WordPress is the best platform for bloggers. You’ve probably heard this before, but when a person lands on your blog for the first time, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention to convince them to hang around. One weakness that WordPress suffers from, however, is that it is usually very slow.
Without taking the right precautions, you could end up with a sluggish blog that will not only be a hassle for repeat visitors, but will most certainly lose you subscribers and customers due to the impatient nature of web browsers.
First I want to go over how to test your WordPress site’s speed and next I want to go over all of the best tips to speed up your blog.
Google has now included site speed in its ranking algorithm. That means that your site’s speed effects it’s SEO, so if your site is slow, you are not only losing visitors out of impatience, but you are also losing them by having reduced rankings in search engines.
My favourite is PageSpeed Insight from Google, it’s fast and with a click I can test sites on mobile and desktop. Also it will shows you what you have to fix – for example mine (I just changed the design so I didn’t have time yet to optimise my imagery).
The one that developers and web designers used is Pingdom – it will give you a full analyse of your site, a-must-try!
If you are not sure about your Internet speed, Speedtest is a great website that one day an Internet broadband support guy asked me to test my Internet speed. If your Internet connection is between 5M to 10m it’s very good if not, I recommend you call to your house Internet provider and ask them to speed up your connection (yes sometimes they do it, just ask).
I have designed websites for over years, and I tried many hosting companies, until last year I was using one of them but my site was crashing regularly! If your blog has consequent traffic avoid shared hosting! The only WordPress host I continually recommend is WP Engine, it’s not cheap but they have an amazing team of WordPress expert and support, since I moved my WordPress sites with them, giving me peace of mind and my sites are always running smoothly. Check out their offerings, you’ll be happy you did.
If you have your own developer for your blog, good on you. If you are on a budget but still want an amazing look for your website, I recommend ThemeForest. They have fabulous templates with clean code and SEO optimisation. Only one thing try to avoid the templates with few purchases, the big ones have a better support and updates.
WordPress plugins are obviously quite useful, but some of the best fall under the caching category, as they drastically improve page loads time, and best of all, all of them on WP.org are free and easy to use. By far my favourite, bar none, is W3 Total Cache, I wouldn’t recommend or use any other caching plugin, it has all of the features you need and is extremely easy to install and use.
Note sometimes a cache plugin might change slightly your blog’s layout – if you use WP Engine for your hosting they have their own cache system and they will recommend you what are the best plugin to use.
You can optimize your photos on Photoshop, instead of saving as ‘normal’ jpeg save for web, and try to have your images under 100KB. If you don’t know how to use Photoshop, fortunately, there is an amazing, free plugin called WP-SmushIt which will do this process to all of your images automatically, as you are uploading them. No reason not to install this one.
– Show excerpts instead of full posts
– Reduce the number of posts on the page (I like showing between 5-7)
– Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the home page (include them only in posts)
– Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
– Keep in minimal! Readers are here for content, not 8,000 widgets on the homepage
I’m certainly getting a lot of use out of the word “optimize” in this post! You can simply use the WP-Optimize plugin, which I run on all of my sites. This plugin lets you do just one simple task: optimize the your database (spam, post revisions, drafts, tables, etc.) to reduce their overhead.
It will benefit your site speed if you set the default image to a blank space rather than a default image. Go to Settings/Discussion and click on blank on default gravatar.
This will not only speed you page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages. To do this automatically, install the jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin.
Personally I have over 1,400 images in Women Love Tech’s blog, even if my images are optimized they use lot of bandwidth – since I moved my images on the Cloud I almost gain 20% speed on the site. The service I use is Coudinary.
This article took me a long time to put it together, I hope you will enjoy it and share it 🙂
Images: DepositPhotos & mine.