WordPress is a great platform for those who want to design a website without needing to be an experienced web developer.
However, it’s very easy to run into problems, such having a slow, sluggish website. That’s not only frustrating for you, but it’s an easy way to end up losing your customers. According to a Microsoft Bing report, a two second delay in page responsiveness reduced user satisfaction by 3.7%, and saw an increase in lost revenue by 4.3%, as well as reducing clicks by 4.3%.
Page speed is also an issue when considering Google’s rankings. If you’ve got a website that responds slowly, don’t expect to be in the number one spot for Google’s search results. Furthermore, Google also consider its own PageSpeed review of your website as a ranking factor when looking at mobile and desktop pages, so make sure to think about both when optimising your PageSpeed.
In other words, it’s pretty important to ensure your website is responsive and fast enough.
How do you know how responsive your website is? There are a few tools you can use to measure the loading time of your website, including:
Google also has a tool called PageSpeed Insights, which analyses the content of the web page, then generates suggestions to make the page faster.
So how do you stop your WordPress website being so slow? Here’s three easy things you can implement now, without even needing to be a web developer:
1. Use an effective caching plugin
While plugins generally seem helpful and improve a website’s aesthetic and functionality, sometimes they don’t. WordPress will run slower if you use too many plugins, or install a bad plugin.
A cache is a place where data is temporarily stored. Every time you visit a website, chances are your browser will store some of the site’s files within its cache. The more data it stores, the faster a website loads. The caching plugins work by saving the generated HTML files and serving them from the cache when a request is made. In other words, it’s reusing previously generated data, to save WordPress loading all the PHP scripts every time the page loads.
Caching plugins aren’t a hassle to setup, and best of all they will lower the load time and help you increase visitors. There are a wide variety to select from, so just keep in mind a few things when considering which caching plugin to use:
- Cost: how much are you willing to pay for the plugin? There’s a wide variety of costs, ranging from free to a few hundred dollars. The more high-end the plugin, the more it’s going to cost.
- Functionality: if you’ve got a larger site, you’re going to want a very functional caching plugin. Some come with extras, including content delivery networks and minification, which removes all unnecessary characters from source code. While this will allow your website to run even faster, not everyone will need these extras.
- Support: if you’re a tech whizz, then chances are you don’t really need much support. However, for those whose abilities aren’t as technically superior, then you’re going to need support. Some plugins have support lines or forums for you to use if necessary.
Some caching plugins for you to consider are:
- W3 Total Cache: this is the only WordPress Performance Optimisation framework. It reduces download times and improves user experience and SEO.
- WP Super Cache: this is the most downloaded caching product, and has been installed over one million times.
- WP Rocket: while this option will require you to purchase a licence, it’s also the fastest option on the market and comes with tech support.
2. Reduce Image Size
The size of your website will greatly increase as a result of images. If your website is full of large images, chances are it will have a slower response time.
The solution? Optimize your images. Of course, you can manually do this using tools such as Page Speed Insights extension or even Photoshop, or, as usual; there’s a WP plugin for that:
Some reputable tools and plugins are:
3. Use a Content Delivery Network
You may not know it, but every one of us interacts with content delivery networks (CDNs) on a daily basis.
A CDN stores cached versions of its content in multiple geographical locations in an attempt to minimise the distance between the visitor and the website’s server. For example, if someone from the United Kingdom visits your Australian-hosted website, it will be done through a United Kingdom point of presence. The CDNs shorten the physical distance between the visitor and server. This improves the websites rendering speed and performance.
Of course, if your website is localised, then you won’t really need to worry about getting a CDN. However, if you have or want a global audience, then this is a must for your website.
There are many CDN plugins and tools you can use to increase the speed of your WordPress website. Some worth checking out are:
- CDN Enabler: Before you check out the websites, install this plugin. This will help you quickly and easily integrate the CDN into WordPress by linking your content to the CND URLs.
- MaxCDN: MaxCDN has servers all over the world, including Australia, US, UK and China. You will qualify for a free trial if you use over 15TB a month. Once you’ve completed the trial, you can get the Basic Start Plan for $9 per month, which comes with 100GB bandwidth for two websites.
- CloudFare: Unlike other CDN services, CloudFare doesn’t charge for bandwidth usage. CloudFare boasts it will load websites twice as fast, use 60 per cent less bandwidth, has 65 per cent fewer requests, and has 28 data centers around the world. Plans start at $20 per month.
You can implement these three tips instantly and see the difference in your response time, and the positive effect on SEO and conversions.