Slow and steady definitely does not win the race when it comes to blogs and websites. A slow site can be frustrating for readers and can kill you in search engine rankings. However, making your WordPress load faster isn’t always that straightforward. To help you out, today we are going to take a look at ten tips that will dramatically speed up your WordPress site. If you are on Blogger, take a look at this post for tips that apply to you.
How to make your WordPress load faster
Before you start tinkering around with your site speed, it’s best to have a starting point so you can see how your site performs before and after making changes. GT Metrix is a great tool for analyzing the performance of your site.
Tip #1: Use a Great WebHost
The hosting provider you choose plays a huge role in website speed. Of course, we are huge fans of BlueHost around here (learn how to set up a site on BlueHost here).
If you are currently using another web host, you can move your site over to BlueHost. If you find that your site gets more traffic than a shared server can handle, you can always upgrade in the future to a dedicated server for even better performance.
Tip #2: Use a Solid Framework & Theme
We use the Genesis framework in all of our WordPress designs because of its speed and customizability. Genesis comes free with our WordPress designs and is one of the most solid frameworks out there. Some frameworks and themes come with far more features than you’ll ever need or use. Sticking with the simplicity of Genesis is the best way to keep things clean and running lightning quick.
Tip #3: Delete Post Revisions
There is nothing worse than a site cluttered with too many copies of post revisions, trashed items, and spam comments. Who needs all of that? I love the WP-Optimize plugin because you can set it to routinely clean up your database so it’s not weighed down by all that garbage. Once it’s installed, just go to Settings > Optimize Database to configure the settings you want. You’ll love how tidy your site feels after using this amazing plugin.
Tip #4: Optimize Images
We’ve been talking a lot lately about how important it is to optimize and resize your images before uploading them to your blog. The larger the images you upload, the longer your site will take to load, so remember to resize, resize, resize! I usually recommend using images not larger than 1000px on the wider side. It is also perfect to have them weigh less than 500kb.
You can use sites like TinyPng to optimize the size of your photos.
Tip #5: Identify Plugins that are Slowing Your Site Down
An easy way to determine which plugins may be slowing your site down is to install and run the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). It shows you exactly which plugins are impacting your page load time. Once you determine which plugins are slowing down your website, you can then decide whether or not those plugins are worth keeping. If not, get rid of them.
Be sure to delete the P3 plugin after you finish, because leaving it activated will slow your site down. As a general rule, it’s best to keep the number of plugins on your site under 20. Remember that less is more when it comes to plugins and to choose plugins wisely.
Tip #6: Compress Your Site
Compressing your site using Gzip is a great way to make your WordPress load faster. Gzip zips up all of your website files so they are easier for your server to transmit them to your reader’s browsers, hence decreasing page load time. There’s really no drawback to installing Gzip and the increase in speed can be pretty significant. You can install Gzip using a plugin or you can contact your hosting provider and ask if they can assist you with compressing your site.
If you are comfortable digging into the backend of your site, you can try to edit your .htaccess file via your file manager. Locate it in the root directory of your server and simply add this code to it:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
Tip #7: Use a Good Caching Plugin
Every time your website is loaded by a user, all sorts of mechanisms are taking place on the back end to allow your user to view it.
Caching is essentially like taking a picture of your site when your visitors land on it so that when they return, your website can simply load the “picture” of the website instead of having to load everything on the back end again, which makes your site load time much faster for returning visitors.
It’s essential when installing a caching plugin that you follow the installation instructions exactly or you’ll end up doing your site far more harm than good.
WP Total Cache is one of the best caching plugins out there, but again, please be certain to follow the installation instructions carefully. You’ll be amazed at the dramatic improvements you’ll see in site speed and YSlow score after installing this plugin, but again I cannot stress enough how important it is to install it correctly. WP Total Cache is a very powerful and advanced plugin, so if you are a novice, it would probably be best to skip this tip. You’ll still see dramatic improvements in site speed by following the other 9 tips.
Tip #8: Optimize Your Database
WordPress uses a database to store everything about your site – posts, pages, comments, plugins, settings, etc. It’s all there in your database. Every time someone loads your site, the database has to be read. If the database is packed to the brim then the information can take a long time to load causing a slow loading site. WP-DBManager plugin is a great plugin that will help you easily back up, repair, and optimize your database, which in turn will speed up your site.
Tip #9: Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Tip #10: Declutter Your Site
Remember that less is always more when it comes to your site. Rid your site of anything that isn’t absolutely essential. Some final ways to declutter and speed up your site:
- remove any inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need/use
- limit the number of posts shown on your blog
- show post excerpts/summaries instead of the full post
- simplify your sidebar by removing widgets that aren’t absolutely necessary
- limit the number of ads, pop-ups, etc.
- remember that your users visit your site for content and/or products, not for the millions of widgets and ads you have on your sidebar. Don’t let your widgets and ads overshadow your content.
Keep it simple!
I hope that those ten tips made your WordPress load faster and improved how your site works. Remember that if you need help with your site, you can always contact us!
We’d love to hear about the improvements you’ve seen on your site after applying these tips. Share them with us in the comments!
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