5 Ways to Speed up Your WordPress Website

If you’re that person who taps their fingers and sighs loudly with frustration when watching a web page slowly unravel itself before your eyes, you’re not alone. Almost half of us expect a web page to load within two seconds and nearly as many will give up and drop out if we’re kept waiting for much longer than that.

So, as a business, how can you speed up your WordPress website and make sure you keep hold of your customers?

Here are 5 tips to make your WordPress website load faster:

 1. Optimise images

In today’s visual world website images have never been more important for engaging an audience and portraying a clear and exciting brand identity. The big drawback is that images can really slow up your page load time.  There are some simple ways to optimise your images:

  • Resize the image BEFORE adding it to your website rather than trying to reduce it via the source code once it’s uploaded.
  • Try to keep the majority of your images below 100kb for optimal load time.
  • File type can make a difference too. In most cases a small image in JPEG format will be clearer than a GIF or PNG of the same file size.

 2. Choose the right WordPress theme

Some WordPress themes are better than others at optimising speed with certain premium themes being particularly well coded for fast loading. It’s fairly easy to test the speed of your WordPress theme and compare it against other themes by using a speed test such as GTMetrix or GoogleSpeed Insights.

3. Use a fast WordPress slider

Image sliders can really slow your website down and many WordPress users simply prefer not to use a slider on their site. If you do want a slider, first of all optimise the images as described above. Then do some research to find out which slider plugins are fastest and which work best with your chosen theme. Some sliders load all their JavaScript and CSS files onto every page., even ones without a slider. This can have a huge impact on the overall load speed of the website. That might sound pretty technical for many standard WordPress users and you might be wondering how you could possibly tell whether they do or they don’t. A quick way to check is to do a speed test before and after loading your slider plugin. Another tip is to choose the simplest plugin possible. Some have animated features and all sorts of fancy bits of code but if you’re not going to use those features, why burden your site with them?

4. Make use of excerpts

WordPress is set up to pull all the copy on the page when it displays an image.  To override this default setting make use of the excerpt section when loading up your content. This is a short summary of the content that gives web visitors a flavour of what they can find on the page without giving them the whole article. This has two benefits. Firstly, your page will load faster by displaying an excerpt instead of full text and secondly you can entice the reader to click and view more.

5. Choose a dedicated WordPress web host

Your WordPress site will run better if it’s hosted by a service that’s been specifically designed for WordPress. Look for a WordPress host that promotes itself on its speed capabilities. Read our article on how to choose the best SME WordPress hosting for more tips on choosing the best host.

What difference will it make if I have a faster WordPress website?

These are just a few ideas for improving the speed of your WordPress website and once you’ve optimised your site you can look forward to lots of benefits.

If you still need convincing about the need for speed, here are just a few of the latest stats:

  • 79% of online shoppers say they won’t return to a site that doesn’t load properly
  • According to this BBC article about how long people are prepared to wait for a website to load one retailer saw an 11% drop in online sales when its website speed slowed by half a second.
  • 52% of people say website load time is important for brand loyalty.
  • A delay of just 1 second in load time can knock 7% off your conversion rate.