A Beginner’s Guide: 10 Ways How to Fix a Slow WordPress Website
Here are some tips to fix a slow WordPress website.
If your business has an official website, in all likelihood, it was created using WordPress. Moreover, there is a reason why WordPress is the CMS of choice for many professionals and businesses alike: it can be set up fairly easily and it’s very user-friendly. However, if your technical knowledge is limited and you’ve made the website yourself, you may end up with something that looks nice but performs poorly in terms of speed. That is a problem because people will leave your site and never come back because they had to wait more than 5 seconds for it to load. Hence, it’s an issue in terms of ranking because Google favors user experience as a ranking factor, and won’t hesitate to rank slower websites lower.
In order to help you avoid that, we have put together a beginner’s guide containing 10 effective methods to fix a slow WordPress website. Keep on reading!
1. Compress Your Images
According to Google, images take up about 60% of your website in terms of size, which means they are usually the ones to blame for your slow website. Fortunately, this is a problem which can be fixed easily. First of all, you can get rid of all those images which are no longer relevant or necessary. Also, each type of image should be uploaded using an optimal format. For instance, JPEG works best with photos, while PNG is better if you are posting graphics. Finally, you can compress your images using just about any image-editing suite and end up with images of similar quality, but with a much smaller file size.
2. Uninstall Some of the Plugins
While plugins allow you to expand your website’s functionality in just a few clicks, running too many of them at the same time can create a world of problems, the most obvious one being slow page speed. According to Sam Ross, an IT specialist for Best Dissertation, you should take the time to remove those which you are not really using: “You start adding a few plugins, and before you know it, your website has become slow and clunky, and your visitors are going somewhere else.”
Also, make sure to regularly update those you are using in order to ensure good performance.
3. Streamline Your Homepage
Unless they have wound up on one of your landing pages, most visitors visit your website through its homepage. While it’s important to present your business in the best way possible, featuring too much content and stuff like widgets on your homepage will cause it to become slow. As a solution, keep the number of widgets to a minimum, but also limit the amount of content which is shown. For instance, you could show only post excerpts as opposed to full posts.
4. Choose a Better Hosting Platform
If your WordPress website is slow, it may be because you have given into the temptation of cheap or free hosting. It might have worked well for you when you were just starting out, but now it is hurting your business and driving potential customers and subscribers away from your website. You can get around this issue by paying for a more expensive plan or by switching to Managed WordPress Hosting. Or, you can simply invest some time into discovering the best hosting option by comparing them online.
5. Opt for a High-Quality Theme
There are plenty of great-looking free themes out there, but underneath their shiny exterior some of them are hiding poor code, encrypted links, and a ton of bugs, all of which affect your website’s performance. The problem is that even premium themes are sometimes poorly coded. What should you look at then? Look for themes which are close to the default WordPress theme in terms of speed. Also, make sure that the theme which you have selected comes with proper documentation and was updated recently.
6. Use a Cache Plugin
Every time you visit a website for the first time using your smartphone or tablet, every page element is saved to your device, which is then loaded the next time you visit the same page. This is browser caching, and it speeds up your website because it reduces the number of HTTP requests. In order to enable caching on your website, install a cache plugin. The most popular one (and probably the best) is W3 Total Cache.
7. Disable Hotlinking
If your content is great, other websites will be very likely to link to your posts, which is what you normally want. However, if you allow other websites to link directly to your images, it will take up some of your bandwidth. The worst part is, people aren’t visiting your website which means there is zero chance of them converting, yet they take up your website’s resources. In order to disable hotlinking, you will have to modify the .htaccess file as shown here.
8. Rely on Lazy Loading
Having all of your content loading at once can cause your website to grind to a halt, especially if your homepage features a lot images, animation, or videos. By only loading the content which is visible inside the browser window and the rest as the user scrolls down, they will be able to get access to what they want much quicker. All you have to do to enable this is install a lazy loading plugin of your choice.
9. Use a CDN
Another reason why your website might be slow is because the server which is delivering it is too far from your users in the geographical sense. The solution for this problem would be to use a CDN (Content Distribution Network), which distributes a cached version of your website to servers all over the globe. That way, your visitors will be always be directed to the nearest server which has your website, and the page will load faster. Best CDNs: Cloudflare, Amazon.
This is where keeping your code neat comes into play. If your code is full of white spaces, empty lines, or redundant characters and comments, then it might be one of the reasons for slow loading times. In order to avoid this particular issue, you will need to minify your code and remove all of the above. Of course, you won’t have to do it manually because there are tools for it, such as WP Super Minify.
As you can see, making your WordPress website faster is not all that complicated, or even that technical. All of these tips and tricks can be implemented in a relatively short amount of time, and you will be able to tell the difference. Your visitors will too. Good luck!
Steven Wesley is an education blogger and tech enthusiast. He is interested in public relations, business, digital marketing as well as educational, technological, and political issues. Besides, Steve believes in the mighty power of the pen to change the modern world. Meet him on Twitter and Facebook.