How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site with Bluehost
Whenever we talk about website performance, the first thing that comes to mind is the site speed or how long it takes to fully display the content on a specific page on your website.
Imagine visiting a website for the first time only for the pages to take a couple of seconds to fully load.
Quite a disappointing first impression, right?
Well, in an era defined by blazing fast internet speeds, even 5 seconds can feel like forever on the internet.
The fact is that a very small percentage of individuals will wait for more than 3 seconds for a webpage to load – while the rest will abandon the site never to return.
What this means is that your website’s speed can have a positive or negative impact on your conversion, ranking, and bounce rate. As such, you cannot afford to waste a second on the internet.
Fortunately, websites built on WordPress CMS (Read more about the difference between WordPress vs. Bluehost at MamboServer) offer plenty of options when it comes to improving your site’s loading speeds.
In this article, we’ll look at some quick and easy steps you can implement and increase your website’s speed dramatically.
But before we dive into the niceties lets quickly see why a fast loading website is vital.
Why Your Website’s Speed Matters
There are several reasons why speed is crucial to you as the site owner.
Great user experience:
A great UX goes beyond the design of the website. It also involves how quickly the pages on your websites load. Faster loading websites are seen to be more reliable and professional whereas slow websites are seen as undependable.
Reduced bounce rate:
We live in a fast-paced world where most people lack the patience to sit around and wait for a slow website page to load. Given the relatively short attention span – they expect super-fast load times. As such, your website needs to live up to their expectations or risk losing important traffic.
For instance, if your website has fast loading speeds, a user will be interested in viewing more of your website pages and even proceed to purchase. On the contrary, most visitors will abandon a slow loading page or even their carts if the checkout process is slow.
Building a beautiful website takes time and effort. But what good is a website if it’s not visible on search engine results?
Google, for example, has a “self-confessed” love for speed. Meaning that speed is one of the ranking factors it uses to determine where your site shows up in the organic search engine results. So, the faster the loading speeds the better the visibility in search results.
With that said, now let’s look at:
How You Can Test Your WordPress Website for Speed
Before diving into the fixes, you need to first assess the current page load time. Note that load times may vary from one page to the other due to many factors such as type of content (static or dynamic), number of requests, size of the page, caching, among others.
Analyzing the speed before optimization will help you identify areas that need improvement. Google recommends using the TestMySite tool.
However, there are other handy tools that you can use such as GTMetrix, PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest.org, and Tool.Pingdom.com.
How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website A Few Easy Steps
Reconsider your WordPress hosting provider
Your website lives on a server, which is provided by the hosting provider. If the server environment is not conducive, the results will be worrisome regardless of how hard you work to optimize your site.
As such, you need to be overly cautious when getting into bed with a specific hosting provider. The good news is that there are a handful of recommended hosting providers that are finely tuned for WordPress hosting such as GoDaddy.
Keep WordPress and PHP updated
Being an open-source project, the WordPress core software is periodically updated. These updates carry the latest improvements, which means better security and performance.
One thing you’ll love about WordPress is that it’s very easy to update. All you have to do is log in to your dashboard and navigate to the Updates section.
Along with that, ensure that your website is running the latest version of PHP. This will not only ensure full WordPress compatibility but also have a powerful effect on the speed of your website.
You can use WP Engine’s PHP compatibility checker plugin to determine whether your website is ready to switch to the most current PHP environment.
Get quality themes and plugins
When we talk about theme quality, it all narrows down to coding. So, if your theme or plugin is poorly coded, your website will not only be slow but will also be exposed to security threats.
With that regard, it’s vital to choose a theme that will contribute significantly to your site’s speed and performance. But how will you know which theme to choose given that WordPress offers thousands of themes (both free and paid) in its inventory?
Well, the easiest way is to run speed tests after installing the theme. Another useful tip is to avoid those flashy themes with sophisticated features. Remember, simple is good as it’s easy to customize.
Free Tip: Always remember to back up your site before installing a new theme.
Use a caching plugin
Both HTML and PHP are excellent programming languages. However, the main difference between both languages is how pages are requested.
With HTML, the page is a pre-built static file. With PHP, however – which is the language WordPress uses, pages are built dynamically. This means whenever someone visits a page or post on your WordPress website a new one is created on the database.
However, this process is so taxing on the server because for WordPress to build new pages, it has to gather the necessary data, put it together, and display the page. So, if you have numerous requests at once, this process could slow down your website.
The good news, however, is that with a caching system, the workload on your server is greatly reduced, which in turn helps boost the speed of your website.
With a caching plugin, the whole process of generating a new page every time a request is sent becomes a thing of the past. Instead, the cache system makes a copy of the page when the page is loaded the first time and is then served to other users.
Images and visuals are a proven strategy of making your content more engaging. However, if the images are not properly optimized, they could slow down your website.
But don’t fret. There are many things you can do to ensure that your images are properly optimized for the web without losing their quality.
For starters, consider the theme you are using and the recommended image dimensions. You can use photo editing software to ensure that you get the dimensions right as well as the file size and format.
There are two image formats; that is JPEG and PNG. The difference between the two formats is that JPEG is the compressed version of PNG. For website images, you should strive to use JPEGs as they are significantly smaller in size.
WP-SmushIt plugin is a great WordPress image optimization tool you can use for this task.
Use a CDN
Today, sending and receiving of information is swifter than it was a decade ago thanks to faster internet and advancement in technology.
However, the physical distance between the server and the client is still a critical factor when it comes to page load speeds.
The good news is that by enabling CDN (content delivery networks), you can help reduce latency and in so doing help in speeding up content delivery. There are various CDNs providers but Cloudflare is the most popular.
For most people, a slow website can be quite frustrating –which can lead to an alarming bounce rate. This cannot only spell out a significant loss of revenue but can also hinder business growth in the long run.
Speed matters! So, take action today and wow your clients and site visitors.