WordPress is a fantastic CMS platform, and probably the most popular tool out there for building your online presence. However, just like any business tool, you need to make sure that you're using WordPress correctly if you want to get the most out of it. The WP platform can slow down significantly when it's not optimised correctly.
As you may already know, the success of your website can rely heavily on how fast it runs. If your pages can't load quickly enough, then your customers will simply hit the back button. To help the thousands of businesses around the world that rely on WordPress to keep their companies running, we've put together a list of the best tips for speeding up a WordPress blog.
1. Optimise Your Images
The first thing you need to do to get your WordPress site running as fast as possible is optimise your images. Resizing and compressing images with a plugin like WP Smush will help you to take some of the weight out of your website, so it doesn't take as long for pages to load. WP Smush will bulk your heavy images together and convert them into files that are less demanding on your server.
If you'd prefer to stay away from plugins, you can always upload your images using a web-based tool like TinyPNG instead.
2. Try Caching
One of the biggest things that slows a WordPress website down is having to retrieve new information every time someone loads a page. Caching allows you to keep all the information and data that your site needs close to hand, so every visitor doesn't have to ask for something from your server. Caching can seriously reduce your page loading times because your visitors won't need to load everything all over again. With a cache, your pages will appear faster, and you can clear the cache if you need to ensure an even faster loading speed.
3. Web Hosting
Using the correct web hosting plan will affect your loading speed more than you'd think. It's probably a good idea to go beyond the standard shared hosting option if you need a site that can handle a lot of traffic over an extended period of time. Dedicated hosting or a virtual private server may be a more reliable option. For most people, VPS will be the ideal step up from shared hosting, without having to go as far as getting their own private server. Additionally, it's worth looking into people who can provide you with dedicated WordPress hosting if possible. Some hosts do offer packages that are optimised for WordPress.
4. Use a Content Delivery Network
It doesn't matter much how big your WordPress site is, pretty much anyone with an online presence can benefit from using a Content Delivery Network, or "CDN." Essentially, a CDN works by taking all of the files on your website and sending them to the server that's closest to your visitor. This helps to reduce download times significantly. Aside from speed, content delivery networks also greatly improve visitor experience, reduce bounce rate, and keep your customers on your site for longer.
5. Optimise Your Database
Sometimes, after your WordPress website has been running for a while, it can start to get a little cluttered. You can clean up and optimise your database by using something like the WP-Optimise plugin. This will get rid of any unwanted data on your site and reduce your database size so that things load faster. Unwanted data that you can get rid of includes spam, revisions, trash, and more.
6. Optimise and Reduce your Plugins
Are your plugins performing as they should be? Consider using the P3 plugin to optimise them. This plugin essentially captures all the data available about the plugins on your WordPress site and gives you measurements and reports on how they're affecting your loading times. While you're optimising your plugins, remember to get rid of anything that you're not using. A common reason for a slow WP site is too many plugins running at once.
7. Constantly Test your Speed
Finally, remember that optimising website performance speed isn't a set-it and forget-it process. Testing your performance regularly with tools like GTMetrix and Pingdom will help give you an insight into how your site loads and give you other actionable recommendations on how to optimise everything too. You'll be able to track your website status with alerts from these tools to ensure that your speed doesn't start to decrease.