Many companies whose products we use on a daily basis have recognized the significant impact that website performance and page load time has on their business:
- Amazon reported that for every 1 second of latency, they experienced a 10% loss in sales
- Google found that an additional 0.5 seconds in search duration resulted in a 20% decrease in traffic.
- Akamai discovered that a one-second delay in page load time led to a 7% reduction in conversion rates.
Therefore, the goal of this post is to help you improve the performance of your WordPress website in order to maximize conversion rates and attract more visitors.
How to check your WordPress website speed?
If you want to improve the performance of your website, there are several free tools available to help you do so. Two of the most popular options are PageSpeed by Google and GTMetrix.
Using these tools is simple: just enter the URL of your page and you will receive a performance score and a list of recommendations for optimizing your website’s speed. By following these recommendations, you can make your website faster and more efficient.
1. Choose a fast WordPress hosting
It’s important not to skimp on WordPress hosting, as it can greatly affect page load times. Some hosting providers may be slower than others, so it’s worth doing your research to find a high-performance host.
Managed WordPress hosting can be a convenient option, as the provider takes care of optimizing hosting performance for you. However, if you choose to host your own website, you’ll need to spend time configuring various settings to ensure optimal performance. This can be time-consuming and may divert you from your primary goal of creating quality content for your readers
2. Host your website near your readers
Hosting your website near your readers can be beneficial in terms of performance. When the server hosting your website is physically closer to your audience, it can reduce the time it takes for your website to load, leading to a better user experience. This is because data has to travel a shorter distance to reach the user, resulting in faster load times. If your audience is primarily located in a specific region, consider hosting your website in a location close to them
To determine the origins of your readers, you can use Visualime Analytics to quickly gain insights.
3. Remove plugins you don’t use
To remove unused plugins, simply go through the list of installed plugins and click the delete button next to any that you are no longer using. This will help to reduce the number of resources that need to be loaded for each page, resulting in faster loading times.
4. Optimize your WordPress database
As a website accumulates more data, it is common for WordPress to become slower due to the database (SQL) queries that retrieve this data not being optimized for optimal performance. To improve the performance of your website, you can use tools like EverSQL to optimize your SQL queries automatically.
5. Upgrade to the latest PHP version
PHP is the technology that powers the entire WordPress platform. With each new version, the PHP team includes significant performance enhancements that can help speed up your website. By upgrading to the latest version of PHP, you can take advantage of these improvements.
To see if upgrading your PHP version could benefit your website, you can start by checking your current WordPress PHP version. If it is an older version, it may be worth considering an upgrade.
6. Optimize images for speed
The size of the images in your WordPress posts or pages can have a significant impact on the page load time. Large images can slow down the loading of your pages.
To optimize the loading time of your images, you can try the following strategies:
- Compress your images manually using tools like TinyPNG or TinyJPEG. These tools allow you to compress images without losing quality by simply dragging and dropping the image and downloading the compressed version.
- Resize high-resolution images if you are displaying them at a fixed size on your posts.
- Use automated solutions like Cloudinary to automatically resize, compress, and cache images for your WordPress blog. This can save you time and effort while improving the loading speed of your images.
7. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Cloudflare is a popular and free CDN service that you can use to improve the performance of your website for visitors from different locations.
8. Use a lightweight WordPress theme
The performance of your website is heavily influenced by the WordPress theme you use, as it serves as the foundation for your website’s design and structure. To ensure that your website runs smoothly, we recommend experimenting with different themes and monitoring your website’s speed while doing so.
When choosing a theme, it’s important to consider not only its appearance but also its impact on your website’s performance. You can choose from thousands of themes offered by WordPress.
9. Don’t self-host videos
Video files can often be quite large, which can strain your server and hosting network if they are not optimized for delivering video content efficiently.
To provide your readers with the best possible video viewing experience, it’s recommended to host your videos on a dedicated video platform like YouTube or Wistia and embed them on your website using their provided widgets. This helps ensure that your website remains performant while providing high-quality video content to your audience.
There are several plugins available that can automate the process for you. Simply install the plugin of your choice and you’re all set. This can save you time and effort, as the plugin will handle the minification process automatically.
11. Reduce number of external libraries
To improve the performance of your website, it can be helpful to reduce the number of external libraries you use, particularly those that are not strictly necessary.
You can use tools like the Wappalyzer chrome extension to identify the libraries and external services you have implemented on your website and remove any that are not needed. This can help streamline your website and improve its overall performance.
12. Limit the number of post revisions
In WordPress, every time you save a draft while writing a post, a revision is saved in the database. Over time, these revisions can accumulate, especially if you have many posts, which can slow down your WordPress database and SQL queries.
To address this issue, you can configure WordPress to save only the most recent X revisions for each post. To do this, you can add the following line to your wp-config.php file:
define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3 );
Replace X with the number of revisions you want to keep for each post. For example, setting X to 3 will keep the 3 most recent revisions for each post. You can also set X to 0 to disable revisions completely.
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