Page speed

Page speed effects your SEO rating in Google and the experience of your audience. Bad for people. A slow website makes people restless and increases the bounce rate. Fast websites win the race for people and search engines. So we are going to show you how to have a fast WordPress website.

Turn off plugins when you are not using them

Plugins use resources when they are activated. Excessive plugins activated slow down the website with load requests, and increase the overall security risk of your website.

Delete the plugins you don’t need

Plugins can still slow down a website when they are not activated. Delete the plugins you are not using and do not need.

Keep your plugins up to date

Plugins are most efficient when they are up to date. Keep your plugins up to date and compatible with each other. Out of date plugins can start to communicate poorly and either slow down or break.

Don’t overwrite too many plugin files in your theme

Customizing plugin features using overrides in your theme is the right process. But too many overwrites can slow down your site performance. Write efficient code, use the functions.php file in place of templates when you can.

Optimize image sizes

Images are the most common resource to slow down websites. Images have large file sizes, and are often more bulky than necessary. Optimize images for the web by saving them using web settings at 72 DPI.

Images often come with unnecessary data like latitude, longitude, date, and so on. Use software to snip away that excessive data.

Make sure your images are only as large as they need to be. Otherwise the full image size is loaded and then the image is shrunk smaller. Such a waste of load time!

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Server and web host

The server used to host a website heavily impacts the website speed. Bad news, cheap hosting services are slow.

WP Engine

For the fastest WordPress hosting around, choose WP Engine. WP Engine is expensive, but the benefits and performance are worth the price. If you pick only one task to improve your page speed, choose this one.

Javascript and CSS loaded above the fold

If Javascript and CSS loads before the rest of the code, then a website can feel clunky and slow.

Let your essential content load first, and then load the Javascript and CSS.

Leverage browser caching

Every file on a web page is loaded when someone visits that page. Caching page resources saves the files on the visitor’s computer, and avoids loading the resources every time the visitor returns to that page or any other page with that resource.

After leveraging browser cache, some websites experience huge improvements in page speed.

Lazy load

Images load when a web page is visited, even when the images are not on the screen. This keeps web page loading speeds sluggish as we wait for every image to load.

Lazy load software keeps a website’s images from loading until they are needed. The loading is spread out during each visit, which makes the website appear faster.

Lazy loading images improves the perceived performance of your website by only loading images when they are needed.

Gzip compression

Gzip compresses your files before sending them to the browser. The compression makes the files smaller, so they load faster.

The gzip compression code is placed in the .htaccess file. This is one of the most cost effective tasks for improving page speed.

CDN, content delivery network

CDN stands for content delivery network. A content delivery network saves your images on a network of servers across the world. When your website is loaded, the CDN loads the contents from the server closest to the visitor, creating the shortest load time for that resource. CDNs keep the heavy lifting off your server, and destributed amongst a network.

Minify

Minifying files removes all the unnecessary characters, spacing, and formatting. Minified files are smaller and load quicker than their original counterparts. Minify JavaScript, CSS, and HTML files using automated software.

This step is like squeezing very drop out of a lemon.

Test your page speed

You can test your website to evaluate the page speed, and identify specific causes of load time.

Test your website using Google Pagespeed Insights.

GTmetrix

Pingdom

Expected page speed results

We have seen these steps bring a website from a 34/100 to a 88/100.

Working on page speed is time consuming and nuanced. You should try to accomplish some of these steps on your own, and I am sure you will improve your page speed. But if you want real measurable improvement, contact a professional to do it right. You and your visitors will see the difference in real time.

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