Load time of a website has always been a talk of the town and Google has now made it clear that it is a major ranking factor. That means, the faster your website load (with quality content) the higher you’ll place in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
When a new visitors stumble upon your site, you have merely few seconds to capture their attention and convince them to spend some more time on your site.
According to a study conducted by major search engine Microsoft Bing, a delay of 2-seconds reduces the user’s satisfaction by 3.8%, which in turn increases the lost revenue by 4.3%.
Another research by Amazon also proved it true, reporting 1% increased revenue for every 100 milliseconds improvement in their site speed. (Source – Amazon)
It concludes that the loading time of a website is directly proportional to the user experience and revenue your website will generate.
In this post, I’ll cover all of the tested and working hacks I have found to reduce the load time of your website.
But first, here are few tools to analyze your site speed:
- Pingdom: Test the load time of a given URL and analyze what should be improved.
- GTMetrix: Analyzes the speed performance of a page using PageSpeed and YSlow.
- Google PageSpeed Insight: As the name suggests, a tool by Google to analyze the page speed and suggest proper improvements.
Go ahead, and run a quick test of your website on each of these tool before moving forward. You can compare the results after implementing below hacks to reduce the load time of your website.
One thing to remember is, scores doesn’t matter. Load time of your site is important and if you can improve that, you can please big G to rank your website higher.
How to Speed Up A WordPress Website?
Note: The given list is not ordered by any criteria and there’s no fixed order to implement these changes. You can pick the best one you feel like changing and implement it.
So, starting with the first one.
1. Choose A Good Host
The web host of your website matters a lot as it is where all of your website data is stored and accessed.
A low-quality web host may save you few bucks while starting out, but in the long run, you’ll be losing more money than you’ve saved.
Unwanted downtimes, slow loading time, and server crash are some of the regular problem people face with low-quality web hosting services.
Moreover, if you’re planning to publish popular stuff that has a potential to go viral, then it the worst idea to not buy good web hosting.
The only web hosting I recommend that is both of high quality and affordable to your pocket is
SiteGround Shared Web Hosting (Click here to check SiteGround’s Official Website)
Plans start at an affordable price of $3.95/month (free domain name) which is comparable with other web hosting providers.
If you can afford to pay more then I would suggest you buy GoGeek plan priced at $14.95/month.
If you own a high traffic website, you may also consider their cloud hosting.
Here are some additional things to consider while buying a web hosting for your website.
2. Use a Lightweight Theme
Another important factor in site speed is the theme/framework of your site. A theme bloated with tons of features will take more time to load than a simple and lightweight theme.
Some premium themes like Genesis Framework have also proved to be speedy and less server resource consuming.
3. Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a popular technology used by almost all popular website to serve their website with a blazing speed.
And when a visitor requests these resources, CDN will allow them to download these files as fast as possible by delivering the contents from the nearest server location.
Simply awesome tactic, isn’t it?
One of the most popular CDN used by big blogs is MaxCDN which is a premium Content Delivery Network. The lowest plan starts at $6.75 first month.
4. Manage The Number of Post Revision Stored
WordPress has a (bad) habit of storing post revisions every time you change some parts of a post. They call is post revisions.
These drafts are good when you want to revert back some changes but often we don’t use them. This post right here took me 14 drafts to complete and once I hit publish I don’t need those post revisions to fill up my database and waste my valuable server space.
That’s why I use Revision Control plugin to remove these unwanted post revisions and keep my WordPress database.
5. Optimize Your WordPress Database
Optimizing your database is a single way to deal with all unwanted problems such as spam, post revisions, tables, drafts, etc.
For this purpose, I use and recommend WP-Optimize plugin. It will clean up your database without any manual work.
6. Optimize Images and Use Lazy Load
Images in your post serve a great way to provide a visual representation and make your post more helpful. Charts, Graphs, Screenshots, and infographics are commonly used in a post.
But apart from serving for good, these images may cause slow website loading. Often we use high-quality images of large sizes and loading of these images takes a considerable amount of time.
I use a free WordPress plugin called Smush Image Compression and Optimization. This plugin will automatically optimize images on your site without reducing quality.
You can also use various image compression tools available online but doing this manually for every image will cause a lot of time.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t install such an amazing plugin.
Lazy Load is another useful feature which loads the images only when they’re on the user screen. If you’ve 10 images on a web page then instead of loading all of them at once, the lazy load will load images as user scroll down reducing the load time.
I use lazy load plugin to add this feature on my WordPress website.
7. Enable Caching
When someone visits your site, the elements of your site are stored on their hard drive in a form of cache. And the next time he/she visits your site, the contents of their hard drive will be automatically loaded without having to send more requests to HTTP server.
Caching reduces the load time considerably and is considered as the simplest way to reduce the load time and speed up of your WordPress website.
W3Total Cache is a popular plugin widely use for enabling caching.
You can also use CloudFlare free service to enable Browser Caching for added experience.
8. Turn of Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Pingbacks and Trackbacks are used to notify users when someone over the internet links to any of the pages of their site.
It is nice features to keep track of backlinks but it is not as important and increases the server requests which in turn reduces the load time.
You can disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks by going to Settings > Discussion.
9. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins are used to add features that otherwise we couldn’t add without writing hundreds of lines of codes.
However adding too many plugins slow your site, and often dealing with updated of plugins may cause a crash.
Also, deactivated plugins provide a way to bypass your website security to hackers. If you’re using too many plugins then try disabling few of them and test your site speed.
Deactivate and delete all those plugins which affect your server speed.
10. Enable Gzip Compression
This may sound like an advanced optimization technique but it is not.
Being a computer user, you must know about zipping compression where we compress multiple files to reduce their size.
The same method is used in Gzip compression where we compress files for faster network transfers.
There are various ways you can enable GZip Compression on your site.
Patrick Sexton has explained methods of GZip compression on various servers in this article.
After applying the above method of Gzip compression, you can verify the compression by using the GZip compression test.
Speed is an important factor of a website and considering the value it adds to the overall user experience as well as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can’t afford to ignore it.
Making your site load as quickly as possible should always be your high priority.
While most of the hacks to reduce the load time of your WordPress website simple, some of the tips may need some research. You can either use Google for that or comment below and I’ll be more than happy to assist you.
And when you’ve implemented these tips, do compare before and after website loading time and let us know what changes you have achieved. A simple comment mentioning the difference of loading time and techniques used will be highly appreciated.
Have you got any more hacks to reduce the load time of WordPress website? Share your tips below.
Thanks for reading, share this article if you found it helpful.