsiveness reduced user satisfaction by 3.8%, increased lost revenue per user by 4.3%, and reduced clicks by 4.3%.
Devices matter too. Those on mobile have far less patience than those accessing sites from a desktop computer:
If your site takes too long to load, most people are gone, lost before you even had a chance.
Not only that, but Google now includes site speed in
Get a Good Host
For a small retail business just starting out it’s very common for the owners to select a basic GoDaddy (or similar) hosting plan that offers shared hosting.
When you are new and on a budget, a shared host might seem like a bargain (
You are sharing hosting with hundreds of others, so the fact that this happens often should come as no surprise. The stress of your site going down is never something anyone needs, so invest in proper hosting.
Start With a Good Theme
WordPress does come with a default theme – one that is usually updated every year – and it is usually lightweight and quite speedy. That’s because they keep the “guts” simple; compare that to bloated frameworks which have tons of features that you will never use, slowing your site to a crawl.
However, it’s also rather limited and you do have to be very familiar with customizing WordPress themes in order to create a decent site. It’s for this reason most people look at other theme options. And there are certainly a lot of them out there to choose from.
The key to avoiding bloat is to choose a theme that meets your needs as closely as possible and then only make use of plugins that you actually need.
You should also invest in a premium theme from a trusted source – if you don’t want to use the WordPress deafult – currently Twenty Nineteen – Themeforest is a good one – rather than a free option. Not only are free options limited, and often buggy, they also almost always contain links the developers that will sap at your SEO ‘juice’.
Get a Good Caching Plugin
Many WordPress plugins are quite useful, but some of the best fall under the caching category, as they drastically improve page load time, and best of all, all of them on WordPress.org are free and easy to use.
One of the best is W3 Total Cache, as it has all the features you need and is easy to install and use. Install and activate and sit back and watch your page load faster
Use a Content Delivery Network
Auto Optimize Your Images
Big image files KILL WordPress speed, so it a MUST that every single image be optimized. There is a great optimizer, built by Yahoo! called Smush.it that will drastically reduce the file size of an image, while not reducing quality. Perfect! Except doing this to every image is incredibly time consuming.
Fortunately, there is a plugin called WP-SmushIt which will do this to all of your images automatically, as you are uploading them. It’s free, easy to use and it really will save you both time and effort while also speeding up your WordPress site significantly.
Optimize Your Site Architecture As Much As Possible
This isn’t one thing but a number of things that you can do to ensure that your WordPress site loads quickly and does so for every page.
To get you started, implement all of the following:
- Show excerpts instead of full posts
Reduce the number of posts on your blog page.
Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
Keep it minimal! Browsers are there for information
of some kind, or to buy a product, not 8,000 extra widgets on the homepage
Optimize your WordPress database. There are plugins that can take care of most of this for you, although you may need professional help if the
data basesare large.
Disable Hotlinking and Content Leeching
Hotlinking is a form of bandwidth “theft.” It occurs when other sites direct link to the images on your site from their content, creating a server load that is increasingly high.
To prevent this, but not block the backlinks you need, there is
Add LazyLoad to Your Images
LazyLoad is the process of having only only the images above the fold load (i.e. only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window), then, when reader scrolls down, the other images begin to load, just before they come into view.
This will not only speed your page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages.
Turn off Pingbacks and Trackbacks
By default, WordPress interacts with other sites that are equipped with pingbacks and trackbacks.
Every time another site mentions a post on your site, it notifies your site, which in turn updates data on the post. Turning this off will not destroy the backlinks to your site, just the setting that generates a lot of work for your site.
These are just