Nobody likes a slow website speed, we hate having to wait even a mili-second longer than what's ideal. Just think about the fustration you feel when you visit a website that takes too long? Your stress levels rise and fustration kicks in, you get all sweaty and aggrivated. All for that extra mili-second. Search Engine Optimization is easier to accmplish if your wordpress site is faster than others. If we can get your website to speed up your SEO for Wordpress lead generation will boost your sales sustainably day over day!
Now think of all the times you re-visited a website that took too long to load… we’re guessing it’s ZERO.
As shown in a Kissmetrics infographic, 40 percent of website users exit a site that takes more than three seconds to load. The statistics are even scarier for e-commerce sites: 80 percent of shoppers who are not satisfied with a site’s speed or performance are less likely to shop on the same site again. Plus, a one second delay cuts customer satisfaction by 16% and results in a 8% loss in conversions.
Speed is also a critical component of Google’s SEO ranking algorithm. If you have a slow site, your Google rankings will fall and you will experience considerably less traffic to your site. As we saw with Google’s introduction of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), mobile page speed is also going to be an important ranking factor.
So you now understand the effects of site speed user experience, engagement and SEO. What can you do to make your site load faster? This post will take you through 10 quick and effective ways to speed up your WordPress site.
Before we begin, you need to measure your current site performance and speed so that you can quantify any improvements in performance after you implement the methods in this post. Pingdom offers a free performance analysis for your site. You can also look at your site’s page speed and other performance data in Google Analytics under the Behavior section.
1. Choose a Good Hosting Service
A good hosting service can be quite tricky unless you have experience or advanced knowledge of the subject. Here are some of your options simplified.
Shared hosting should only be an option if you have numerous sites that you rarely use. At an average of $4 per month, you get what you pay for: strained resources and consequential unreliable service. This is what you may get with sites like GoDaddy or UnthinkHosting.com
Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
VPS is the way to go. They give you more resources and usually offer additional tools and services like automatic updates, mobile site customization apps, backups and more. At an average rate of $25 and up per month, Virtual Private Servers are still very affordable.
Dedicated hosting is best if you have a hugely popular site that needs dedicated servers, and do not understand the tech behind it, you may want to hire someone else who does.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed Optimized WordPress hosting can be a good way to go. The servers are built for WordPress so it comes with tools and features that are designed to make your WordPress site run optimally. You can obviously also run WordPress on a VPS, but managed WordPress hosting solutions are only intended for WordPress sites.
There are, however, a few restrictions: certain WordPress features like plugins and themes may be disabled due to security concerns.
Still confused about which option is best for your site? Perhaps talk to customer service teams for each option and discuss your specific needs.
2. Choose a Light Weight Theme
Is your wordpress website theme light? If not, you should consider switching to one. Unlike premium themes that offer many features – most of which you probably don’t use or need – and unnecessarily load too many scripts and styles, lightweight themes come with only the basic features that you need, making them faster than premium themes.
You can use various free plugins to optimize your site speed but you won’t see results if your theme is not fast to begin with. WPDean has gathered a great selection of the fastest themes out there, so be sure to check those out.
3. Reduce Image File Sizes
Images take up a lot of space in your wp-content folder and consequently lower your site speed. That’s why it is always a good idea to compress all your images.
Plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer and Compress JPEG & PNG Images reduce image file size without losing too much quality. For example, the latter plugin compresses image file sizes by 40-60 percent for JPEGs and 50-80 percent for PNGs without a visible loss in quality.
4. Add Lazy Load to Images
Lazy Load is a tool that can drastically speed up any image heavy website. What it essentially does is force images to load only when they are in a reader’s view, not before you can get to them down the road along the website. For example, if you were to see an entire post on a single page, the first few images within your view will load and the rest will load only as you scroll down - this is opposite to what most websites do which is load everything at once wether they are visible or not and this can slow down your website and hurt your Wordpress SEO.
5. Use a Caching Plugin To Increase Wordpress SEO
Most of these Wordpress plugins are free and caching is arguably the best way to speed up your site and improve performance. Here is how it works;
A cache is a place where data is temporarily stored. So when you visit a website for the first time, your browser caches active data to quicken the loading speed. When you later revisit the site, your browser will have a large portion of the site’s files stored within its cache, meaning the site will load faster since your browser doesn’t need to collect many files.
What caching plugins do is save an HTML copy of a website for a specific time period. The plugin then serves these files from the cache (as opposed to getting the server to process it).
6. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDNs enable you to host images off your server in order to decrease your image load times. They are also helpful in storage and potential migration of your site to a new host.
What a CDN does is store requested files – cached static content – close to a visitor’s geographic location. So if your website is hosted in the United States, and a user accesses your site in Chicago, they may receive your site images from a data center in Illinois. Similarly, even with your site being hosted in the US, if a user in London accesses your site, they may receive your images from a data center within the UK. In this way, transfer times, hops and other processing parameters are decreased, resulting in a much faster website speed.
8. Clean Your Wordpress Database
Your database hoards a lot of data: from inactive plugins to revisions to spam and trashed comments. Getting rid of this unnecessary data can greatly reduce the size of your database and consequently speed up your site and improve performance.
WP-Sweep is by far the most popular and effective plugin for cleaning up a WordPress database.
It is also quite straightforward to use. Once activated, go to Tools > Sweep and the plugin will begin analyzing your database. It will provide a report of different sections/components of your site that need to be cleaned. You have the option of cleaning individual items or sweeping everything up at once.
Related Page: FREE WEBSITES FOR SMALL AND NEW BUSINESSES
9. Optimize Your Wordpress Homepage
Your homepage is the most important part of your site since it serves as the main landing page and optimizing it to load faster doesn’t require much effort on your part. Here are a few things you can do to increase the loading speed of your homepage:
- Limit the number of posts on the page
- Don’t show full posts; show excerpts instead AND include a Rear More link
- Sharing widgets (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. share buttons) should only be included in posts
- Remove inactive plugins and widgets from your installed/active widget list
- Remove all other unnecessary content and elements from the page
The rule of thumb is to keep your homepage as clean and minimal as possible. It will look good and load faster as well.
As you can see some of our websites are able to see some significant increase in traffic flow by simply improving the speed of the website as a way to increase SEO and remove the barrier to entry for each visitor that is the waiting for page load.
10. Considering using Hubspot As a Website Management System
This may or may not be within your budget, many of our clients are medium sized companies who started their technology based companies who have no technology departments which include the website management department. For companies who started with a hefty website and possibly even DIY site but can now afford a professional SEO, Wordpress Webdevelopment agency service to provide them with an advanced platform - having the website built and managed through Hubspot as well can boost the speed since assets are called through Hubspot as well.
Unthink is a Hubspot Agency that helps small business owners generate more traffic through sustainable white-hat SEO and lead generation by optimizing the funnels and CTAs. If you are looking for someone to help you build a light weight and professional website - give us a call at 623-398-9331 or email us email@example.com.