WordPress is probably the most popular Content Management System (CMS) out there to create a website or a blog. But WordPress can be slow to load with all the themes and plugins. The problem with that is that how fast your site is loading is a factor used in Google’s algorithm. And it makes sense. The better the user experience the more sales/conversions. A website that loads in more than 5 seconds will have a bounce rate twice as high than a website that can load faster. More than half the visitors leave websites that take more than 3 seconds to load on their phone.
Now that you know why speed is important, let’s take a look at what we can do to make your WordPress site faster.
How to know if your site needs to be faster
There’s many websites that will tell you more or less accurately how fast your site loads, what you can do to fix it, etc. All these tools are free. There’s absolutely no need to use a paid service for that no matter how detailed the report is supposed to be.
Those are the ones I use/suggest:
– Google Pagespeed Insight: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
– Webpagetest: https://www.webpagetest.org/
– GTMetrix: https://gtmetrix.com/
– Google Lighthouse: https://developers.google.com/web/tools/lighthouse/
Limit the number of plugins you use
Plugins, on top of slowing down your site, are also a potential security problem. Try to limit them to the minimum. I personally don’t like to have more than 5-6 but try to stay within the 10-15 range. Of course lower is better. There’s lots of plugins that can be avoided. I see lots of plugin redirects, or plugins that add functionalities to the admin area etc…For those I try to use code in my child theme where I can override anything I need. If it’s something I need that is too complex or too time consuming to develop myself, I ALWAYS go for premium plugins whether it’s on Codecanyon or I do some research to find a company that creates a premium plugin that has the functionalities I’m looking for. Usually, support is better, chances are the code is probably cleaner therefore faster. It’s also safer as far as updates and upgrades.
Images are the easiest to optimize. No need to use a huge image that will only be used smaller on your site. There’s plenty of sites that can help you do that for you but if you use Google Pagespeed it will offer you to download css, js AND images optimized for you.
Choose the right image format
For vector files like logos, infographics, elements with fewer colors, prefer .png or .svg. For more complex images, prefer .jpg.
Compress HTML, CSS and JS
– HTML minifier: https://www.willpeavy.com/minifier/
– JS compress: https://jscompress.com/
– CSS minifier: https://cssminifier.com/
– WP Rocket: https://wp-rocket.me/
With asynchronous loading, the HTML is parsing and the loading of your scripts will go on but your scripts will only execute when it’s ready. Taking up the least amount of load speed. However not all browsers support asynchronous script loading.
Of course, asynchronous is the best solution. There’s plenty of plugins that can do that for you but if you are using Wp Rocket, it’s already built in.
Caching is caring
That goes with compressing the files. Usually most caching plugins combine caching and compressing files. Out of the plugins available and after using mostly W3 Total Cache for years, WP Rocket is my favorite. I started recently to use it and I have pretty good results out of the box. It’s easy (or complex if you need) to set up and I never ave to worry about it where I had so many issues with W3 Total Cache for example with certain hosting companies. I’m not really sure why but Godaddy for example blacklisted it. Therefore if you use it, your site is not gonna work really well. I learned that the hard way.
Use a CDN
If your traffic comes from everywhere, you might want to consider using a CDN or Content Delivery Network. A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver pages and other Web content to a user, based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and the content delivery server. There’s many services out there but some are “compatible” with WordPress and easy to integrate with a simple plugin:
– Cloudfare: https://www.cloudflare.com/integrations/wordpress/
– WP Rocket: https://wp-rocket.me/
If you need help with speeding up your WordPress site, or if you want a free report of your current site speed, contact us.