It isn’t enough to design and deploy a website. Post development, every website needs optimization, no matter how incredible it is! A website with superior speed and performance keeps visitors hooked and eases them further down the purchasing cycle. Not sure where to start? You’re in luck! Here’s the ultimate guide to optimizing your WordPress website.
How to Optimize Your WordPress Website
Slow Websites Lose The Race
“Slow and steady wins the race” is a popular saying and is generally great advice for many things… A website is NOT one of them. Slow websites see higher bounce rates as lagging turns visitors away. A website that doesn’t load within 5 seconds leads to poor conversions and a bounce rate of up to 38%. It also damages your Google ranking (sending you to the abyss known as Page 2).
What’s Slowing You Down?
Only when you recognize what is slowing you down can you fix it. Here are some common reasons why your website is taking longer to load:
- Unoptimized Images – Graphics can take up a lot of space if you upload them without compressing them. With such graphics, your page size may increase, requiring more time and data to load.
- Low-Quality Hosting – For optimal website performance, choose the right host. Bad quality and inexpensive hosting services cannot offer you the speed and optimization required for a powerful and interactive website.
- Slow Plugins – Plugins help you provide a complete digital experience, but the wrong ones will only worsen your user experience. Having too many plugins can also affect website speed.
- No content delivery network – Even your high-traffic website can slow down without a content delivery network.
- No HTTPS – If you are not taking advantage of HTTPS or HTTP2 protocol, it is no surprise that your website is slowing down.
- Lack of caches – Without a caching plugin, your speed and performance will suffer.
Best Practices for WordPress Speed and Performance
After identifying what has been plaguing your website, you may have a narrow list of issues to focus on. Fixing them can be very simple. We listed some best practices for you to implement to ensure that you offer the fastest and smoothest visual and interactive experience.
Choose Superior Hosting Services
Cheaper website hosting services can set you up initially. But as you grow and expand, you will require a stronger and better host. Prices are higher for better hosts, but the rewards are also much sweeter.
But why should you invest in better hosting? The answer is that it’ll pay back itself. Slow-loading websites eventually lose visitors and also rankings. With less traffic, you’re sure to sell less, hurting your bottom line. A better host helps you deliver a clean experience to your customers. Fast and responsive services do more business and eventually grow and earn more, paying off all the investment you’ve made in the host. Depending on your budget, you can look into hosts such as Kinsta, Cloudways, WPX Hosting, etc.
Start Using Caches
One of the easiest mistakes to overlook is not using caches. Caches help you present your website faster by reconstructing the website ahead of time rather than when the customer requests for the page. Because the processing is done before the request, websites load faster offering instant gratification and deliverability to the visitor.
Using caches may sound very technical, but we’ve got an easy solution for that. If you’re an amateur and only DIYing your site without technical expertise, you should install the WP Rocket plugin. It’s easy to use and inexpensive, so you can experiment without breaking the bank!
Invest In a Content Delivery Network
Any website that gets international traffic and doesn’t use a CDN is inevitably doomed. A CDN is a network of servers across the globe that can host your website. When a visitor opens your site, the closest CDN server gets to the task and displays it, making your website work faster. It also offers a smooth and uninterrupted experience to your visitors even during a traffic surge.
High-quality images can increase your page size and hence make them slower when loading. Compressing your images after you’ve uploaded them helps to reduce the data size. The best bit is that while the file size goes down, the image quality remains the same. You can have a faster website without compromising the quality of your visuals!
Use The HTTPS Protocol
If you’re using the old HTTP protocol, a goodbye is long overdue. Say farewell to your old protocol and hello to your new best friend – the HTTPS. Once you switch to the latter, your website will be using the HTTP2 protocol which is way faster than the older one. It will boost your website speed and reduce loading times making your website work better.
Keep A Check On Your Plugins
Don’t we all love plugins? They make our jobs easier and help us serve our site visitors and customers better. But as they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. So make sure not to select too many plugins.
If you’re using a lot of plugins there is a high chance that they’re the reason behind your website lagging. But how do you fix it? Simple. Identify plugins that are extra and you can do away with them. Also, ensure that your plugins are updated and compatible with the WordPress version you’re using. This will help you increase your speed and also fix your website.
Keep Your WordPress Website Updated
You can’t be complacent in a dynamic world and the world of the internet is indeed very dynamic. It isn’t enough to just create your website and let it be. You need to consistently review it, and identify problems and chances of improvement and upgrade.
As you update your content and site and as your website grows, you may need to change plugins, hosts, file sizes, and numerous other upgrades to ensure your website continues to offer the stellar user experience you promised initially. Plus, Google ranks websites with fresh and updated content higher, offering you more visibility and potentially, greater traffic.
WordPress website optimization is not very hard to take on even if you are not very familiar with the technical aspects of it. With WordPress’ powerful tools, plugins, and other services, you are in safe hands as long as you continue to be focused on improvements and steady growth. We hope these tips help you out and if you have any other concerns, you can always connect with us here.