Every search engine, whether it be Google or Bing, want users to have a great experience; part of which lies in visiting a fast website. Even so, some websites just seem to load slowly no matter what you do. However, according to Chris Coyier, a WordPress expert, a slow WordPress website is primarily caused by “front-end” issues.
Why is Site Speed So Important?
You have probably heard it before, but you only have a few seconds to capture the interest of a visitor and convince them to stay on your website. This is why layout and style are important – but of all the important elements out there – speed is the most important. If your site doesn’t load quickly people will go away. The following are a few easy fixes anyone can do to make their WordPress website load faster.
- Your Hosting Company
- The Framework
- HTTP Compression
- Optimize Images
- Optimize the Homepage
While an inexpensive shared hosting option may work for a new website, one that gets a lot of traffic will need a more advanced hosting service, and in many instances, a VPS (shameless plug!). A VPS is a great option for many designers and developers to explore their capabilities and options.
The themed frameworks made specifically for WordPress, keep the workings simple, and offer speedy load times. While you can have a designer say build a custom self-hosted WordPress sites, the themes are the most economically efficient way to get a faster loading website.
By using Gzip or Deflateit you can essentially compress the files sent over an HTTP connection to a very minimal size. This makes sending the files back and forth to the Internet hosting server faster. You can get the code you need by going to html5boilerplate.com to get the Apache directive code.
Be sure you find an effective caching plugin. These improve page load times and can be found through the plugin feature of your WordPress dashboard; a favorite is W3 Total Cache. Once you download and install the plugin through the plugin feature on your dashboard, you only need to click the “Activate” link initiate it.
Use an image optimizer like Smush.it to reduce the size but not the quality of the image. If you aren’t up to doing this with every image you can use the WordPress plugin for Smush.it called WP-SmushIt. This will automatically reduce all of your images automatically for you.
There are several things you can do to optimize your homepage. Here are a handful;
- Showing excerpts of posts instead of the full post.
- Reduce the number of posts you allow on the page. In the beginning you may have opted for the default listing of all posts, but now that you are more experienced you want to keep it at a manageable three to five.
- Remove sharing widgets you don’t use from the home page and instead place them on the posts.
- Remove plugins you don’t use.
- Keep widgets to a minimum.
You need to keep your website clean and easy to read. People come here to get content not to see all the cool buttons.
Download a plugin called WP-Optimize to get rid of spam, old revisions, drafts, tables, which you don’t need and could very well be slowing down your site.
This could seriously affect you if you make custom images that other webmasters want to hyperlink to. This ‘bandwidth stealing” will obviously slow down your VPS. If too many people do this it will significantly affect your load time.
Set the Gravatar image to nothing because it improves your load time. If you set the default image to a blank then your site loads faster.
By following the above easy quick-fixes, you can significantly improve the load speed of your WordPress website, thereby keeping visitors longer on your site and increasing the chances of the search engines giving online real estate a better organic listing.
Note: These are some great tips but we strongly recommend taking a backup before you try any of these.
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