Time is one of the most important resources. You might think that a 1-second difference in loading time isn’t really that important for your website. According to data gathered by Google, 53% of mobile users leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Making your website run faster is not only important to maintain your customers and visitors, but you can also lose money if you decide to sell your online business. If you don’t know what is important when buying or selling an online business, you might get ripped off because of your low website speed.
Don’t worry though, there are lots of tricks you can use to make your WordPress website run faster with little effort.
One of the factors that influence your website’s speed is hosting. If you are hosting your website on low-quality servers, no amount of optimization will prevent it from being sluggish. This means that choosing a good hosting plan is the first step speeding up your website. But what does a good hosting plan actually mean for WordPress website?
A lot of people start out with a shared hosting plan, meaning they share a server with other users. Sharing a server with other users means that bandwidth, storage and all other features available on the server are spread between other websites, making your website run slower. If you can, host your website on a dedicated server. A dedicated server will let you use all the resources on the server for your site alone. In addition, you will have greater access to server configuration and customize the server to fit all your website’s needs.
There are two more important details you will want to pay attention to when choosing a host. One, is the server is optimized for WordPress websites? Optimized servers let you use WordPress specific services that will help you make your website even faster. Second, does your host offer the ability to set up a duplicate of your website? This is a handy option to have when you are making changes to your website. If you can make a duplicate, you will be able to do testing without fear that your live page will suffer. You can test out different themes, plugins and other settings that impact the speed of your website and see which configuration is the fastest.
No matter the content of your website, images are most likely the biggest files on it. They are often guilty for the slow loading time of a website because of that. Optimize the size of your image will help increase speeds. For example, if you take a photo with your camera, that file will have a size of few MB in its original format. With several pictures of that size on your website, it will take ages to load.
Change the size of these files in any photo editing software. The best formats you can choose are JPEG and PNG. The difference is that PNG is uncompressed format and JPEG is a compressed format. This essentially means that a picture in PNG format will still be a bit bigger than a JPEG one, but it will also have a higher quality.
Content delivery network
CDN is a network of proxy servers and data centers that are distributed around the globe. They will let your visitors download files from CDN servers. But why wouldn’t you want your visitors to download those files from your website directly?
If your server is located in North America and someone is accessing your website from Europe, the distance between the visitor and server will impact the download speed. CDN operators have servers distributed around the world and let visitors access those files from the server closest to them. This method of speeding up your website may be a bit pricey, but if you are running a successful website with visitors in locations around the world, then this is a worthwhile investment.
When choosing a theme many people make a mistake of choosing a beautiful theme without checking if is it optimized for speed. No matter how beautiful your theme, people will still lose patience with a slow site and click away.
Avoid themes with lots of animation and other features that are unavoidable. Pick a basic theme built for speed instead, and add all the other features you need yourself. It is easy to add most of the features with WordPress plugins.
Plugins can also make a huge impact on the loading time of your website if they are not coded well. When choosing a plugin you should check its reviews and run a speed test before and after installing it. If it slows your website down significantly, replace it with another plugin. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a plugin with the similar features, after all, there are over 55k plugins available in the WordPress database.
Limit number of comments per page
It is wise to limit the number of comments that appear on a single page. Splitting comments into pages is a default feature in WordPress so you won’t need any plugins or additional features. Just go to the “Discussions” page in your website’s settings and you should see “Break comments into pages” option there. Check the box next to it, set the number of comments you want to be displayed on each page and enjoy your accelerated website.
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