Your WordPress website loads in 2.5 seconds?
That is so slow!
Don’t take my word for it. Google is the one that considers 2.5 seconds of loading time “slow.”
“Okay, this is a bit shocking. If I find that my website is slow, I’ll install a speed optimization plugin. It should work at least for some time, right?”
Well, not exactly.
Most WordPress website owners try to resolve the problem of the slow loading time by installing a plugin. We’re used to the fact that there’s a plugin available for almost every WordPress performance-related problem there is, but speed is an exception.
A plugin is not a solution if your website is slow.
Speed is not exactly a strong suit of WordPress, so you need to do more than installing a plugin. With Google now using speed to rank websites, you need to get serious about it.
Here’s what it takes to resolve common errors leading to slow loading times and measure your progress.
In this Article –
- Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins
- Compress The Size of Your Content
- Pay a Visit to Your Hosting Provider
- A Great Caching Plugin is a Must
- Use Speed Tools to Monitor Speed
1. Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins
Don’t get me wrong, I love plugins, but sometimes, having too many of them could really undermine your website’s performance. As of the time of this writing, there were 55,515 plugins in the WordPress directory, so it’s very easy to get carried away.
But many people forget that installing too many of them can be a very bad idea. While it seems to be an easy way to control everything on WordPress and focus on business-related things, here are just some of the problems you could run into:
- Security issues. Not every plugin is safe and secure; a hacker could easily exploit a security hole and infect your website
- Compatibility problems. Some plugins are incompatible with each other, which could lead to performance issues
- Loading time. Having too many plugins can easily make a website “too heavy” to load, which, in turn, reduces the position in search engine results.
So, here’s what you do to avoid all of this:
- Check your WordPress website for inactive, unused, outdated, or improperly working plugins
- Reduce the number of plugins to around twenty; focus on having the most essential ones.
2. Compress The Size of Your Media
If your website’s media size is huge, then the overall performance can also suffer. This is a problem that many bloggers have and often forget to take care of; for example, travel bloggers upload a ridiculous number of images from their journeys in blog posts, making it more difficult to load.
A lot of visuals is great, but you need to compress everything to make your site “lighter.” There are two ways to go about it:
- Use an image optimization plugin like WP Compress. It processes images in the cloud to shrink their size and increase load times
- Use free online image compression tools like Optimizilla or TinyPNG to reduce the size and keep the quality high.
3. Pay a Visit to Your Hosting Provider
Choosing a cheap provider is another mistake that people do to cut the costs of running a website. Doing so may sound cost-effective, but in 2020 your website needs to be lightning-fast to rank high and provide good browsing experience.
And, to mention this once again, no plugin will compensate for the lack of speed due to poor hosting.
This automatically means that shared hosting is not an option. It limits you in many ways, so going with a managed, a fast hosting provider is a much better option.
How to choose a reliable hosting provider?
- Read reviews from previous clients
- Choose a data center which is as close to your visitors as possible
- Ask if the servers are fine-tuned for improving WordPress performance.
Check out the list of 10 best web hosting service providers to know what to look for to choose the best option for WordPress.
4. A Great Caching Plugin is a Must
Caching is critical to the proper functioning of a WordPress website: it increases speed, reduces the load on the hosting server, and ensures a more positive overall visitor experience. Without it, a visitor to your website will have to download every element on a page, which undermines speed and experience.
Having a great caching plugin, however, removes many steps involved in the process of loading a WordPress page, so you should definitely have one. A popular plugin like WP Rocket is perfect for that and comes with more useful features like CDN integration and GZIP compression.
5. Clean Up The Media Library
Bloggers who use WordPress often have a problem with media building up and clogging up the website.
“I write a lot of textual articles for my two blogs, so in about a year, I noticed that my media library was full of images, videos, and other heavy files,” shares Samantha Khune, a content lead at BestEssayEducation. “Eventually, the libraries of both my sites had thousands of media files.”
A clogged up library is a sign that you need to do something about it, quick, because it can strain a hosting server’s resources. It’s possible that some of the files in the library are either unused or unnecessary, so taking a close look can help with improving the speed. If your library has lots of files, be ready to spend an hour or two on this.
6. Clear Up WordPress Databases
The media library isn’t the only place that needs cleaning once in a while. Your databases can affect the loading time, too, so it’s critical that you delete all unused stuff in there. There are two ways to go about this: manually and with a plugin like WP-Optimize. Be sure to do the manual clean up only if you know what you’re doing.
7. Prefetch Google Analytics
This is a way to tell a browser to look for the settings even before they’re needed, which speeds up the loading time. In WordPress, you can prefetch Google Analytics by adding the following to the header.php file between the <head> and </head> tags.
<link rel=”dns-prefetch” href=”//www.google-analytics.com”>
8. Limit and Disable WordPress Post Revisions
Automatic saves are very handy for those creating a lot of content. With time, however, you can end up with thousands of unused revisions clogging up the database.
To avoid revisions taking up free space, either limit the number of revisions or disable them altogether.
9. Update WordPress, Seriously
This one is often overlooked by WordPress owners because they think that an update is either unnecessary or not stable enough. What they forget is that backing up always saves data when the unthinkable happens, but the update often has security solutions to protect the site.
Always update your WordPress to avoid losing your site to hackers and other security issues.
10. Use Speed Tools to Monitor Speed
Not regularly checking your WordPress website’s speed is one of the worst mistakes that can be made here. Getting to a speed that Google considers “fast” and keeping it that way is definitely a do-and-forget kind of thing. For example, even one addition of a plugin or code tweaks can quickly ruin what you’ve worked so hard to build.
Here are some of the best website speed tools for you to use regularly:
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This free tool comes from Google and generates a personalized report about your website’s speed
- Test My Site. Another tool from Google designed specifically for testing the speed of mobile sites
- WebPageTest. Runs a speed test from different locations using most popular browsers at real local internet speeds.
Over to You
As you can see, the speed of your website totally depends on you. Taking these ten steps should do the trick, but the long-term success is earned, not given, so always check how your website is doing speed-wise.