Speeding up your website is the only guaranteed way to get more traffic and make more sales.
In 2010, Google confirmed that site speed is one of over 200 indicators that impacts search rankings. Their data shows that when pages load slowly, people spend less time. Yet most of us put little focus into making our websites faster.
Maybe fine-tuning the inner speed triggers of your WordPress website is too daunting.
If your load time is more than 3 seconds or your page size is over 2MB, that can be a big problem that’s costing you money, both in lost sales and server fees.
There are many free online tools such as WebPageTest, GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom that can help you identify issues that cause slow loading times and bad user experience for your site.
Here’s how to take charge of your website’s performance.
Install a Cache Plugin
A cache plugin is an absolute must have plugin that cache’s the mostly visited pages on your website and make them available to the next visitor immediately. The plugin generates html files which are served without ever invoking a single line of PHP.
Try using WP Super Cache or if you have experience with caching plugins try W3 Total Cache, I also like the easy to use Hyper Cache which is great for people on Shared Web Hosting. Hyper Cache is a very lightweight caching option for the average WordPress blog, offering speed without a lot of overhead. If you are looking for a more robust hosting option for WordPress then you might want to try HostForLIFE.eu.
Optimise the WordPress SQL Database
Just like your hard drive the WordPress database too can become fragmented.
To optimise the WordPress database of your site, visit your Control Panel, basically people use CPanel or Plesk Control Panel & use phpMyAdmin to Optimise and Repair the Tables.
Choose a Good Theme
Unfortunately, not all WordPress themes are created equal. While some are extremely fast and well coded, others are bloated with hundreds of bells and whistles under the pretence of being “versatile and customizable.”
A few years ago, Julian Fernandes of Synthesis ran an interesting case study in which he updated his theme from WordPress’ default to the Genesis framework, monitoring page speed. He noticed that just by changing the theme to Genesis, his loading time improved from 630 to 172 milliseconds.
When you choose a theme, check the page speed of the theme’s demo, using a tool such as Pingdom, to see how quickly it runs with nothing added to it. This should give you an idea of how well coded it is.
Compress Your Site
Gzip compression can easily reduce file sizes from 200+KB (non-compressed) to less than 40KB (compressed). As long as your server has compression enabled, take advantage of it.
You can be sure that your users will experience a drastic speed up of your site for both desktops and mobiles by enabling compression at your server.
Add the following snippet of code at your .htaccess file in order to enable compression for static files.
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0 no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent
Check that Your Image has been Optimized Well
Images are the main culprit for slowing a website. Always optimize your images (especially those above 50KB) before uploading them to your website.
The optimal way of optimizing them is to use Photoshop or any other image manipulation software. Save images for web with image quality up to 60%.
You should also use progressive images for JPG files because progressive rendering of images provides a smoother user experience.
The WP Smush.it plugin will automatically optimise your images for you. It removes extra bytes within them that are unnecessary, without compromising the images quality. Smaller images mean a faster loading site.
Whether you use a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Drupal or a custom-made PHP or HTML site, I highly recommend configuring a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
A CDN hosts your files across a huge network of servers around the world. If a user from Argentina visits your website, then they would download files from the server closest to them geographically. Because your bandwidth is spread across so many different servers, the load on any single server is reduced.
Leverage Browser Caching
Google recommends a minimum cache time of one week and preferably up to one year for assets that change infrequently.
This is usually done by adding this snippet of code at the .htaccess file for shared hosting plans
ExpiresByType text/html “access plus 7200 seconds”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 864000 seconds”
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access plus 864000 seconds”
ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 864000 seconds”
ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 864000 seconds”
Choose Best WordPress Hosting for Your Site
Choose a hosting plan that meets your site needs.
Most hosting companies apply limitations to their shared hosting plans and host hundreds of sites per server to keep the fees to the minimum.
You get what you pay for. If you have an Ecommerce site, a heavy CMS, a lot of traffic or traffic spikes, avoid shared hosting plans.