How to Speed Up Wordpress: 11 Easy Ways to Cut Load Time in Half

Does your Wordpress site load at the speed of a snail? A slow-loading site could hurt your bottom line. Here are 11 easy ways to optimize your site and cut your load time in half >> | Wordpress Speed Optimization | Wordpress Tips and Tricks | Site Speed Optimization | SEO Tips for Bloggers | Website Speed Wordpress | Wordpress Help | #Bloggers #Blogging #Wordpress

Does your Wordpress website load at the speed of a snail? I know exactly how you feel. I battled slow page load speed for years. Wordpress is an interesting platform to work with in part because it can either be horribly slow or blazingly fast depending on which tools you use and which strategies you implement to speed up your site.

Site speed is an incredibly important metric to track because it impacts two things that have a huge impact on your business: user experience and SEO.

Did you know that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less? 40% won't bother with a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Even a tiny 1-second delay can reduce your conversions by 7%. And 79% shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance are less likely to return in the future.

A slow-loading site can dramatically affect your bottom line.

Page speed also has a huge impact on SEO. Google factors site speed into its algorithm, which means that if your site isn’t up to par, you could be losing out on a lot of search engine traffic.

If you haven’t done anything to optimize your site speed, now is the time. And don’t worry. You don’t need to hire an expert or have a lot of technical know-how to speed up your site. Here are 10 actions you can take to dramatically improve your website performance, increase sales, and boost your SEO.

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1. Switch to a faster web host.

If you’re still on a shared hosting plan with BlueHost, HostGator, GoDaddy, or DreamHost, it’s time to upgrade. These mass market web hosts have horrible page load times that are slowing down your website.

I recommend switching to managed Wordpress hosting like StudioPress Sites* (if your site is built on the Genesis Framework*) or WP Engine* (for everyone else). These two hosts have the fastest page load times in the biz.

2. Build your site on a speedy framework.

The code powering your Wordpress theme is either helping or hurting your page speed. If you’re the DIY type, I recommend using the Genesis Framework*. If you’re hiring a professional designer, make sure they have a strong developer background (or at least one dedicated development expert on their team). Speed should be one of their top priorities!

3. Compress your images.

Large image files are one of the worst contributors to slow loading times. Make sure your images are optimized by resizing them before you upload them. You don’t want a 3000x2000px image trying to load on your site! It’ll take FOR.E.VER.

If you design graphics in Photoshop*, you can reduce file sizes by saving them for the web. Just go to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy)… Set the quality to 70% (this won’t visibly affect your image in any way) and adjust the image size if you need to before you hit save.

Finally, install WP Smush, a free plugin that automatically compresses your images when you upload them to the media library. Again, this won’t affect the appearance of your images at all. It just reduces the file size to speed loading time.

4. Limit the number of stored post revisions.

You may have noticed that Wordpress stores your post revisions just in case your Internet connection bugs out or you lose your work for some reason. You can actually see all the revisions for a post in the post editor.

Wordpress Post Revisions

Well, all those post revisions are slowing down your site. And, what’s more, you don’t actually need most of them. All you need is the most recent one or two if you lose your work. Fortunately, you can control the number of stored revisions with a free plugin called Revision Control. Problem solved.

5. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks.

When someone links to your site, your site is automatically notified, either by pingback or trackback. Unfortunately, these notifications make more work for your site, which slows it down. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks by going to Settings > Discussion and uncheck “Allow link notifications from other blogs.” (This will not affect your SEO in any way.)

6. Eliminate unnecessary plugins.

A certain number of Wordpress plugins are necessary, and some may even help speed up your site, but too many plugins or “heavy” plugins can have a negative impact on page speed.

To identify which plugins are hogging your site’s resources, I recommend using P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), a free plugin that will generate a pie chart identifying the worst offenders. At the time of this writing, the P3 plugin hasn’t been updated in over 3 years. I haven’t had any problems with it, but using an outdated plugin can leave your site vulnerable to hacking and technical problems, so I recommend deactivating and deleting it as soon as you’re done running the analysis.

Once you’ve identified the plugins that are slowing you down, you can either delete them or search for better alternatives. I also recommend doing an inventory of the plugins you’re currently using. Chances are, you’ve got a few you don’t really need. Deactivate and delete those too.

7. Optimize your blog page.

The main page of your blog, where all of your recent posts are listed in a feed, is probably one of the slowest pages on your website. And if your blog page is your homepage, that’s even more cause for concern.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to cut down the loading time of this all-important page on your website:

  • Reduce the number of posts displayed on one page. More posts = more images = slower load time. I recommend setting it to no more than 10 posts per page. You can change this under Settings > Reading.
  • Only display post excerpts. Do not, I repeat, do not display full blog posts on your main blog page. Not only do people hate scrolling that much to find what they want, it can seriously slow down your site. You can change this under Settings > Reading.
  • Clean up your sidebar. Ads, images, and other sidebar paraphernalia add precious milliseconds to page loading time. Delete any unnecessary widgets.

8. Optimize your blog posts.

For those of you who like writing novel-length blog posts, consider splitting up your post into multiple pages. This will cut down on the loading time of each page. Here’s a quick and easy tutorial on how to do that.

If you have a lot of engagement on your blog (kudos to you!), you can also divide the comments section into multiple pages. You can change this under Settings > Discussion.

9. Install WP Rocket.

WP Rocket* is an amazing plugin that solves a multitude of site performance problems. First and foremost, it’s a caching plugin, which means that it temporarily stores pages from your website so it can deliver them faster to visitors. Here are some other nifty features it offers:

  • GZIP compression. This makes files smaller so they can be transferred faster to where they need to go.
  • Lazy loading. Typically, everything on a web page needs to load before it will be displayed to the user. Lazy loading loads the images and widgets near the top of the page and then works its way down, making it less likely that a visitor will click away because of slow loading speed.
  • Database optimization. If your database is cluttered, your site will load slowly. This feature cleans up your database and speeds up loading time.
  • Minification & concatenation. Basically, this removed any unnecessary HTML, CSS, and Javascript from your code without changing the functionality of your site.
  • Defer Javascript loading. CSS should always load before Javascript for optimum page speed, but that doesn’t always happen. This feature makes sure it does.

Without WP Rocket, you would have to install a different plugin to accomplish every single one of these tasks. And that would probably not be great for your website speed! WP Rocket* makes all of this complicated technical stuff super easy. All you have to do is install the plugin and check a few boxes in the settings.

10. Use a content delivery network.

Every time someone visits your site, your content needs to be delivered from your server to their computer. This poses a problem if they live far away from your server. The more distance between the visitor and the server, the slower the page load speed.

A content delivery network (CDN) has servers all over the world. If you use a CDN, your content is delivered to the visitor by the CDN server closest to them, which significantly speeds up loading time.

If you’re new to the concept of CDNs, I recommend starting out with Cloudflare because it offers a free plan. I’ve also used MaxCDN in the past, which starts at $9/month, but I didn’t notice a huge difference in performance compared to Cloudflare’s free plan.

Bonus Tip: Both Cloudflare and MaxCDN integrate seamlessly with WP Rocket*.

11. Protect your bandwidth from thieving scoundrels.

People may be stealing your bandwidth without your knowledge by hotlinking to your images. Hotlinking is when someone displays your image by directly linking to the source of the image in your Wordpress database. Not only does hotlinking make it easy for people to steal your images, it also robs you of bandwidth, which can slow down your site.

Unfortunately, blogging services like Google’s Blogger encourage this sort of thing by making hotlinking an optional way to add images to a blog post.

Blogger Hotlinking

Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent hotlinking with All in One WP Security & Firewall, a free plugin that protects your site from a number of threats. All you have to do is install the plugin, then go to WP Security > Firewall > Prevent Hotlinks and check the little box. Don’t forget to save your settings!

If you’re not sure if your website speed is up to par, you can measure it using Google’s PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom. Pingdom’s Website Speed Test is the most important because it tells you the exact amount of time it takes your page to load. You may want to take a few baseline measurements and then repeat the process after implementing some of the changes I’ve outlined here.

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Have any questions, comments, or feedback? Drop a note in the comments below!