How to speed up your WordPress website

Web Development

Slow websites frustrate users, damage your search engine rankings, and ultimately have a negative impact on your digital returns. A slow website will lead to increased bounce rates, negative user feedback, and can grant an advantage to your competitors. WordPress websites are the most popular in the world and yet too many site owners create and maintain WordPress websites that are slow and deliver a poor user experience.

WordPress offers ample customization options but this is part of the problem with site developers trying to do too much to the detriment of site speed. The good news is that to make your WordPress website faster, all you need are some strategic adjustments.

First, know what’s slowing your site down

Before you can fix a slow website, you need to properly understand the root of the issue. Many factors can contribute to slow load times on WordPress websites, such as large image files, poorly coded plugins, subpar hosting, and excessive redirects. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights (PSI), GTmetrix, and Pingdom can be used to identify specific issues by analyzing your websites and providing reports on the causes of slow speed to give you a solid starting point for improvements.

Speed up your WordPress site with these easy steps

WordPress customization and optimization can be daunting but improving your site’s speed doesn’t have to be. From optimizing web hosting to leveraging powerful plugins, there are practical steps that you can take to boost your WordPress website speed with minimal effort.

1. Get a fast web hosting service provider

Web hosting plays a critical role in site speed, with shared hosting plans often resulting in slower load times due to the shared resources amongst multiple websites. Despite the increased cost, upgrading to a better hosting plan, such as a Virtual Private Server (VPS), or a dedicated hosting solution could save you in the long run. There are a number of reputable hosting options that offer optimized environments specifically tailored for WordPress, such as SiteGround, Bluehost, and WP Engine.

2. Optimize your site speed & page/image sizes

Unoptimized media files and unnecessarily large images are regular offenders when it comes to slow websites. Compress and optimize all of your website’s images, and use formats such as JPEG for photographs and PNG for graphics with fewer colors. Smush and other WordPress plugins can compress and resize images without compromising the quality. You can also implement lazy loading of our images so that they only load when they’re about to enter the viewpoint, reducing initial load times and saving on bandwidth.

3. Reduce redirects

Consider reducing the number of redirects on your site. Some redirects, such as those that are used to direct traffic from outdated URLs to updated ones, are necessary, but too many redirects create additional HTTP requests and can slow your sites to a standstill. Use tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider to clean up any redundant redirects that can be found on your site.

4. Cut down unnecessary code parts

With its catalog of options, WordPress websites can easily accumulate unnecessary code from themes, plugins, and customizations. This code bloats your site and can drastically slow it down. Be sure to perform regular audits of your site’s code, removing anything that isn’t vital. Minify your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to improve load times, and don’t worry if this is outside of your wheelhouse, plugins like Autoptimize can help you automate this process.

5. Leverage browser caching

Browser caching simply means storing some of your site’s static files on a visitor’s local device so that subsequent page loads are faster. This approach can significantly reduce load times for returning visitors. You can achieve this by enabling caching through your .htaccess file or by using a plugin, and you can set different expiration times for different types of content.

Try these free plugins to speed up your WordPress site

As already mentioned, there are a host of plugins that can help you effectively and efficiently boost your WordPress website’s speed. Here are four of the best free options that will have your website loading faster than ever before.

Caching Plugin: W3 Total Cache

One of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress is W3 Total Cache, a free plugin that improves your server performance, cuts your download times, and offers transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration. You can configure the plugin to cache various elements of your site, including pages, objects, and database queries. W3 Total Cache also allows for minification and browser caching to further improve your site’s speed.

Image Size Plugin: Smush

Smush is an image optimization plugin that maintains image quality while compressing your images. Images are automatically optimized when uploaded and you can bulk-optimize the images in your current media library. Lazy loading is an option on Smush, contributing to even faster loading times.

Lightweight Social Media Plugin: WP Socializer

Social media plugins are known as some of the most bloating plugins on WordPress, but WP Socializer offers a lightweight alternative that won’t slow your website to a halt. Including essential social sharing features only, WP Socializer lets you add share buttons to pages, improving engagement without negatively affecting site performance.

General Optimization: Hummingbird

Finally, we come to the all-in-one, WordPress site speed optimization plugin Hummingbird. Hummingbird offers file compression, minification, browser caching, and performance monitoring, while also generating performance reports that highlight opportunities for improvement as well as next steps on how to optimize your site further.

inSegment can fix your slow WordPress site

By following the tips laid out in this article, you can begin to improve the speed of your WordPress website, enhancing your user experience and driving your company up search engine rankings. Unfortunately, the technical aspects of speeding up a WordPress website put a lot of people off making changes that their websites desperately need. 

inSegment has a team of website developers that have amassed decades of experience creating, optimizing, and maintaining outstanding WordPress websites for clients across multiple industries. By analyzing the situation, identifying bottlenecks, and implementing strategic solutions, inSegment’s team lets you focus on growing your business while they take care of the technical details.

Contact inSegment today and see just how fast your WordPress website can be.

How to speed up your WordPress website

Web Development