Increasing your WordPress website speed is an important thing that you just can’t ignore. Everyone wants to use a website that loads fast. And, that’s ONE BIG reason why most people leave a website and probably never come back.
As the most widely used blogging platform, WordPress is suited to bloggers of any level. It’s updated regularly, highly customizable, and extremely user friendly. It’s also well-coded to ensure it operates as fast and efficiently as possible.
Over time, as you increase the functionality of your WordPress blog and build up a more substantial content portfolio, you may begin to see an impact on how efficiently it runs and how quickly your blog pages load as a result.
A slow page load speed results in a poor experience for your visitors, which is something that search engines take notice of.
In this post, I’ll be discussing the speed of your WordPress blog, focussing on:
- Why page speed is such a big deal.
- The impact of slow page speeds and what it means for your blog.
- How to check the speed of your WordPress blog.
- How to make your WordPress blog faster.
Why is Page Load Speed a Big Deal?
In short, slow page loads are a big deal because Google tells us they’re a big deal. In most cases, if Google tells us something explicitly, it’s usually worth taking notice!
Google has long since pushed the importance of building sites for mobile users. The “mobile first” initiative emphasized Google’s drive to encourage site owners to focus on making the mobile visitor experience as optimal as possible.
What does this mean?
It largely means making sure your site loads fast over a data connection for mobile browsers.
In 2018 Google included page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches. This reinforced Google’s commitment to mobile-first and sent a clear incentive to site owners to make their sites load as quickly as possible.
Updated: In latest report of April 2021, page experience is now part of Google Search Console.
Since we know that Google explicitly rewards sites that load quickly for mobile users, it makes sense to try to optimize the page load speed of our WordPress blogs so they’ll have a better shot at ranking higher in search results.
What Slow Speeds Mean for Your WordPress Blog?
As Google makes clear, it’s all about users.
Since mobile users now account for the majority of search activity, Google wants to keep them happy… and so should you!
If your blog is slow, the majority of your visitors won’t wait around for it to load. Instead they’ll click back to the search results and to find a blog that loads faster than yours.
Because Google understands this, it wants to present faster loading sites to searchers above those that load more slowly. It does this by increasing the visibility of faster sites in its search results through placing them higher.
So the speed of your WordPress blog really is a big deal!
How Do You Check the Speed of Your WordPress Blog?
There are many free online tools you can use to check your page speeds. Perhaps the most regularly cited tools are:
You can do the google pagespeed insight test to calculate the speed of your wordpress website. Just add your website url.
Run some tests on your own posts to get a feel for how fast your blog loads and where you might have issues causing it to run slowly.
You can also use them to benchmark page speeds before you use any of the tips I recommend below and again when you’ve tried them out. This will show you the speed gains you’ve made by comparing before and after results.
Now, let’s see how to speed up wordpress site.
How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website?
Now we’ve established why speed is important, let’s explore some of the ways you can make your WordPress blog faster.
The good news is there are many things you can do to make clear improvements to increase website speed.
Tip#1 Run Your WordPress Blog at the Latest version
One of the simplest ways to ensure your WordPress blog runs optimally is to always update it to the latest version.
WordPress updates often contain functional improvements, database efficiencies and code optimizations to improve performance.
Core WordPress updates not only make your blog faster but deliver better security too.
When was the last time you updated your version of WordPress?
Check it for yourself and update your wordpress website with latest version.
Tip #2 Update Your Theme and Plugins
As with core WordPress updates, theme and plugin developers sometimes identify bugs that impact how quickly they run. They also often identify more optimal coding opportunities.
In either case they’ll release an update to address them.
Always update themes and plugins when new versions become available since this will ensure your blog runs as efficiently as possible.
You can also enable auto-updates if you want.
Tip #3 Change Your Theme
Themes tend to add overhead to your WordPress speed too… some more than others!
Many themes, especially free ones, may not be coded optimally to deliver fast page load speeds. Of course, paying for a premium theme is a turn-off for many people on a budget, but a quality theme needn’t cost the earth.
The Genesis Framework provides a highly optimized environment over which you can install super fast child themes.
Choosing a premium theme like Genesis can make a huge difference in how quickly your blog loads.
==> More theme options: Check out these 15+ best wordpress themes for a blazing fast website
Tip #4 Deactivate Plugins You No longer Use
This might seem a tiny thing, but I’ve worked.on many client WordPress blogs and seen many active plugins that hadn’t been used for years.
Just because a plugin seems like it might be useful one day you don’t need to install and activate it if you’re not using it now.
Go through your active plugins and ask yourself “do I really need this?”
If you don’t need it, deactivate it and move on.
Tip #5 Choose a New Host
We tend to stick with what we know, especially if we don’t think we have a problem.
However, it could be that your host is a problem you’re not aware of.
Most inexpensive hosting solutions are great for getting a blog up and running. They help you keep your costs down as you start out on your blogging venture.
But a cheap host is only ever going to give you a cheap service and sometimes paying a few dollars more here can pay you dividends.
Let’s say a faster host bumped you up the search results by an average of 10 places, wouldn’t that be worth paying a few dollars over what you pay right now?
Few excellent hosting services that do help with increase speed of wordpress websites include;
–> BigScoots – If your website gets more than 50,000 pageviews or 100k pageviews then you should definitely consider moving to Bigscoots. This will definitely help to increase website speed.
–> Siteground – It does work for speed performance.
–> Cloudways – I have seen many people choosing Cloudways these days. It’s a leading hosting solution to WordPress websites. With extensive features, you can definitely try cloudways for $10/m. Get a free caching plugin, built-in CDN, free SSL, improved website site etc. Also, get free migration of your website.
If you are looking for some other beginner options, then check out 5 web host for beginner blogs.
(Remember to pin the image)
Tip #6 Use a Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of geographically distributed servers that host assets for sites such as images and videos.
The idea is that wherever you are in the world, you’ll download the assets from a server in the network that’s closest to you. This decreases the time it takes for the assets to populate the page you’re trying to view. Your website does need a content delivery network (CDN).
Thus, another way to speed up wordpress website.
Some web hosting services supply CDNs as a part of the monthly subscription… remember I said you get what you pay for above? For example, if you go with cloudways, they have their own built-in CDN.
Alternatively you can pay to use a specific CDN.
Tip #7 Optimize Images To Increase Website Speed
Do you optimize the images you upload to your WordPress blog?
Optimizing images is the practise of reducing the overall file size of an image asset so it downloads more quickly. There are multiple ways to achieve this.
Firstly you can decrease the dimensions of the images you create to make them only as large as you need them.
As an example, let’s say you have a 1,200px x 600px image that actually displays as a 600px x 300px image on your blog to fit the available width of your page.
You don’t need to upload a 1,200px by 600px image because it will never display in that size.
The better option is to reduce the dimensions of the image to display as 600px x 300px. This would reduce the file size of the image substantially.
Another way to optimize images is to use software to decrease their visual quality in a way that’s imperceptible to the person looking at it.
Shortpixel is a great plugin to compress your WordPress images. You get 100 free images to optimize. Once exceed, you can get more image credits.
Lower quality images usually result in a much lower file size than high quality images, so take much less time to download.
You can use image editing software to optimize quality manually. Alternatively you could install a WordPress plugin like Shortpixel to do it for you automatically each time you upload a new image to your blog.
==> Related: How to optimize images for SEO? The ultimate guide to compress website images.
Tip #8 Enable Lazy Loading
Have you ever scrolled on a web page and seen an image appear as you scrolled on a page? This is lazy loading in operation.
Lazy loading is a method for deferring the retrieval of assets (such as images) until they’re required, such as when someone scrolls on a page.
The advantage of lazy loading is that your blog pages can display the content you need to populate the visible area of a browser. When you scroll the page, any deferred assets download at that point when they’re required.
As a lucky WordPress user, there are dozens of plugins you can install that will handle lazy loading for you!
Install a Plugin to Handle All Optimizations and Speed Up WordPress Site
Rather than installing individual plugins to tackle specific aspects of WordPress speed optmization, why not consider installing one plugin to do it all?
Use Wp Rocket Caching Plugin
Plugins like WP Rocket deliver all sorts of tricks to make your pages load faster, including:
- Lazy loading
- Database optimization
- Code minification
Arfa’s personal recommendation is to go with Wp Rocket! If your site is having slow speed and your caching plugin is not working properly, try out Wp Rocket. And, you will be happy with your decision.
Plugins that combine all these features together in this way, can help to speed up your WordPress blog dramatically.
Now, improve your website speed
It’s super important for your WordPress blog to run at fast speeds. Your visitors won’t wait around for your pages to load, especially if they’re visiting you from their mobile devices.
Not only this, but Google actually rewards speedy blogs with higher placement in search results. Increased visibility in search engines means more visitors will end up on your blog.
Use speed checking tools to test your page load times to see if your blog is slow. You can also use them to show you the before and after effects for any page optimizations you make.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your page speed, such as:
- Keeping your WordPress installation up to date
- Updating themes and wordpress plugins to stay with the latest version
- Deactivating plugins you no longer use
- Migrating to a faster host
- Using a Content Delivery Network
- Optimizing images
- Enabling lazy loading
- Installing an plugin to handle multiple optimizations.
As I said earlier, WordPress is well optimized by default. However, you can make it work much faster by carrying out a few smart optimizations.
Let me know if you have any questions!
This was a guest post.
Paul Franklin is an online marketer with over 15 years of experience, who built his first WordPress blog in 2005. Find out more at the SideGains blog.