WordPress is a very well coded platform. However, that doesn’t mean that your WordPress hosting is always as fast as it can be. There are a lot of ways to speed up a slow website. These 11 tips will help your website load and run faster so that you can keep the attention of your visitors.
1. Pick Excellent WordPress Hosting
The better your host, the more likely it is that your website will be as fast as possible. Your host needs to have fast servers so that your website will load quickly. Before choosing a host, read reviews from real users to find out if they’ve had any problems with their website being slow.
2. Choose a Good Caching Plugin
There are a lot of WordPress plugins that work great and are highly effective, but there are also a lot that will slow down your website. The right caching plugin can increase load time for pages. Most caching plugins are free and simple to install and use, so there’s really no reason to not have one.
3. Install a Quick Theme and/or Framework
Your theme doesn’t just impact the look of your website, it can also affect your load times. Pick a theme that isn’t crammed with a ton of features, especially if you’re not going to be using those features. The more cluttered your theme is, the slower it will be. If you’re not skilled in CSS, don’t pick a theme you need to make a ton of changes to, just start with one that’s simple and well coded so it will be fast.
4. Use a CDN
A CDN, or content delivery network, makes it possible for your website’s static files to quickly download. By using a CDN, you’re essentially making a different server responsible for the static files, which include things like the CSS code and scripts. A CDN uses the server that’s closest to the person on your website so those files load as quickly as possible.
5. Setup Gzip Compression
By using Gzip compression, you’ll create compressed versions of your website to visitors, which will allow the website to load a lot bigger because it’s essentially smaller in size. Choose WordPress hosting that will let you setup Gzip compression from the cPanel. Alternatively, you can use a Gzip compression plugin on your website.
6. Auto-Optimize Your Images
Any time you upload an image to your website, it should be small in order to be processed quickly. If you don’t want to resize each and every photo on your own manually, use a plugin that will do it for you. These plugins will make images the perfect size for your website so they can load quickly without slowing down the WordPress pages.
7. Stick to a Maintenance Schedule
It’s important to maintain your WordPress site in order to keep it running as well as possible. Whenever there’s an update to your theme or plugins, make sure to run it as soon as possible. When you don’t update your website, you can leave it vulnerable to viruses and attacks. Additionally, go through all of your plugins from time to time to get rid of any you don’t use. You should also do this with your old posts, specifically early versions of your blog posts that you eventually revised and published.
8. Optimize the Homepage
There are a lot of things you can do to optimize your homepage and make sure it loads quickly. Instead of including several full blog posts on your homepage, limit the number of blog posts to five and only include excerpts with “Read More” links. Get rid of any widgets you don’t need, especially social sharing ones. The more minimal your webpage, the faster it will load.
9. Get Rid of Spam
When you have a lot of spam comments on your website, it can take up a ton of space. The Akismet plugin for WordPress can grab those comments and stop them from being published on your website. When fewer spam comments are published, spammers are less likely to keep trying. The plugin is incredibly easy to setup. Once it’s been installed and activated, you can set it to automatically delete spam comments.
10. Shut Off Trackbacks and Pingbacks
Whenever another WordPress blog mentions your blog or one of your posts, WordPress will automatically tell your website that you’ve been mentioned. This will update data on the specific post that’s being mentioned. This is good from a marketing standpoint, but it creates a lot of work for your website, which can essentially slow it down. Turning this off gives your website less work to do. Plus, it won’t get rid of any backlinks, and backlinks are good for driving more traffic to your posts.
11. Make Sure Your Theme is Responsive
Today’s Internet users are going online on devices other than their laptop or desktop. When a visitor is looking at your website from a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet, it will load quickly if you’ve used a responsive theme. This makes it possible for every visitor to view your website in the best way possible no matter what type of device they’re on. The website will auto-adjust to the screen size, make the font easy-to-read and adjust the size of the photos so they can be easily viewed. Plus, Google prefers websites to be responsive, so it’s more likely that your site will be ranked if you use a responsive theme.
No matter how great your website looks, it will be ineffective if it’s slow. Your visitors don’t want to wait any longer than necessary for a page to load. If they do, you could lose them to another site before you know it. Modern websites are fast loading and responsive to allow any user to view and enjoy them.