Last month I noticed my site was slow as fuck. The lag was extremely irritating. The kind of irritation where all you want to do is bang your head on your desk. If you’re experiencing the same issues with your WordPress site it’s probably related to a number of things.
Shitty load times lead to frustration. Personally, I’d rather wait for a 10 minute bus then a slow website to load. At least then I can surf the web on my smartphone. And actually view sites which load quickly.
Random fact to get you thinking:
Did you know that 47% of visitors expect a page to load in under 10 seconds? With 57% of visitors abandoning sites that take more than 3 seconds to load. (Akamai 2009 study)
As well as this your page speed is also considered a ranking factor to Google. So if that doesn’t make you want to increase your websites page speed nothing will.
Before you start looking into why your pages are super slow, you might want to check the following:
WordPress as a CMS has some great capabilities, yet it has its downsides. Your WordPress theme is probably one of them. It might look great, but is probably de-optimised for speed. Who thinks about page speed when designing and sculpting a website? I wouldn’t. Test the demo before purchasing or downloading. This can be done using Google PageSpeed Insights.
The time your browser connects to the hosting server is to be blamed on your hosting provider. Cheap hosting results in a longer DNS response time. So naturally you might have a super-efficient theme, but your hosting is holding you back.
Testing your site speed
Now onto the nitty-gritty: before you start ripping apart you site and finding the common causes, you might want to use a few tools. These two tools will help in evaluating the effectiveness of your WordPress site.
P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
The P3 plugin creates a profile of your sites plugins performance. This is done by measuring the impact they have on your sites load time. Handy, as you won’t need to go through all of your plugins one by one.
Once you’ve identified the main culprits you might want to replace them or completely remove them. One plugin which was lagging the shit out of my site was a Pinterest pin plugin. This plugin was eating up crucial seconds of my visitor’s lives. I decided to remove it. Best online decision I’ve made so far.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Once you’ve identified the plugins which are affecting your WordPress sites theme and removed them. You will need to use the Google PageSpeed insight tool to find out what’s causing the speed issues.
The Google PageSpeed Insights tool crawls your site to find internal issues with the site speed. It will deliver a score out of 100 (100 being the highest score).
Some of the listed issues might not make any sense. However, Google kindly provides information on how to fix the problems. Of course the tool is for the more technical minded folk. As such to address some of these issues, I’ve found plugins which will do the job for you.
5 Simple tips to increase your WordPress sites page speed
- Compressing Image
Images take up a lot of bandwidth; as such compressing them is probably your best option. By compressing the images you’re reducing the file size without losing any image quality. A recommended plugin to do this for you is WP Smush. The plugin meticulously checks every image uploaded, or any images in your current library and cuts the unnecessary data.
WordPress themes allow for a number of images to be viewed from the homepage of a website. Subsequently large file sizes take bandwidth and really do affect your load speed. Use this plugin to enhance your load speed without worrying about rendering quality.
- Leverage Browser Caching
By setting an expire header it tells the browser whether to request a particular file from the server or from the browser’s cache. Of course, there are limitations to this as this only works for users which have already visited your site. And have a version of your WordPress web page stored in their cache.
The plugin works by reducing the need for returning visitors to download the same files again, as well as reducing the total amount of HTTP requests. A pretty handy Plugin I use is W3 Total Cache. You can find out how to apply the best settings using this guide.
- Cleaning up your database
WordPress has a number of disadvantages to it; first off it somehow manages to autosave everything. This leads to your database being filled with hundreds if not thousands of post revisions, unapproved comments and general trash.
To save time you can use an awesome plugin called WP-Optimize. This will clear out your database and remove some of the junk. Remember to back up your database before cleansing.
- Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks
Hopefully you have these turned off already. If you haven’t then this can be done by clicking on the “Settings” tab and then going to “Discussion”. If you didn’t know pingbacks and trackbacks are a method used by WordPress to alert other blogs that your post links to slowing down load time.
PageSpeed matters not just for SEO, but because users can get extremely impatient. Gone are the days of dialup internet, and dodgy Wi-Fi. Don’t lose visitors because your theme is eating up your viewer’s time, instead keep testing and improving efficiencies.
Thank you for reading, and please leave any comments – especially if I’ve missed anything! If you’re bored and need some entertainment, feel free to check my best tinder chat up lines or my Game of Thrones Chat up lines. Otherwise I have a range of useful articles located here!