Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Jordan Alexo
Let’s cut to the chase. You’re here because you want your WordPress site to be faster than a cheetah on a caffeine rush. And why wouldn’t you? A slow website is like a party without music – it’s a total buzzkill.
Did you know that a mere 1-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction? Every second counts.
In this guide, we will dive into ten actionable, no-fluff tips to speed up your WordPress site.
You’ll discover the right hosting provider, the power of caching plugins, minifying your site’s code, and optimizing images. So, let’s get started!
- Hosting Matters: Your web host is like the engine of your car. If it’s clunky, your site won’t be winning any races. So, pick a host that’s built for speed. WPX Hosting and Kinsta are solid options.
- Lightweight Themes are Your Friends: Heavy themes can slow down your site. So, go for lightweight themes like Kadence, Astra, or Generate Press. They’re sleek, stylish, and speedy.
- Be Picky with Your Plugins: Plugins are great, but too many can slow down your site. So, audit your plugins, keep only the essentials, and always opt for the lighter ones.
- Image Optimization is Key: Images can be a drag on your site’s speed. So, reduce their quality, choose the right format, compress them, and use lazy loading. Your site will be faster, and your visitors will be happier.
- Keep Your Database Clean: A cluttered database can slow down your site. So, delete old post revisions, clean up spam comments, and optimize your database tables. A clean database is a fast database.
- Speed is Everything: Your site should load in 1-2 seconds. Anything more, and you’re losing visitors and money. So, optimize, optimize, optimize. Your site’s speed can make or break your online success.
What Is A Good Website Speed?
When discussing having good website speed, it’s how fast your site loads up for your visitors.
|Ideal Website Load Time
|Visitor Loss After 3 Seconds Load Time
|Abandonment Rate After 2-Second Delay
|Up to 87%
|Google’s Aim for Load Time
|Average Load Time for Mobile Sites (3G)
|Revenue Impact of 5 Seconds vs. 19 Seconds Load Time
|Up to 2x more mobile ad revenue
|Impact of Slow Load Time on Google Ranking
|Impact of Load Time on Visitor Retention and Revenue
|Every second counts
So, what’s the magic number? Well, the ideal website load time for mobile sites is 1-2 seconds.
Yeah, you heard it right, just a couple of seconds. Why so fast?
Because people are impatient. If your pages take longer than 3 seconds to load, you will lose more than half of your visitors. And it gets worse!
A 2-second delay in load time can result in abandonment rates of up to 87%. That’s like 9 out of 10 customers leave. As you may imagine, that’s not good for business, right?
Even Google, the big G itself, aims for under half a-second load time. And if your site is really slow, it can even hurt your Google ranking.
So, if you want to keep your visitors happy and make more money, you must make your website load as fast as possible.
6 Factors That Slow Down Your WordPress Website
Before turning your website into a speed machine, we need to figure out what’s putting the brakes on your site’s performance. It’s like trying to win a race with a flat tire – you’re not going anywhere fast.
So, what’s slowing down your WordPress site? Here are some common reasons:
1 – Poor Hosting
Your hosting provider is like the foundation of your website. If it’s shaky, everything else will be too. A poor hosting provider can lead to slow server response times and a slow website.
See, some web-host are good to start with, but not good enough in the long run. Once you have more traffic, your website may struggle to handle the load.
For this reason, you must migrate to a web host that provides better performance. And the thing is, “You can follow all the advice here, and it will help.” But, if your web host is bad, then your site will still run slowly.
2 – Heavy Images
Often when most new bloggers start, they aren’t worried about their image sizes. But they can be a real drag on your site’s speed.
Because large, unoptimized images can take ages to load, slowing down your entire site.
3 – Too Many Plugins
Everyone loves plugins, they can turn your site to whatever you want, but they can also slow it down. Each plugin adds a bit of code that needs to be loaded, and some can even create database queries that slow down your site.
Besides, some plugins slow down your site more than others. Like Jetpack, it’s a fantastic plugin with a load of functionality.
However, it’s a heavy plugin that can dramatically impact your site’s uploading time.
4 – External Scripts
External scripts, like ads, font loaders, and others, can significantly impact your site’s performance.
These scripts often require additional network and CPU resources to execute, slowing down your site.
5 – Unoptimized Code
6 – No Caching
Without caching, your site must generate a new page for every visitor. This can put a lot of strain on your server and slow down your site.
Now, don’t get overwhelmed. We’re going to tackle each of these issues one by one in this guide. By the end, you’ll have a lean, mean, speed machine on your hands.
3 Key Reasons Your WordPress Site’s Performance is Crucial
So, let’s examine why speed is such a big deal for your WordPress site.
Reason 1 – User Experience (UX)
See, speed is all about the user experience. Just imagine you’re in a restaurant, and it takes forever to get your order. Frustrating, right?
The same goes for your website. A slow site is like a slow waiter – it leaves a bad taste in your visitors’ mouths.
In fact, a study by Google found that 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s half your audience, gone in the blink of an eye!
Reason 2 – SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Google has been using site speed as a ranking factor since 2010. That means a slow site can hurt your rankings in search engine results.
So, if you want to rank on the first page of Google, having a good uploading time is essential.
Reason 3 – Conversion Rates
Site speed can directly impact your bottom line. Most people nowadays don’t have the patience to wait too long for a site to upload.
That’s why if your site takes forever to open up, you’ll lose potential customers.
So, there you have it. Speed matters for your users, search engines, and your business.
3 Ways To Test Your Website Uploading Time
If you want to know all this optimization stuff is working, you must test it. It’s like trying to lose weight without ever stepping on a scale.
So, before you dive into all these speed-boosting strategies, take a moment to test your site’s current speed. Then, after you’ve made your optimizations test it again. This way, you can see the actual impact of your efforts.
Here are my favorite three tools to help you do that:
- GT Metrix: This tool gives you a ton of information, including your site’s load time, total page size, and performance score. Plus, it gives you actionable recommendations for improving your site’s speed.
- Pingdom Tools: Pingdom is another great option. It gives you a performance grade, load time, page size, and more. Plus, it lets you test from different locations around the world.
- Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool provides you with your site’s speed on both desktop and mobile and suggestions for where you can improve.
Go to each tool I mentioned and test your site. I suggest saving a screenshot of each result. So later, you may see the improvements you’ve made more easily after the optimizations.
10 Easy Ways To Make Your WordPress Website Faster
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to make your WordPress site faster than a speeding bullet. Buckle up!
Tip 1 – Choosing The Right Web Host Provider
Your hosting provider is like the engine of a car. If you’ve got a clunky old engine, it doesn’t matter how sleek your car looks. It won’t win the race.
So, how do you pick a hosting provider built for speed? Here’s the lowdown:
What’s A Shared Hosting?
Most people start with a shared hosting plan. Shared hosting is like living in an apartment building.
You’re sharing resources (like bandwidth and storage) with all the other websites on the same server. It’s a budget-friendly option, but it can come with some speed bumps.
See, not all shared web-host provide the same level of performance. I’ll explain later the best solution.
What’s The Downside Of Budget Shared Hosting?
The problem with shared hosting is that you’re at the mercy of your neighbors.
If another site on your server gets a traffic spike, it can hog all the resources and slow down your site.
It’s like trying to take a shower when everyone in the building is using the water – the pressure drops, and your shower turns into a trickle.
Also, often they have poor customer service, overcrowded servers, and unreliable uptime. Usually, these web hosts are only meant to get started.
But once you have some traffic, and want better performance, then it’s time to move on.
What’s WPX Hosting Or Kinsta Advantage?
That’s where WPX Hosting or Kinsta comes in. They offer managed WordPress hosting, which means they handle all the technical stuff, so you can focus on growing your business.
And here’s the cherry on top – WPX Hosting includes a content delivery network (CDN) with all their plans. A CDN can significantly speed up your site for visitors around the world.
Because your visitors can access your site from a server closer to their location, reducing latency and improving load times.
Start by evaluating your current hosting situation. If you’re on a budget shared hosting plan and experiencing slow load times, frequent downtime, or poor customer service, it’s time to change.
Research your options and look for a host with speed-boosting features like a content delivery network (CDN), premium DNS, and solid customer support.
I suggest WPX Hosting and Kinsta, both great options that tick all these boxes. Once you’ve found the right fit, make the switch. Yes, it can be a pain in the back, but the boost in speed and performance will be well worth it.
Tip 2 – Install A WordPress Caching Plugin
If you’re scratching your head wondering what the heck caching is, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.
- Think of caching like your favorite fast-food joint. They’ve got a bunch of burgers ready to go, so when you order, you get your food fast.
- Without caching, it’s like going to a fancy restaurant where they cook everything from scratch. Sure, it’s fresh, but you’re going to be waiting a while.
See, caching works the same way for your website. It stores a ready-to-go version of your pages that can be served up fast instead of making your visitors wait while the page is generated from scratch.
Now, you have many WordPress caching plugins. I’ve tested plenty of them, but my favorite free one is LightSpeed Cache. And if you want to get a premium option, then WP Rocket is the best one.
Anyway, LightSpeed Cache offers page caching, browser caching, database optimization, and more. Also, it’s simple to set up, and most options can be configured with a few clicks.
Just install the LightSpeed Cache or WP Rocket. You have many tutorials on YouTube explaining how to configure each one. Soon after, you’ll notice a huge speed boost on your site.
Tip 3 – Advantages of Lightweight Themes
You want your site to look good, right? But you also want it to be fast. And sometimes, those fancy, feature-packed themes can weigh your site down.
See, that’s where lightweight themes come in. They’re designed to be fast and efficient and do the job without any unnecessary weight.
Now, you might be thinking, “But I want my site to look good!”
Do you think Jordan Alexo’s blog looks bad? Nope (you better say no! :D). And guess what? I’m using the Kadence lightweight theme.
It still has many customization options to make your site look crazy sleek, but it’s not heavy. The most popular lightweight themes include:
- Generate Press
These themes look stylish and are speed optimized. So, they give you the best of both worlds – a great-looking site that loads in the blink of an eye.
If you’re still using a bulky, bloated theme, it’s time for a wardrobe change. But before anything else, make a backup of your site. Then switch to a lightweight theme and watch your site’s uploading time improve.
Tip 4 – Reducing The Number Of Plugins
Plugins are the main reason why WordPress is so popular. You can nearly install a plugin to do whatever you want.
Need to add a contact form? There’s a plugin for that. Want to boost your SEO? There’s a plugin for that too.
But here’s the problem: Every plugin you add puts more strain on your site, potentially slowing it down.
So, how do you strike the right balance? Here’s the game plan:
1 – Audit Your Plugins
Take a good, hard look at your current plugins. Do you really need all of them? If a plugin isn’t essential, give it the boot.
2 – Choose Simpler Plugins
Do you need a plugin with tens of features (like Jetpack)? Probably not! Rather install a plugin only for what you need. That way, you remove heavy plugins for a lighter one.
3 – Test Plugin Performance
Use a plugin like Profiler to see if your plugins are slowing down your site. If a plugin is slow, see if there’s a lighter and faster alternative.
Install Profiler, and run a test. Then remove any unnecessary plugins or find a lighter alternative. The fewer plugins you need, the better. I run my blog with only ten good-quality plugins.
Once done, you can remove “Profiler.”
Tip 5 – Boosting Speed by Minifying Your Site’s Code
We’re talking about minifying your site’s code. Wait what?
Well, think of it like packing for a trip. You could throw all your clothes in the suitcase or roll them up tight to save space.
Minifying your code is like rolling up your clothes. It removes all the unnecessary spaces, line breaks, and comments, making your code cleaner and your site faster.
Now, you might be thinking, “But I’m not a coder!” No problem. You don’t need to be coding knowledge to minify your site’s code. The simplest way is to choose the following options in LightSpeed Cache or another plugin:
And when you start reducing one millisecond here and there, it greatly changes your overall loading time.
Often these cache plugins already come with these options added.
Tip 6 – Speeding Up Your Site with the Right CDN
Let’s talk about Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). Sounds fancy, right? But don’t worry! It isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
In a way, a CDN works similarly to a chain of grocery stores. Instead of having one store to which everyone has to travel, you have multiple stores spread out – so everyone has a store nearby.
A CDN does the same thing for your website. It stores copies of your site on servers all over the world. Hence, your visitors get served from the server that’s closest to them.
The result? Your site loads faster no matter where your visitors are.
In case your site is hosted on WPX Hosting or another similar company, they already have a built-in CDN.
However, if that’s not the case, then you can try Cloudflare. It offers a free CDN that can greatly boost your website’s performance.
If you aren’t using WPX Hosting or another similar company with a built-in CDN, get a Cloudflare account.
You can easily find YouTube video tutorials explaining how to set up Cloudflare in a few minutes.
Tip 7 – Image Optimization
Images really help bring your content to life. But they’re also one of the biggest factors in slowing down your site.
At the same time, you don’t have to ditch images altogether. You just need to optimize them. Here’s how:
1 – Reduce Image Quality Before Uploading
In case you use Photoshop or another similar image editing software, you can reduce the file quality without compromising the visual appeal.
I’d like to keep my images at 60% quality. They still look good, but their file size is smaller.
2 – Choose the Right Format
Not all image formats have the same size. See, JPEGs are great for photos, while PNGs are better for images with few colors or with transparency.
And if you want to get fancy, you can use WebP, a format specifically designed for the web that offers high quality and small file sizes.
3 – Compress Your Images
Image compression reduces the file size of your images without noticeably reducing their quality.
There are plenty of online tools and plugins that can do this for you. Like Smush and ShortPixel are two of my favorites.
4 – Lazy Load Images
With lazy loading, images only load when they’re about to come into view. This can significantly speed up the loading time of your pages, especially if you have a lot of images.
In case you got the LightSpeed Cache plugin, you have options to enable lazy loading and optimize your images for better performance. So, you need to install any other plugin.
If you got Photoshop or another tool, then slim down your images by reducing their quality to around 60%. Also, use JPEGs for photos, PNGs for simple images, and WebP if you want to get fancy.
Then, give them a good squeeze with an image compression tool like Smush or ShortPixel. In case you have the LightSpeed Cache plugin, then use its option to optimize your images.
Tip 8 – Clean Your WordPress Site Database Garbage
Your database is like the brain of your site. It stores all your content, settings, user data, and more.
But just like a cluttered desk can slow down your work, a cluttered database can slow down your site.
So, how do you keep your database clean and efficient? Here’s the plan:
1 – Delete Old Post Revisions
WordPress automatically saves revisions of your posts. This is great for when you need to return to an older version, but it can also bloat your database.
Plugins like LightSpeed or similar cache plugins can help clean up old revisions. Just check their options and clean the database often.
2 – Clean Up Spam Comments and Trash
Spam comments and trashed items can occupy a surprising amount of space in your database. If you have Akismet, it usually cleans up spam automatically after a certain period.
But once again, with LightSpeed or similar plugins, you can easily clean your spam through their options.
3 – Optimize Your Database Tables
Over time, your database tables can get fragmented, leading to inefficiencies. Think of it like a defrag for your database. You can use a plugin like WP-DBManager to optimize your tables.
Use a plugin like LightSpeed to clean your database and spam comments. Also, give your database tables a good shake with a plugin like WP-DBManager.
Your database will run smoother, and your site will load faster. Remember, a clean database is a fast database.
Tip 9 – Why You Might Want to Skip the Theme Builders
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love theme builders like Elementor.
They let you quickly drag and drop and build your web pages, whatever you want. But the issue is they’re heavy. Like, really heavy.
And no matter how much you optimize, they can still slow down your site.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, you might try a simpler solution like Kadence theme + Kadence blocks. You won’t get as many options as with Elementor.
But sometimes, you don’t need as many options. Still, this alternative is lighter and helps you build great-looking pages. With my blog, I did exactly that! I exchanged Elementor for Kadence blocks and never looked back.
Not only I saved money (because “Kadence blocks” is free), but my site got lighter and faster.
Do you have Elementor or another heavy theme builder? Ask yourself, “Do I need all these features, or can I do the same with a lighter alternative like Kadence blocks?”
Consider switching to a lighter theme builder to improve the speed and performance of your site.
Tip 10 – Use Subdomains For Your Stuff
If you’ve got a resource-hungry beast like an online video course on your site, it can slow things down. You got install plugins like LearnDash, WooCommerce, Carflow, and others.
All those plugins are heavy and slow down your site. But here’s a trick – you can put that beast in its own pen, a subdomain.
Start by setting up a subdomain. It’s like building an annex onto your house. It’s part of your property but has its own space. Then, move your course content or other resource-intensive elements onto the subdomain.
This way, when someone accesses your course, they’re not slowing down the rest of your site. It’s like having a party in the annex – the rest of the house stays quiet.
Remember, every bit of speed counts.
So, if you’ve got heavy-duty elements on your site, give them their own space with a subdomain. Your main site will load faster, and your visitors will thank you. Let’s get moving!
Speeding up your WordPress site isn’t rocket science. It’s all about making smart choices and taking the right steps.
Start with a solid foundation – a good hosting provider. A cheap web host is cheap for a reason. Typically, they provide bad support and slow loading speeds.
So, consider a provider like WPX Hosting or Kinsta that offers speed-boosting features like a CDN.
Next, keep your site lean and mean. Go for lightweight themes, limit your plugins, and avoid heavy theme builders like Elementor.
And don’t forget about your images. They can also slow your site down. So, optimize them. Try to reduce their quality, choose the right format, compress them, and use lazy loading.
Keep your database clean. For this, delete old post revisions, clean up spam comments, and optimize your database tables.
If you have any other suggestions or questions about speeding up your WordPress site, leave them in the comments below.
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