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Effective Ways to Optimize Your WordPress site for Speed

Effective Ways to Optimize Your WordPress site for Speed

With over 1.5 billion websites on the web today competing to rank the highest on search engines, it has become a challenge to retain visitors and their interest on your site. One of the biggest aspects that convinces a visitor to stay, is the loading speed of your site.

Since WordPress is running the majority percentage of live sites, if your WordPress site takes a long time to load and display the various elements on the page - you are bound to have an increased bounce rate, decreased conversion, and falling search rankings.

Today, there are more than one sites giving the same experience, knowledge or services as you. So you have precisely few seconds, as low as 5 to convince the visitor that you have substance. This is why speed optimization is so important.

There are several methods available at your disposal for you to boost your website performance. However, the best way to start this diagnostic is to identify the aspects that have been slowing your site down. Once they are identified, we can begin the optimization ensuring optimal speed.

What are the generic causes that slow down a website?

Before diving into the causes, another thing that you should keep in mind is the consumer behavior that has largely shifted to smartphones. Today, your sites need to be mobile-first optimized, as much of the browsing is done using mobiles instead of desktop computers.

So what could be the usual issues slowing your site down?

  • Poorly developed site 
  • Low-quality web host 
  • Too much incoming traffic that slows the site down or worse, crashes it
  • Denial-Of-Service (DoS) attack
  • Inefficient code that slows page loading time

These are the usual issues and before heading towards optimizing it for speed, you need to test your site for its current speed. Again, there are tools available that you can make use of.

However, testing your site for performance isn't a onetime maintenance task. In fact, it should be done regularly and thoroughly.

Free tools to test website speed 

  • Pingdom Tools: This site accesses your pages, runs the tests, and returns the information about the loading speed. Moreover, it has a rating system based on several metrics that include: the requests that were required, comparison with other sites and how yours matched against them in speed, how many redirects were made, so on, and so forth. 

  • GTMetrix: Taking a step further from Pingdom Tools, and you get another free speed-checking tool but with more features as compared to the previous one. GTMetrix provides in-depth metrics that include optimization suggestions based on the test results. 

We can now finally move on to the solutions that can improve your WordPress site’s optimization.

5 Ways to Perform Speed-Optimization for Your WordPress Site 

Keep in mind that optimization is a process that comes afterwards. First, is finding the right software development company near me that excels in WordPress development to curate a site that is well-built and code-optimized. The skilled team of professionals normally provides after-deployment services that would take care of your site’s speed woes.

Nonetheless, it is important for you as an owner to be equipped with the necessary knowledge about speed-optimization solutions.

1. Select a Quality Host 

Picking the right hosting plan is immensely important as this the web host where your site thrives. Much like its home, it needs to be able to handle high traffic. Another factor of utmost importance is that when a user accesses your site, it is your host server that decides how fastly the information is passed to them.

So first and foremost, you need to find a high-quality web hosting service, since they will facilitate your other speed-optimization efforts. If your host itself is slow, then all other areas of improvements won’t improve the overall speed.

2. Use Image Optimization to Reduce File Sizes 

Since nowadays high definition and quality images are what adds to the overall aesthetics of a site, they also are the reason that drain your site’s resources. Especially if you have an ecommerce site that relies on pictures. Large file sizes eat away your bandwidth reducing loading time affecting user experience in return.
How can you optimize your images? By compressing them. There are several online tools available for this purpose. All you do is drop your image on to the site and it will compress the image for you. You then can download them and upload them onto your site.

Free online tools for image compression

  • Tiny Png
  • Compress Jpeg

Since WordPress and plugins go well together, there are plugins available that are image optimization tools. For instance, Short Pixel.

3. Apply Code Optimization

Developers write code that is neatly formatted and easily readable for the next guy. This tends to leave a lot of space resulting in thousands of lines of code.This causes the code to run slower, and load your site even more slowly. Since the machine is capable of understanding the code without the spacing and indentation, you can make your code more efficient by reducing the unnecessary spaces.

Take this code for example: 

#blue {
       font-size: 1em;
       color:  red;

After code optimization: 

#blue {font-size:1em; color: red;}

The functionality remains untouched, only the formatting has been optimized which will enable the code to run faster increasing the speed of your site. There are tools for this that instantly do the job and have user-friendly interfaces: CSS Compressor and Minify.

4. Delete Unused or Outdated Themes and Plugins 

It is best to use the latest and updated themes, and plugins. Not only they are faster, but also equipped with the latest requirements that will keep your site looking fresh and on-trend.

Keep in mind that any plugin that is inactive at your site is still integrated and taking space. You need to run a maintenance check every once in a while to detect such elements and remove them. They nor only take space on your server but slow it down as well. A simple deletion of all idle plugins and themes is enough. However, many plugins have collected data that stays even after they are deleted. So make sure you delete those files or short codes manually.

5. Optimize Your Database 

If you are dealing with a lot of data and have an entire database setup for your site, then you need to check that area as well for any slowing-down. If your database is cluttered, then that is one good reason that is slowing your site down.

And yes, there is a plugin for even database management as well. The plugins will optimize, repair, and delete whatever is not needed anymore from the database.

Of course, these were just a few important pointers out of several that need to be checked for a website’s speed optimization. Since a website’s speed affects not only its Google ranking but also its popularity with the users; it is important that a WordPress site is well taken care of. If your site is running faster, loading faster, and isn’t cluttered on front and back-end - you are good to go! 

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