Many WordPress owners fail to understand that site speed is among the top factors which play an important role when it comes to determining conversion rate. Recent research has indicated that if your site takes more than four seconds to load, and then there is a chance of you losing 25 percent of your potential converting visitors.
Additionally, besides losing potential converting visitors, you stand a higher chance of sacrificing your search engine rankings since the major search engines such as Google rank sites based on the page speed. This article has complied some of the good ways through which webmasters can increase the speed of their WordPress blog.
Define goals and create benchmarks
Before starting to work on WordPress page load speed, it is good to define your goals; your main aim may be to reduce the time it take to load a page on your blog from 10 seconds to 3 seconds. You will be required to note the current speed and compare it with the results of every modification you make on your site to help you quantify any improvement. You may use Website Speed Tests to test your blog’s speed. You can also use Pingdom to have a comprehensive analysis of the load time as well as performance of your WordPress blog.
The majority of the WordPress owners use hundreds of available WordPress plug-ins to dress up their blog, as well as add extended functionality. One thing that these blog owners don’t know is that excessive use of plug-ins only degrades the performance of their sites. It is highly recommended that you only use essential plug-ins which is necessary to your site. It may be very hard for you to decide the best plug-in to use and which ones to delete. You may just try to determine whether the plug-in is ultimately beneficial to your converting rate; then delete or deactivate it if it is not beneficial.
There are a number of WordPress plug-ins designed to make calls to the external sites and as such, they can drastically reduce the speed of your site. It is very crucial to do away with such plug-ins as well while you get rid of all of the other unnecessary plug-ins. This does not imply that all plug-ins are bad; you should just be careful with the type of plug-ins you use on your WordPress blog; avoid the useless ones to help improve the speed of your site.
Occasionally, some WordPress plug-ins will require the webmaster to include a snippet of code to the theme’s template files in order to call the plug-in. However, you will get an error if you disable that plug-in. Therefore, it is advisable for you to use a special function of PHP commonly known as function_exists. This will enable you to prevent your site from breaking in the case of plug-ins that is deleted or disabled.
Avoid Depending too Much On Other Websites
Relying on other sites is one factor that usually leads to slow loading of a WordPress pages. In order to find its IP address, the browser normally has to execute an extra DNS query each time you add an object from another site, images, a script, or any other such thing. This process takes some time to complete. You can avoid this by just hosting the image or code yourself.
Try the WordPress Cache Plug-In
Basically, caching is the process through which site owners store the static parts of their sites enabling them to only load once rather than on each single page load. The use of cache plug-ins plays an important role when it comes to boosting the performance of the site besides just improving the load speed. This is mainly due to the fact that WordPress blogs are mostly static. There are only two options to choose from when selecting a cache plug-in: the W3 Total Cache and the WP Super cache.
The W3 Total Cache is most suitable for the pro user because of its large number of available options. However, this type of cache plug-in can also be used by amateur users as one could easily just use its basic functionalities. You can search various online guides to help you understand how to use the plug-ins to optimize your WordPress website as well as increase its speed. However, you should take precautions since incorrect settings may lead to a ‘breakage’ of your site.
Alternatively, you can choose the WP Super Cache which is usually known for its simplicity. This plug-in is very easy to use and can be used by anyone especially beginners; it is easy to setup and install. All you need to do is just install it and turn on the caching. You can also modify it based on your own requirements.
Choose The Right Theme
Using the appropriate WordPress themes can improve the load speed of pages. Themes can either form or break your WordPress installation. Elect a simple but more stylish theme with fewer images, as well as a CSS-based design. Themes created with the latest technologies tend to be faster in terms of load speed than those with frames, tables, and static HTML.
Keep It Local
You can try self-hosting all your codes and images instead of relying on other site’s servers to be fast. However, you should consider paying for a good server if your site has lots of traffic.
Keep Your Code Clean
Use the W3C to validate your code. This is because coding errors contribute to slow WordPress page load speed. You can also use bug tools such as Firebug to identify and fix coding errors.
Change Your WordPress Settings
- Go easy on the front page: It is good to avoid displaying too many posts on the front page of your WordPress blog. Go to the WordPress dashboard and adjust this setting under the “settings> reading panel”. This helps improve the load speed of your blog.
- Turn off inter-blog communication: Inter-blog communication is one factor that can cause a slow page load in WordPress blogs. When you turn this off, you will automatically destroy the links that lead to your blog which is actually the very settings that create a lot of the work for your blog.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Using a CDN is one of the best ways to optimize, as well as speed up your WordPress blog. CDNs normally utilize server nodes located near your site’s users to help serve your blog. As a result, your WordPress blog will have the ability to load faster. You can use very powerful Content Delivery Networks such as CloudFlare; this is a free of charge CDN which is normally activated from within the cPanel. To use this network, you can simply register with it on their site and follow the step-by-step directions to install your WordPress blog on a CDN.
Compress Images on Your Blog
The size of the images also contributes to slow WordPress load speed. Therefore it is good for you to reduce the number of images as well as their sizes to boost the load speed of your site. You may have to get rid of unnecessary images on your blog to speed it up. Before checking out your images ensure that you rate the speed of your site in order to determine if you are supposed to optimize it.
You may want to compare the load speed of your WordPress blog with that your closest competitors to find out if your site even needs to be worked on or not. High load speed of WordPress blog plays an important role when it comes to improving your search engine rankings as well as with retaining visitors.
Reduce the Number of Dynamic PHP and Http Calls
It takes less time to serve a combined file than several smaller files; therefore it is good to combine all of them in a type into a library.
In order for you to improve the active download threads; you will have to use different host names.
Reduce the PHP as well as database queries. The load time of each page on your WordPress site increases when your browser is required to execute any PHP queries. Therefore, it is advisable to replace the PHP queries with the static HTML to reduce the load time of each page.
Try to find out if your blog has a lot of external calls to things such as MyBlogLog, eBay, Amazon, among others. You may comment them out one at a time and check to see if your WordPress load speed improves.
Try to optimize your images to speed up your blog.
Ensure that all of your WordPress blog images have both height and width tags.
You may try hosting your images on other external websites such as Flickr which have big servers and have the ability to handle the load.
For static web images, try using CSS sprites; these enable the images to be added to one larger image file as well as to be laid out in a convenient way.
Never host videos on your server since they contribute to slow load speed. You should upload all to Google Video, YouTube, or any other free video sharing site.
Get rid of HTML formatting, trimming class names, white spaces, among other things to compress HTML and CSS.
Use shorthand CSS to compress your CSS.
It is recommended to use external scripts rather than placing thousands of code in your header.php file.
To ensure that you do not get major errors that may cause the slow loading of your WordPress blog, authenticate your code at W3C.
Use special WordPress plug-ins such as IFrameWidgets v1.0 to help stop slow loading scripts.
Optimize Your Blog Database
Having a large WordPress database is one of the main causes of slow speed of your WordPress blog, especially if you are on a shared web hosting program. Uninstalled plug-ins as well as posts that are written and saved as drafts go directly into your site database, thus enlarging it. To solve this problem, you can use special plug-ins to help you optimize your site’s database; WP-DBManager is one such powerful plug-in that not only helps optimizing your WordPress database, but also in repairing it.
To optimize your database, use phpMyAdmin; it is very simple, just login to phpMyAdmin and select all tables. Then click on the “repair” and “optimize” buttons.
Get rid of all unnecessary records in your blog database. In WordPress, wp_options table is used to store both plug-in and WordPress blog data and you can access it each time you open any blog page. When you remove or disable any plug-in on your site, the stored records are left unaltered and thus enlarge your database. You can get rid of all these records by using the WordPress Clean Options Plug-in, which is responsible for detecting and removing the files left behind after removing the plug-ins. You can also do it manually by simply login to phpMyAdmin, go to your database, and open the wp_options table. Then identify the unwanted records in this table and manually delete all of them.
You should also optimize your database tables by using the Optimize DB plug-in.
Ensure that your database tables are free from any errors by using WordPress Plug-in: Fix Database.
Caching And Regulating Your Server Overload
You can also use PHP Speedy which is basically a script which you can install in your web server to help speed up the load time of your blog pages.
Try out Expires, as well as cache-control max age headers on all your WordPress blog pages. This will play an important role when it comes to improving your site performance in terms of increasing load speed.
You may also try out other caching options such as PHP Compiler Cache, MySQL query cache, among others to help you speed up your blog load time.
Set up the Apache to optimize the performance of your WordPress blog.
Use The Appropriate Image Format
There are two main image formats that are usually used online: PNG and JPEG formats. The disadvantage of JPEG images is that they normally lose their quality when compressed while the PNG format is mostly preferred and it retains quality even after being compressed. Therefore, you may want to use the latter format since image size should be reduced to enhance the speed of your site.
Host your WordPress blog with a very reliable and most trusted hosting provider to make sure that your host does not negatively affect the load speed of your page.
Following the above tips will help you drastically increase the load speed of your WordPress blog. Consequently, your overall conversion rate will go up and your search engine ranking will be boosted. This will drive more traffic to your site to help you achieve your business goals.
Keep Spammers Away
Spammers highly contribute the slow loading of WordPress blogs. Although an .htaccess file plays an important role when it comes to blocking spammers, it is not 100 percent perfect in doing so. To permanently solve the issue, you can search the web for the web spammiest referrers that you can download and simply copy and paste them into your .htaccess file.
WordPress speed has been known to be among one of the most important factors that determines conversion rate on your blog. Slow load speed of your WordPress blog pages will drive potential visitors out of your site and thus reduce traffic. As a result of low traffic, your blog will automatically reduce the chances of being ranked at the top of major search engines. Therefore, it is very crucial that you spend most of your time trying to speed up your WordPress blog. This post has outlined everything that any webmaster may need to know about speeding up his site. We hope that after reading this article, you will find a long lasting solution to all of your WordPress page load speed problems.
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