If you are running a WordPress (WP) website, you already have a head start against the competition. The internet market has become the new frontier for businesses and with more than 3.62 billion people online today, every business needs a high-performance website. This is exactly what WordPress content management system (CMS) offers you. The CMS has a one-click installation feature and is regarded the most customizable CMS. With thousands of free plugins, WP is the ideal website platform for a growing business.
The Need For Speed:
However, like with all other CMSs, there is always a concern about speed. You see, as your website expands, there are many factors that determine the optimal loading speeds. A study by DoubleClick, a subsidiary of Google, says a slow loading website frustrates users and also drives away publishers. 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
In the same study, websites with less than 5 seconds load speeds observed 25% higher Ad viewability, 70% longer average sessions and 35% lower bounce rates. Another study shows that 39% of people will stop engagement with a website if images take too long to load or won’t load at all.
These statistics highlight the need for speed which the internet user is after when they come to your website. The following are some main pointers form Derek’s guide to WordPress speed which you must consider if you are to leverage the growing number of internet users:
- Test and evaluate your website loading speeds – They say you can only manage what you know and as such, use available speed testing tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights to identify the weak areas which need tweaking to improve speed.
- Choose the right WP theme – There are thousands of free and premium WP themes but always strive for simplicity, responsive design, speed, SEO-friendliness and avoid supported speed plugins to find the best. Go for minimalist frameworks which are renowned for fast speeds.
- Limit WP plugins on your site –Very many plug-ins will slow your site’s loading speeds, hence the need to get alternatives to tweak your site without excessive use of plugins.
- Lean WP database – Keep your database clean by minimizing number of revisions by editing your wp-config.php to set the number of revisions you want.
- Minimize file sizes before publishing –Make sure you don’t compromise on quality. This can be done by using a file editor or image optimizing tools.
- Use lazy load plugins –This minimizes the load times by making your site more manageable as content is not loaded all at once.
- Stop hot linking – Users grabbing images from your site by copying their URLs and then posting on their blogs will affects your site’s loading speeds. This means you have to stop hot linking from your .htacess file.
- Turn off antiquated WordPress features – These include pingbacks and trackbacks which can be disabled from your dashboard.
- Browser caching – This allows the site to load faster by reducing server requests.
Other ideas include minimizing WOFF (Web Open Font Format) and WOFF2 formats, placing render-blocking resources above the fold, using a reliable hosting service and file compression, reducing HTTP requests and using a content delivery network (CDN).