Do you know that you have between three and five seconds to impress the visitors of your blog? If they do not find what they need within that short amount of time, they will leave — and never come back.
Good user experience does not stop at quality design and content. People do not have time to waste; they expect pages to load fast. And search engines like Google may also consider site speed a factor for ranking.
Does your WordPress blog tend to load slowly? Here are 10 tips that will help you speed it up.
Choose the right host
Use a solid framework and theme
After relying on free templates for years, I recently switched to the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. This, in turn, allowed me to find the perfect child theme for this blog (Pretty Sweet from Pretty Darn Cute Design). I will never look back.
Why? Here are some reasons:
- Search engine optimization with Schema.org support
- HTML5 for responsive design
- Comment functionality
- Auto-sized featured images
- Theme options
- Custom widgets
You can see all the features and benefits here.
Before Genesis, updating my site was always a hair-pulling experience. Some themes could never be fully tweaked, so I often found myself having to look for better options — and waste a lot of time and energy in the process.
The last redesign took me half the time to complete. Customization is a breeze. Load times are faster on every device. And, according to many people, the site has never looked better!
Harness the power of GTMetrix
GTmetrix uses Google Page Speed and Yahoo! YSlow to grade your site’s performance. The service then provides you with useful recommendations to fix issues on your blog.
For more information, click here.
Install a cache plugin
Caching helps your WordPress blog load faster by reducing the number of queries made to the database.
I have used the W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and Quick Cache plugins, and they are all great. However, the first one offers the most options and benefits. Click here for a great tutorial on how to implement it on your blog.
Invest in a Content Delivery Network
Whenever someone visits a website, they are automatically redirected to the web host’s server, which is in one central location. The more traffic, the more impact on that server. This will not only slow down the delivery of your content, but it may also lead to crashes.
That is unless you use a Content Delivery Network.
A CDN is a network of servers (deployed all over the world) that delivers cached static content to visitors based on their nearest locations. The two I recommend are CloudFlare and MaxCDN. The latter has a fantastic support team.
Avoid mass ‘plugin-ization’
Do you know that running too many plugins at once can hinder your blog’s performance? And, it is more likely to happen if they are badly coded.
My advice to you: Stick to a maximum of 15 plugins and uninstall the ones you never use.
Optimize your database
When viewers check out an article on your blog, WordPress searches the SQL database on your server and renders the data as a page. The larger the database, the more loading time is impacted.
Optimizing your database is a must. The WP Clean Up plugin will allow you to do that very easily directly from your blog’s dashboard.
Minification is the process of removing all unnecessary characters from source code without changing its functionality.
I use the WP Minify plugin and love it!
One of the things many bloggers overlooks is the size of the images they upload. This size actually affects bandwidth and load time.
Keep your home page light
Trying to cram as much information and content as possible into our landing pages is something we have all done. Well, it is a mistake. Firstly, it will overwhelm visitors. And secondly, it impacts loading times.
Keep it simple. For example:
- Show excerpts instead of full posts.
- Remove unnecessary widgets.
- Only feature a limited number of posts on the page.
Now, it’s your time to speak. What are your tips to speed up a WordPress blog?