5 Tips To Make Your Website Run Faster
Image credit: xmodulo.com
The speed of your WordPress website is vitally important, more so today than ever before. And with internet connection speeds going up throughout the world, you can’t generally blame loading issues on ISPs — if your visitors get frustrated at how slowly your site responds, they’re going to hold you responsible.
But how do you optimize speed to ensure that you’re providing a solid experience and meeting the needs of your users? Here are 5 tips for doing just that:
Compress all your images
Online images keep getting bigger. With mobile screens growing and pixel densities rising, there’s no way of knowing that the visuals that look fine today won’t look awful on devices released in the near future, so it’s best to use the largest images you can — but that introduces a fresh problem, because bigger images typically require bigger files.
This doesn’t go for all images, as vector files will sharply scale up to any resolution without taking up much space, but only some visuals are suited to vector files. Your JPGs and PNGs might be hugely slowing down your website. To combat this, you must compress them as much as possible without ruining their quality.
Online services such as TinyPNG are great for this, but WordPress has the free Smush plugin that will optimize all the images on your site automatically. Install it, and let it work its magic. In addition, think about adopting the WebP image format alongside the older formats to speed up loading for browsers that support it: here are some WordPress plugins that make that possible.
Clean up your database
A WordPress installation consists of far more than what the visitors get to see when they arrive at the site. It involves a database at its core, and collects various things including library media files, user comments, emails (spam or otherwise), draft posts, revisions, and even update details. All this information adds up and has a detrimental effect on the overall speed of the site.
Cleaning up your database is all about getting rid of unneeded information on a regular basis, removing the junk data that every WordPress site gathers over time. Try a plugin like WP-Optimize: it allows you to determine exactly what files you want to clean, and set a schedule to automate the entire process.
Get better hosting
Your website hosting plays the biggest role in determining the speed of your website. You can have the most cleanly optimized site in the world, but if your host doesn’t have the server speed or capacity to deliver it quickly, the user will leave disappointed and frustrated. And there are plenty of web hosts out there, with platforms that vary wildly in quality.
Basic web hosts tend to be cheap and suitable for modest beginner websites. They offer reasonable uptime, but with tight data restrictions, and aren’t going to be able to handle any significant increases in traffic. They then scale up in quality as you increase the budget until you reach the high-end enterprise level, with many of the most popular hosts being tied into services — for instance, Shopify provides web hosting as part of its ecommerce SaaS, giving the platform a stability that makes it viable for store flipping (trading online stores like assets).
In general, WordPress has great hosting options, because it’s used so widely that almost everyone will cater to it. If you’re not happy with your host, then consider moving to another — it shouldn’t be too tricky to move the site over. Consider something like SiteGround, perhaps the most widely-recommended WordPress host on the market. Depending on the quality of your current hosting service, you might even find that you end up paying less to achieve better speeds and greater reliability.
Remove any unnecessary items
How much content do you have on your WordPress site? Load the homepage and scroll through it to see how it comes across. Is every piece of content absolutely necessary? There will almost-certainly be things you can viably trim without adversely affecting the quality of the page. Maybe you have some extra images at the bottom of the page which people are unlikely to notice, or added style elements that don’t contribute much.
Very simply, the less content you have on your site, the smaller the files will be, and the faster it will load. Aim for a minimalist approach — cut things ruthlessly until you’re satisfied with the general site performance. That said, if you’ve followed all the other steps and achieved enough speed, then don’t feel obliged to remove things for the sake of it. If a piece of content isn’t slowing the site down and you think it adds something to the page (however slight), then you can leave it alone for the time being.
A slow website will ultimately drive visitors away and make your entire business look bad, so don’t simply trust that you’re providing adequate performance. Take these steps to achieve a significant increase in the speed of your WordPress site, and expect to see a meaningful increase in your web analytics as a result.