At a glance...
WordPress websites often fall victim to slow load speed, as their DIY nature can result in large website file sizes, massive images, and a disorganized and unoptimized code base. Here are some proven strategies, tactics and tool for improving the site speed for your own WordPress website.
Why does website speed matter?
Your website users, and future customers, will form an initial opinion about your company from the moment they land on your homepage. Does your WordPress website make a good (and fast) first impression, or are your customers wasting time watching your pages crawling to load? Since load load speeds often cause site visitors to jump ship completely, improving your WordPress site speed is one of the most impactful improvements you can make to increase user experience (and sales) online.
Benchmark your current website speed
Before you make adjustments to improve your site speed, test a variety of your website pages using at least two different gold-standard site speed tools. These tools will capture your benchmark website speeds (be sure to download the reports for future reference) as well as offering recommended improvements. Begin with Google Pagespeed Insights, GTmetrix, and webpagetest.org.
Advanced users and growth-focused businesses will benefit from a more consistent, comprehensive approach to monitoring and maintaining a fast website. Robust, full-site pagespeed monitoring is included in any of our monthly digital service packages.
Uninstall unused & redundant plugins
WordPress Plugins often contain large resource libraries, which can slow your WordPress website to a crawl. Plugins that are activated — even if not actively in use — will impact your website size and load speed, so deactivate unused plugins whenever possible.
Optimize your site images
Most WordPress load speed issues are caused by the use of hi-res images and too-large website resources. Optimole is our favorite tool for addressing these issues, and it does so extremely quickly and easily — with little to no work on your end. Upon plugin installation, Optimole optimizes your website images automatically, picks the proper image size based on a user’s browser and viewport, automatically serves images via their fast image CDN (content delivery network), and utilizes lazy-load for saving time on off-screen image downloads. In our experiments, Optimole has reduced image sizes by up to 80% without any impact to image quality.
Cache your website pages
Web caching provides faster WordPress webpage delivery by allowing for the temporary storage (and quick retrieval) of key webpage elements and data. In our testing, WP Rocket has proven to be the most effective WordPress caching plugin, standing out from the competition for its ease of install and impressive, immediate results. WP Rocket offers page caching, cache preloading, static file compression, and images on request (or lazy load), to ensure that you site visitors don’t need to wait any longer than absolutely necessary. For power users with large sites, huge traffic influxes, or a general need for even more speed, WP Rocket has its own premium CDN service called RocketCDN.