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Improving your website load times matters more today than it ever did before.
No one has ever said; “I wish this website was slower!”
If your website or business is looking to gain the attention of a global audience, there are some extra steps to take to ensure you’re providing a high-quality user experience for everyone who visits your website.
There are many ways to improve website load times, ranging from serverside caching, serving optimized image files, optimizing your scripts, or upgrading your web hosting. You can also improve website load times by implementing a CDN service.
8 Tricks for Making Your WordPress Website Faster
These tricks for speeding up your WordPress website are listed in the order you should attempt them. The first website optimization tips are the easiest to do and will have the largest impact on your website loading times.
It’s recommended that you take a backup of your website before beginning.
#1 Update WordPress, Theme, and Plugins
WordPress is built upon layers of software, and like all software, updates are a regular part of WordPress. WordPress updates bring new features, fix security issues, and can improve website performance. Keeping your website up to date is a good way to ensure your website will load fast and be online consistently.
#2 Remove Unnecessary Themes and Plugins from WordPress
Your WordPress theme is the template that controls how your website looks and operates. Every WordPress website needs a theme, but if your site has been around for a few years, or if your host installed WordPress for you, there might be several themes installed on your WordPress website. Inactive themes take up space and can become a security risk at times. Deleting unnecessary theme files only has positive effects on your website.
The same can be said about WordPress plugins. Plugins are necessary for your website to function, but inactive plugins should be removed, and any active plugins that aren’t being utilized, should be removed. This will increase your website speed, making web pages load faster, while also decreasing the chances of security problems.
#3 Use a Caching Plugin to Serve Optimized Website Files
A caching plugin automatically creates a cache of your website files. This means that when someone visits your website, they will download the cached file from the server instead of loading all the files again from WordPress, resulting in faster page loads.
How does a caching plugin make my website faster?
What are the best WordPress caching plugins?
Everyone’s opinion will vary, but most tend to agree that the best plugins for optimizing WordPress load times are Autoptimize, WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache, or NitroPack. If you’re hosted with SiteGround, you might want to check out SiteGround’s Optimizer plugin.
What caching plugin does Bocain Designs recommend for WordPress?
We currently use WP Rocket to optimize our website and recommend WP Rocket for most WordPress websites. WP Rocket is a premium caching plugin that makes it easy to optimize a small website like a blog, but it’s also great for larger websites, like a Woocommerce web store.
WP Rocket comes with a $49/year cost for licensing, which includes support and all future updates to the plugin.
#4 Resize and Compress Image Files BEFORE Adding them to WordPress
The next step for speeding up your website is optimizing the images. Images can make up a large percentage of the total load time depending on if they’re optimized or not. Photoshop and similar tools offer ways to save files for the web, at a reduced size. You can also try online tools like Squoosh or Compressor for optimizing image file sizes before you add them to your website.
If you don’t have access to a compression tool, WordPress supports several plugins for resizing and compressing images including EWWW Image Optimizer, Imagify, or Smush. Requests for images should be minimized to ensure your WordPress website loads fast.
#5 Optimize Your Images by using WEBP Images in WordPress
If you’re not familiar with WEBP, it’s a new image format that provides quality images at less than half the PNG file size. It can be difficult to optimize images without using professional image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop. Dynamic Website Optimizer offers a tool for converting image files into WEBP format that works well and is simple to use. There are WordPress plugins that will automatically convert images into WEBP format anytime you add them to your WordPress media library.
When it comes to automatically optimize images and serving them in a WEBP format, we highly recommend Imagify.io. In the image above, you’ll see we’ve reduced our image sizes by 65%, meaning our web pages load quicker and our web server doesn’t have to work as hard to serve page loads. Everybody wins!
How easy is it to use Imagify?
It only takes a few clicks to get started, it’s totally free for casual users, and it works with the current version of WordPress and all of the popular web hosts and caching plugins.
What does Imagify do?
Imagify will scan your WordPress media library and offers a way to bulk optimize your images within WordPress. Imagify will show WEBP images, instead of JPGs or PNG images, whenever possible, saving your server bandwidth and improving page load times.
To get the most out of optimizing your images with Imagify, we still recommend resizing your images before uploading them to WordPress.
#6 Setup a Content Delivery Network for Improving Global Load Times
A content delivery network, or CDN for short, is an affordable way to improve your website loading times for people across the planet.
A CDN improves website load times by syncing your website files across a network of web servers located all over the planet. Most CDN providers have servers on every continent (except Antarctica) and near major hubs or cities, ensuring fast load times for website visitors in populated areas.
If somebody in Syndey, AU visits our website, the website files will be loaded from a server somewhere in the Asia Pacific.
Likewise, if somebody in Canada visits our website, they will receive the website files from somewhere in the northern US or a server in Canada.
How much does a CDN cost?
It’s possible to host all your files on a CDN for less than $100 per year – or even FREE depending on how much bandwidth you need.
What are examples of CDN companies?
Some of the popular CDN companies include Bunny, MaxCDN, CloudFlare, and Amazon CloudFront.
What CDN does Bocain Designs recommend for WordPress websites?
Bunny’s CDN offers servers in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa. Wherever your customers are from, you can make sure your website loads faster by enabling a CDN “pull zone” near them. Bunny’s CDN will improve your page loads by taking stress off your main web server, saving you money (compared to being forced to upgrade web hostings due to resource usage).
Another reason we like Bunny is that they continue to add new services to improve website load times. They recently added Bunny Stream, a great tool for websites focused on serving video content. For less than $10/mo, they will also provide unlimited image optimization requests, a must for any website that burns through bandwidth due to their images.
How do you connect a CDN to WordPress?
Connecting your CDN to WordPress is a fast process. Most CDN providers will give you a WordPress plugin to make the connection, or provide you with information you can add to your website optimization or caching plugin. WP Rocket lets you add your CDN details directly to it, so you know your caching plugin and CDN service are communicating properly!
#7 Use Google AMP (Google Accelerated Mobile Pages) for Blog Posts
Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a new technology that makes your website faster. Since it first launched in October of 2015, Google has steadily been rolling out the service to more and more websites. Google AMP allows you to fix slow WordPress websites by making them load faster for mobile devices. This article will show you how easy it is to make your WordPress website faster with Google Accelerate Mobile Pages or “AMP.”
Pages using AMP will load very fast, but will lack a robust set of features a non-AMP page might have. If you’re a blogger or a news/media website, AMP might be the perfect solution for speeding up your website. If you’re a business or an e-commerce website, you should avoid using Google AMP for site performance as you’ll see a considerable drop-off in conversions or sales.
#8 Migrate to a Better Web Host that Specializes with WordPress Performance and Security
If you’re tired of dealing with slow WordPress websites, a faster web hosting company may be just what you need. There are many good hosts out there but some specialize in WordPress performance and security better than others. WP Engine is one that specializes in WordPress, all the way down to their TCP stack: they provide the fastest website hosting on the market.
In our experience, most WordPress websites facing issues with speed are either bogged down by plugins or use cheap shared web hosting solutions from companies like GoDaddy or Bluehost. These hosts are acceptable for simple websites, blogs, or startups. Any business that collects personal information from their customers, or businesses that rely on their website to stay profitable needs a web host that is built with business in mind. Shared hosting plans often times have hundreds of customers on the same server so there’s never enough useable RAM or processing power to run your site smoothly.
Learn more about how to select the best web host for your business website.
Want Help Speeding Up Your WordPress Website?
You deserve a fast website that doesn’t slow down or crash when you need it most – like after doing an email blast or when a post goes viral!
We know that every second counts when it comes to loading time, so we’ll work hard to make sure your site loads quickly and efficiently. We will take care of all the technical stuff so you can focus on growing your business instead of worrying about how to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.
Let’s talk about how we can help speed up your WordPress site today!
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