Did you know that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, nearly 40% of site visitors will leave and go elsewhere?
That is not a good sign if you are looking to become a successful website owner. In fact, this will wreak havoc on your reputation, email list building efforts, and bottom line if you are not careful.
And, for those that are still not quite convinced (because 3 seconds is pretty fast), check out these other startling statistics and start to wrap your mind around the fact that website speed is crucial to your success:
- 44% of consumers get nervous about their transaction when a site is slow to load during checkout
- The average page size has grown 151% in the last three years thanks to images
- 25% of websites take more than 10 seconds to load
- The cost of abandoned shopping carts has been estimated at more than $18 billion per year
- 64% of smartphone users expect your website to load within 4 seconds or less
As you can see, not only do site visitors demand fast loading websites, their behavior significantly impacts your success as a website owner if you do not cater to those demands.
That’s why today we are going to discuss some exceptional ways you can improve the overall speed and performance of your WordPress website.
So you do not fall into the trap of becoming a website that simply won’t load in time for readers to view what you have to offer.
Monitoring Website Speed
Before jumping into how to improve your WordPress website’s speed, let’s first look at how to monitor your site’s speed first.
After all, having a starting point is a good way to ensure you have made progress as you utilize the tips I am going to share with you to increase your site’s speed.
Here are some of the most common online tools you can use to check the speed and performance of your website:
Each of the above-mentioned speed tests monitor things such as the following on your website as it loads:
- Scripts, fonts, and plugins
- Minification of scripts
- Large, unoptimized images
- Total load times, page sizes, and # of requests made
- Rendering speed in multiple browsers
To show you how to test the speed of your website, let’s use Pingdom.
First, enter the URL of the website and choose the location nearest to you.
Next, select START TEST and then wait for results. After a few seconds, notice the following summary:
As you can see, this website has a C performance grade but loads in 873 blazing milliseconds! This is faster than 91% of all other websites tested using Pingdom, which is nothing to complain about.
In addition, the page size is 1.1 MB, and only 30 requests were made before the site loaded in a readable fashion.
The neat thing about speed tools is that they also provide you some actionable tips for improving your website’s speed and performance, much like I am going to do for you today. Take a look:
Simply click on each insight and see what can be done to improve your site’s speed and make those changes for an even faster loading website.
Top-Notch Tips for Boosting Website Speed
Now that you know how fast your website is loading for the average site visitor, let’s see what we can do about making your site load faster than ever.
1. Choose a Good Hosting Provider
One of the biggest factors that influences the speed of your website is the hosting provider you use for your website. Now, for someone just starting out with, deciding which hosting provider to use can be overwhelming.
There are many different types of hosting options – shared, managed, VPS, and dedicated – and even more companies offering a variety of those options.
That said, here are some of the things to look for in a good hosting provider:
- Security measures
- Superior support
- Lots of local storage
- Daily backups
- CDN capability
For those seeking managed WordPress hosting services, SiteGround is always a popular choice (and the web host I myself use and recommend).
2. Choose a Lightweight Theme and Limit Plugin Use
WordPress themes have the tendency to have a lot of built-in features. For example, sliders, widgets, social icons, and other dynamic elements.
And, while these multi-purpose themes can help you create a truly unique website, they can increase your website’s page size, strain your server’s resources, and eventually drag your website down making you site load slower than ever.
To add to that, having too many plugins installed on your website can lead to slower loading page times. To avoid this, make sure you only use plugins that are necessary to the design and functionality of your website.
3. Install a Caching Plugin
One plugin that you should consider installing onto your website is a caching plugin. Caching plugins are designed to make your website load quicker by performing a number of functions underneath the hood of your website.
However, the most effective benefit a plugin caching will have on your site is the deliverance of static versions of your content to website visitors.
4. Enable a CDN
Oftentimes a site visitor will make a request to see your website from a geographical location that is very far away from the physical server that hosts your website’s files. This can lead to a slow loading page time.
A CDN, or a content delivery network, helps with this problem by taking all of your static files and allowing site visitors to request and see them from a server that is located close to them geographically.
If you use a CDN, copies of your website are stored on various data centers throughout the world and are delivered to site visitors based on their location. Some of the most popular CDNs today are MaxCDN, Cloudflare and KeyCDN (which I use).
5. Stay Updated
As a website owner, it is important you keep your own site’s version of WordPress updated. Not doing so may make your website vulnerable to security threats and bugs, will affect your site’s speed and performance, and will cause you to miss out on any new and updated features that are added.
One common solution that many online speed tests will recommend is the minification of both JS and CSS files. In doing so, you reduce the number of calls that are made and the size of those files.
In turn, you effectively speed up your website. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to use a quality caching plugin that handles this function automatically.
7. Compress Images
Images on your website are known to create a drag on websites of all sizes. Optimizing your images by reducing their overall size, without sacrificing the quality of them, is the key to increasing your website’s speed and maintaining the visual appeal of your site.
Following these tips for speeding up your website will have you on your way to a fully optimized site that is ready for every site visitor that clicks on your website.
Just make sure that as you make these changes you continue to monitor your website speed using the online speed tests. This way you can see the difference and ensure that what you are doing is working properly.
In the end, taking the time to increase your WordPress website’s speed and performance will not only improve your site’s basic page loading time, help you build a bigger email list, and hopefully garner an increase in sales, it will significantly improve the user experience as well.
And when you have phenomenal user experience, paired with killer content, you will see your success soar in no time.
Have you ever used any of the above-mentioned tips for increasing your website’s speed? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!