WordPress has a lot going for it. It’s easy to use, cost-effective, is SEO-friendly, manages multiple users, and offers an excellent selection of customizable plug-ins that enhance your brand and drive traffic. The downside? WordPress, unfortunately, is notoriously slow; and lack of speed most definitely doesn’t improve the user experience. Visitors won’t hang around for your page to load, so not only is this a nuisance, your website speed could actually figure into your ability to engage visitors. What’s more is that slow speed will also negatively impact your Google ranking.
However, the good news is that there are ways to speed up WordPress and avoid these headaches. You just need to be proactive. Here is what you should do.
#1 Use a Good Host
There are certain cases where “you get what you pay for” is remarkably accurate. This is most definitely applies to choosing a host. When your business is getting off the ground, it makes sense to cut costs wherever you can. However, cutting costs to use a shared host may actually backfire and limit your growth potential.
On the surface, the unlimited views of a shared host may seem like good bang for your buck, but when you consider that you’ll likely experience slow speed and frequent downtime during high traffic periods, it doesn’t seem like such a good idea.
#2 Make Images as Small as Possible
Images will only add visual appeal to your posts and pages and add extra value to the user experience. If you tag and title them appropriately with keywords, they can really help to improve your search ranking too. However, if those images slow down your pages, they are more of a hindrance than a help.
You can avoid that by making images as small as possible. Before you transfer photos from your phone or camera to your site, use photo editing software to optimize them for the web.
To streamline your process to post them to your site, install a plugin in WordPress that will optimize your images automatically to make your site faster.
#3 Upgrade Your Server to PHP7
Upgrading your server is one small step that will yield significant results. Released in 2015, PHP7 is significantly faster and as a bonus is more secure than its predecessor.
Why is it so much faster? In short, it does more with less. Code execution is quicker and needs fewer servers than before to handle the same amount of website traffic.
#4 Use a CDN/Content Delivery Network
Why do you need a CDN (Content Delivery Network)? Because visitors landing on your site want to access the information that they are after right away. If your site is slow to load, those visitors will move along. Using a CDN is one way to ramp your speed up. A CDN is even more important if you’ve got lots of traffic, rich media or a global audience because a CDN will help make your site faster and more reliable. It essentially closes the gap (whether from physical distance or because your site is loaded with multimedia, files, images, etc.) between the visitor and their ability to source out the information that you provide quickly.
#5 Use a Caching Plugin
Using a caching plugin can help make your site load faster. Like a lot faster (2-5 times). As useful as WordPress plugins are to your site, they also slow load time because of the way that they are designed. If you install a caching plugin, you can expect that to drop.
Essentially, instead of a page having to load every time a visitor clicks on it, the information is cached for subsequent visitors, greatly reducing the load time.
When it comes to your website, don’t underestimate the value of speed and the danger of going too slow.