How to Optimize Your WordPress Website for Speed

The performance of your WordPress website is critical: it affects how your visitors experience your site, whether it’s pleasing to the eye, and whether you can keep them on the page for long enough to accomplish your goals. Regardless of the traffic you get, you want to ensure that every aspect of the site’s performance is up to par.

To that end, you need to take a few steps to make sure your site loads as quickly and looks great to your visitors. Most importantly, you need to start with what is making your site slow in the first place – your code. Your site’s loading speed can be optimized by making a few small changes to your WordPress source code. These changes will make a huge difference and bring significant speed improvements to your site. However, implementing these changes is not as simple as it may seem. That’s why we’re going to lay out some of the basics that you need to know in order to successfully bring your site’s performance up to speed.

The Three Main Causes Of A Slow WordPress Website

As a WordPress user, you know that the performance of your site is never ideal. After all, you’re not running a Tumblr blog, you’re running a full-fledged website with all the features you could want or need. However, even with all that power, there’s always room for improvement. You need to be aware of three things that can cause your site to perform poorly and make you consider speeding things up.

Too Many Plugins

One of the biggest factors that affect the speed of your WordPress website is the amount of third-party plugins you have running on it. Third-party plugins are pieces of code or tools that exist outside of WordPress itself and can enhance your site’s functionality. They can also make things much easier for you or provide additional options for your users. However, if you have a lot of plugins, it can cause major speed issues. Why? Because every time you click on a plugin, it has to load and run in the background, taking up valuable resources and slowing down your site. Consider removing some of the plugins you’re running and seeing if that improves the speed of your site. If not, it’s time to reevaluate your plugins and decide which ones you need and which ones you can do without.

Caching

Caching is a way of storing a copy of some content (such as images) in a location (such as your website’s server) so that when a user requests that content (such as a photo album or other similar page), the server can quickly provide it without having to load the content from disk each time it’s requested. When a user enters a URL in the browser, the browser tries to access the file it thinks is best and, often, this happens to be the most recently cached version of that file.

Caching is generally a good thing because it means less strain on your server and gives your visitors the content they want when they want it. However, caching can also be a problem if you’re using it wrong. Caching is implemented by adding a single line of code to your WordPress source code and also involves a bit of knowledge of how to properly use it. If you’ve never cached anything before, now might be a good time to start doing it correctly. Learn about caching and how to use it effectively.

Advertising

Placing ads on your site is an easy way to make money and, as a blogger, you’re used to running ads for your products or services. However, even though ads can be efficient and provide valuable information, they often come with a price. Sometimes, especially if you have a lot of them on one page, they can cause significant speed problems. Why? Because they have to load and run in the background whenever a visitor comes across them. If you have a huge amount of advertising on one page, that means that page is probably loaded with a ton of resources that it shouldn’t be. This includes the code for the ads as well as the code for your site’s content.

If you have a significant amount of advertising on one page, it may be a good idea to move the ads to seperate pages so that they don’t slow down the page they’re on. Also, make sure that the code for the ads is minified and made as unobtrusive as possible. Once you do that, you can be sure that speed is not a problem anymore.

Finding The Root Of The Problem

Once you know what’s causing your site to perform poorly, you can start looking for solutions. Sometimes, there’s nothing more frustrating than going through all of the above and having no impact at all. In cases like that, you’ll have to dive a little deeper and find the root of the problem. To do that, try one of these popular tools created especially for finding performance issues.

Pingdom Speed Test

One of the simplest – and most effective – ways to test the speed of your website is to use a tool like Pingdom. With Pingdom, you get a free domain, which you can use to test the speed of your site, as well as a free website builder and an analytics account, all in one place. One of the best things about Pingdom is that it takes all the friction out of the process. For instance, if you have a lot of plugins on your site, all you have to do is click on the Test My Site button, type in the URL of your site, and click on Start Testing. As simple as that, you’ll have a report within minutes with all the results from the test.

Another great thing about Pingdom is that it can test various aspects of your site’s performance, including speed. In addition, you can choose to have the test run regularly or perform as many tests as you can throughout the day. For a more detailed primer on how to use Pingdom to improve the speed of your WordPress site, check out this tutorial from WP Casey.

If you’re looking to improve the speed of your WordPress site, there are a few simple changes you can make. Make sure you try out one of the tools above, in particular, as they can all help make a significant difference. In addition, try to remove as many plugins and as much third-party code as possible. Finally, don’t just focus on faster load times and bandwidth consumption but also look to see how many requests your server makes per second. If you have a dedicated server, you can monitor the number of hits the server gets per second to get an idea of how optimized it is and how much faster it can perform if it was properly configured.