Optimize your WordPress site speed

Since WordPress powers over 33% of the web, it can come in many shapes, sizes and speeds, depending on how you use it. Since search engines like Google, measure the speed of your website in it’s ranking algorithm, making sure your WordPress site loads quickly is important to your site’s SEO. It also ensures your site loads easily for your users and gives off a more credible vibe. We often hear criticism about WordPress that WordPress is slow. This is not true – it’s not WordPress that is slow, but rather how it’s built and being used. If you want to ensure your WordPress site – new or old – runs as fast as possible, follow these hot recommendations:

Use a recommended WordPress hosting provider

One of the most important factors in optimizing your WordPress site’s speed is choosing a good, WordPress focused host. Choosing a good reliable host will ensure less down time for your site and quickly server requests which will in turn, serve up your website reliably and quickly.

See our list of our favourite WordPress hosting providers here!

Use a Cache plugin

Caching your site means that your website’s files and database are saved for users in either their browser  and/or on the server, depending on the type of cacheing used. This means that when users visit your site more than once, they don’t have to re-download your entire’s website data and files each time they visit, which can take time and energy and ramp up your site’s load time. Instead, cacheing stores your website’s files and data as easy to access files for your users and drastically optimizes your site’s performance.

We recommend trying w3 Total Cache orWP Super Cache!

Optimize your images

Large images are the biggest culprit when it comes to slowing down your site. When doing site speed audits, this is where we see the biggest damage done. There are a few steps here you can take to ensure images aren’t slowing down your site.

  1. Ensure images are no larger than they need to be. This means, if you are uploading an images to fit a block that has max-width of 500px, your images shouldn’t be any wider then 500 pixels either. Otherwise, you are unnecessarily forcing a large download, which will slow down the site.
  2. Run your image through an image compression tool before uploading them into your WordPress site. No matter how large the space you are trying to fill, your image should NEVER be larger than 1mb at the absolute most.Some of our favourite image compressors are Optimizilla (this is an online tool) or Image Optim (they have both a mac app and online tool).
  3. Use an image optimizer plugin. This will crush your images when you upload them into your WordPress site. They have some awesome settings like ensuring images can never be uploaded over a certain size and remove unimportant meta data that weigh images down. We love Smush Image Optimizer.

Deactivate and delete plugins that are unused

Each time you download and activate a plugin, that plugin comes with a whole wack of its own files: php, js and css files. Each new file is a new resource your website now needs to download in order to finish loading. This means that the more plugins you use, the longer your site will take to download. It also opens your site up to possible security vulnerabilities. Keep the plugins you use as lean as possible, and deleted plugins that are unused.

Update WordPress core and all your plugins regularly

WordPress and well-made plugins are constantly updating, fixing bugs and optimizing performance. Each time they do this, they release a new version – and voila, you have an update available. Ensuring you are keeping on top of site updates will make sure your site is running the most up to date version of the code; and thus, the most preferment, bug-free version of the code.

Schedule at least a day one month when you go in and to run maintenance on your site.

Need help maintaining your site? We offer maintenance retainers! Contact us to find out more.

Ensure you are running PHP7 or higher

WordPress is built on PHP. There are many versions of PHP but the most recent PHP release, PHP 7, is the most performant out there – up to twice as fast as older versions. If you are running your WordPress site on an old version of PHP, this could drastically effect your site’s speed. Learn how to safely update your PHP version here.

Since WordPress is an open source software, there are amazing, performant and strong ways to build and use your WordPress site but there are also a lot of ways you can mess things up. Hopefully these tips helped you learn how to optimize your site so it loads in at bullet speed.

Still need help? We can help you optimize your WordPress site’s speed.

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