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How to speed up your WordPress website?

Imagine a supermarket where products placed on shelves are covered with non-transparent covers with the name and a picture of the product and a button for opening the cover. This button, due to a non-optimised circuit, triggers an outdated and slow mechanism that takes a few seconds to lift the cover. Would you buy more than one item (if any) in this store and would you ever come back? And now, instead of a product, imagine a page on a non-optimised website.

Even if you were not aware of this fact previously, it is now probably clear how important a fast and responsive website is for your visitors. In this article, we will explain how to check the speed and how to speed up your WordPress website.

You think your website is fast? Maybe you are wrong

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” as the saying goes, and the perception of the loading speed of a website is also subjective. Maybe in your opinion the website is fast enough, but many visitors could turn their noses up at its responsiveness. Luckily, there are tools that can measure the loading speed, some of which also suggest solutions for speeding up the website.

PageSpeed Insights is the tool by Google for monitoring the speed of websites. The tool separately analyzes the mobile and desktop versions of the website and offers suggestions for speeding it up.

GTMetrix is a tool by GT.net for website speed analysis. It only tests the desktop version, but besides the PageSpeed test mentioned above, it also uses the Yahoo algorithm called YSlow. Differences in algorithms enable a better bottleneck analysis and the tool also enables a graphical loading presentation of a website.

Help yourself…

Maybe you will be surprised, but some problems can be resolved without touching the code of the website. In just a few minutes, you can install a plugin, set it and let it automatically do its job. You can also solve many problems by suitably preparing your content before publishing it. Even if you reduce the loading speed by just one second, this will significantly increase the average time your visitors stay on your website.

40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line, Kissmetrics Blog

Optimisation of images

Images are one of the biggest consumers of the user’s bandwidth. Non-optimised files will take long time to load for visitors with a slow connection and spend valuable kilobytes of visitors with a limited traffic. You can gain the most by choosing the correct type and size of images.

If images contain many colours and do not include transparent areas, it is recommended to save them as JPG files with the compression rate of approximately 80% (you can find the optimum ratio between quality and size by testing different options); otherwise, we recommend you to use PNG files that support transparent areas and enable lossless compression of images.

Dimensions of images obtained from cameras or scanners are usually not suitable for publishing online, because they are usually too big. The majority of online visitors use a FullHD screen resolution or less (1920 x 1080 dpi), which is why it makes sense to limit the dimensions of images to this value.

Because your image processing software may not have the best algorithm for saving images, you can save on size by lossless recompression of images. You can use one of many tools available online. Less experienced users can also use plugins (e.g. Smush Image Compression and Optimization), that provide an automatic image optimisation. The majority of plugins send the image to an external server where the optimisation is performed, which is why we do not recommend using them in case of sensitive data.

Replace or disable slow plugins

Some plugins that you installed for giving your WordPress installation additional capabilities may significantly slow down your website. Plugins that are slowing down your website are usually identified by disabling all plugins and then enabling them one after the other. This can be problematic to do on a live website, but luckily there are plugins that make the detection of bottlenecks easier (e.g. P3 – Plugin Performance Profiler). The plugin automatically studies the WordPress loading process and shows the results graphically. You can then disable the slow plugin or find a faster alternative in the
Plugin Directory.

Create static websites

WordPress highly depends on data stored in databases, and the same also applies to plugins. At every visit of a dynamic website, the website is constructed from smaller parts, which can additionally burden the server and cause a slower responsiveness in case of some hosting types. In case of static sites, it is not required that they are constructed at every visit; they can be constructed e.g. only once every hour and the pre-constructed version can be shown to visitors. Such pre-constructing significantly relieves the server. You can also completely automatize this procedure by using plugins (e.g. WP Super Cache).

…or let us help you

The improvements listed above are only a hint of all possibilities that can be used for speeding up you WordPress website. The majority of other tricks are more complicated and can cause the website to malfunction or be shown incorrectly if not implemented in a correct manner. Ideaz Web Agency is specialised in creating fast WordPress websites, and we have much experience with optimising existing websites. Contact us and we will analyse your website and present all possible solutions.