Speed up WordPress site: Disclosure: Offbeat freelancer is reader-funded, We promote affiliate products that are helpful to our readers, whenever you purchase a product from these links we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The speed and performance of your website always have a drastic impact on your customer experience. Having a slow-loading website can negatively affect any online endeavor.
Studies show that from 2000 to 2016, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds. This means that as a website owner you have very little time to showcase the benefits of your site and convince your visitors to stay around.
A slow website means users will potentially leave your website before it even loads. Now let’s talk about a few reasons why your website could be slowing down.
What makes a website slow?
There are a plethora of reasons why your website could be slow some of these reasons are as follows:
- High page size: This could be the result of using poorly optmized website assets such as images, videos, icons, fonts.
- Slow web host: As stated above using a poor web hosting company can severley impact a website’s speed and performance.
- Poorly coded themes: wordpress websites are built on frameworks known as themes. When a theme isn’t properly coded and uses out of date technology, that could severly impact site speed.
- Too many plugins: Having an enourmous number of 3rd party plugins increases HTTPs requests made which in turn
- WordPress Configuration – If your WordPress site is not serving cached pages, then it will overload your server thus causing your website to be slow or crash entirely.
So how do you avoid this?
While you’re reading this blog chances are that your personal website has been hosted on a low-quality web host. This by itself is detrimental to the website’s speed and performance.
Ideally, you could simply replace your blog post, but most of the time people lack money and cannot afford to purchase another web hosting plan.
Hence this guide is geared towards beginner website owners who don’t have enough capital to spend on high-quality web hosting or CDN providers.
With this article, I wish to help WordPress users speed up wodpress site. Most of the methods and tools I have used in the article are free to use or apply. So let’s get started
1.) Optmize website images
Image files are usually the biggest reason for an increase in web page size. Even though they are an important element of any website you cannot help but accept that you wish to remove them sometimes.
Though that isn’t possible you still have the option to replace unoptimized images with their optimized counterparts.
An unoptimized PNG weighs 50-200% more than an optimized JPG file. You can use websites like tinyjpg to optimize images manually or you can you plugins like WPsmush to automatically image optimize your site in bulk.
2.) Use an AMP plugin
The term ‘AMP’ is an acronym that stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages.
AMP was originally announced in 2016 by Google as an open-source initiative to help enhance the site speed of many mobile pages.
An AMP page is a simplified version of your webpage that is built-in HTML all fluff, animations, and useless functionalities are removed hence the page becomes much faster than ever before.
AMP pages are all stored on Google and they load directly from Google’s server instead of your own website hosting server. Hence they are 7* faster than an average non-AMP web page.
If you are running a WordPress site, you can use this free plugin that lets Google know to cache your pages in the AMP format.
3.) Use a content delivery network
A content delivery network is a network of geographically distributed servers that work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. CDNs are extremely popular among website owners nowadays because they help deliver content much easier to locations far from your home server, A properly configured CDN may also help protect websites against some common malicious attacks.
Most CDNs are expensive but luckily Cloudflare provides an extremely high-quality CDN for absolutely free! You can signup for a free account and set up a CDN for your website. You can read their comprehensive guide on how to do the same here.
4.) Use a lightweight theme
A poorly coded theme will increase your website load time. Most poorly coded themes have a heavy theme framework and use out-of-date technology like J-query. There are a ton of free themes in the market that are built on lightweight frameworks. You can replace your existing theme with one of these to get better speed and performance.
If you don’t have a theme in mind or do want to put in the time for research then consider checking out my list of the best 20 free WordPress themes. All of these themes have an extremely lightweight size and minimal use of J-query, this will reduce the server callbacks that your website makes and drastically increase website speed.
4.) Limit the number of plugins you use
Here’s a rule of thumb, never let the number of plugins you have installed exceed 20. An uncontrolled amount of 3rd party plugins increases the number of HTTPS requests made to the server.
This in turn increases render-blocking content and makes your site load slower. Additionally, never use poorly coded plugins that increase bloat and increase the page size.
5.) Keep plugins and themes updated
First off only use plugins that receive regular updates. These kinds of plugins are well maintained, receive new features, and offer excellent support and assistance.
Once you have these plugins installed never fail to update them on a regular basis. New updates offer extensions on existing features as well as modification of errors.
New updates also introduce better code that loads faster and increases site speed.
6.) Configure wordpress with caching plugins
Caching refers to the process of creating static versions of your content and serving that to visitors. Static pages are generally rendered quickly in browsers. This leads to faster performance of your website.
You can install a caching plugin and configure settings to prolong caching periods and help your website load faster.
Install the W3 total cache plugin and configure your site according to your wish. This plugin can also help you minify and compress your scripts, and leverage various other tools to further speed up your site.
7.) Enable lazy loading
Lazy loading is the practice of delaying load or initialization of resources or objects with the intent of increasing performance. Lazy loading a webpage reduces page weight, allowing your page to load quicker.
I tried loading my personal website with lazy loading and saw an instant load speed increase of over 30%.
You can easily enable lazy loading on your WordPress site through the use of the a3 Lazy Load plugin.
Hope I was able to help you increase the speed of your site. Since I wanted this guide to be beginner-oriented I have tried to keep it as non-techy and easy as possible.
If you need a more thorough and detailed guide for speed optimizing WordPress then let me know down in the comments.