One of the ways to improve your site’s ranking in search engines is to make it load faster. Site speed is becoming more and more important as users demand near instant loading times. If your WordPress site isn’t properly set up, it could end up being slow and affect your ranking.
In this article, I take through 7 ways to improve the speed of your WordPress site. But, before you delve in and start tweaking your site, first test it to see how fast it is. The first thing you should do is log into Google’s Search Console and add your site if you haven’t already. Once you have added it, verify it using the tools provided and then head over to the PageSpeed Insights page. Take note of the results you find on that page. If you find any issues noted by Google then you will definitely need to do something about your site.
So, let’s get started.
1. Use the right hosting
For beginners, shared hosting is sometimes the only way to start due to financial constraints. The problem with shared hosting is that the performance of your site may be affected by other sites on the same hosting server. The most cost effective solution is VPS (virtual private server) hosting. VPS is a compromise between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. You can also use a dedicated WP hosting, which is design to boost site speed even further. It is always a good idea to check if your web hosting provider allows you to enable gzip compression. Gzip compression reduces the data size your website sends by about 90 percent, leading to massive gains in page speed.
2. Install a caching plugin and use a content delivery network (CDN)
Caching is the process is storing static web pages and images in the browser so that the next time the site is requested, the browser loads the copy stored locally instead of fetching it from the hosting server, a much longer process. A content delivery network uses the same concept, the only difference is that the actual hosting server is physically closer to the user. A CDN stores many copies of your site in distributed servers around the world. Thus, when a user requests your site, the server that’s closest responds and sends the site to the browser. This reduces page loading time considerably.
3. Use an optimized theme
Some themes have poor designs. Having a theme that’s too complicated can potentially slow down your WordPress site. Avoid code heavy themes and stick with simple beautiful themes. Simple is brilliant as far as speed is concerned.
4. Watch those plugins
Plugins are a double-edged sword. While they extend the functionality of your site, they can also slow it down. Only install the most essential plugins and assess critically the value of every plugin before you install it. Also, delete any plugins you aren’t using.
5. Optimize your images & stagger image loading
If your images are too large, they can slow down your site considerably. This presents a big challenge because you can’t exclude images altogether. They help make a site more interesting and break up monotonous blocks of text. On e-commerce sites, it’s practically impossible not to use images to display products. The solution is image optimization. Optimization can be done in two ways, compressing the images and reducing image density. To do this, use a free tool such as Gimp or install a free image optimization plugin. The other option for sites that use numerous images is to stagger image loading. When image loading is staggered, the images that can fit on the screen (above the fold) are loaded first. Other images are then loaded as the user scrolls down.
6. Tweak the home page
For the home page, configure your WordPress site to only display excerpts and not full posts. Keep the number of posts displayed on the home page to a bare minimum. Remove any unnecessary heavy content on your home page as well.
7. Optimize your database
A WordPress database stores everything. In many cases, this is not necessary to the site’s health and only serves to slow the site. For example, post revisions and spam comments need not be stored. To keep your database optimized, install a plugin to fix this issue.
There you go, 7 ways to improve the speed of your WordPress site. Do this and your site will surely get a good bump in search engines. The steps are easy to implement and can be implemented by a beginner. So, what are you waiting for? Get cracking and enjoy online success.