One thing that all WordPress users will no doubt agree on is that out of the box. It isn’t the speediest application out there. It’s an extremely feature rich application which means it’s extremely code heavy.
If you couple this with a whole bunch of plugins and theme functions you’re going to end up with a fairly bulky, slow loading website before you even get started on the content you’re pushing.
Fortunately, due to the popularity of WordPress and it’s sheer wide usage, there are lots of things you can do to speed up your site with very little effort.
No real coding knowledge is needed at all to take your existing site from a slow old cumbersome dinosaur to a lightning fast website to rival your competitors and make them quake in fear.
The Need… for Speed
One of the things people don’t understand is why a fast website is important. If the information loads, what does it matter? Well, you need to ask yourself, how long do you stick around when you’re viewing websites? If you search Google for something, click a result, how long do you then wait before you click back? If you’re honest, it’s probably not long! Your visitors are no different.
If you want them to stick around and read what you’re offering you need to make sure your website loads fast. Google also rewards speedy websites with higher, more prominent search engine rankings too, so it’s a win/win with no real effort required on your part.
5 Steps to Sky Rocket Your WordPress Website
So let’s get started.
It Starts at Host Level
You can do all the software and server level speed ups you like but if you’re using a slow host you’re not going to achieve anywhere near peak performance. To start with, you need a good host. If you can’t budget for a dedicated or virtual private solution, then pick up some WordPress optimized hosting.
These plans come fully optimized with all of the required modules and config changes in place already to speed WordPress up right out of the box.
There seem to be caching plugins coming on the market day in day out. As mentioned above people, particularly developers realize how slow and cumbersome WordPress can be and plugin developers see this as a good issue to address to turn a profit.
You can do the research yourself to see what is out there and what will suit your situation but as a starter, you could look into W3 Total Cache if you’re looking for somewhat of a blanket option.
Minifying all of your stylesheets and JS files is something you should do anyway, but people seldom seem to bother. Although admittedly these days it’s a lot more popular than it once was. The act of minifying is removing white space such as spaces, tabs and line breaks from your source files.
Less white space means a smaller physical file size and a smaller file size obviously means a faster loading time for your website.
Server Side Caching
If the above plugins are not doing their job, you can apply server-based caching applications such as Varnish which can be used to cache entire pages as opposed to just single files as per the above. You may need to ask your web host for help with this however if you’re not particularly experienced in server administration.
In truth, things can go wrong and you can end up with a slower loading site than you had originally if you’re not careful.
CDN’s (content delivery networks)
Content delivery networks are a great way to speed up your site immediately. By deferring the loading and processing over to a third party such as CloudFlare, you can limit the number of calls made to your server and utilize the power of someone else.
Hopefully, this thought-provoking article will serve its purpose and you’ll now endeavor to speed up your website. A great tool for figuring out exactly how fast your website is loading is GTMetrix.
It will take time how long all your pages take to load and report back on not only the load times but where the issues are arising such as bottlenecks and slow-loading scripts in general. It’ll also give you tips on how to resolve them.