In this post I will cover some simple non techie tips to speed up your WordPress website and improve user experience.
When I visit a website the most frustrating thing is waiting for the site to load. Its almost like waiting for a video to buffer in the middle of the best scene.
Who wants that right? A good user experience is super important to provide to all your potential website viewers.
When looking at a theme or website design you will want to consider a lightweight well optimized theme.
As important as the branding or look of your site is-so is the ease of navigation.
let’s jump right in to the subject!
Your website speed is directly tied to the traffic you receive from search engines.
Poor user experience will get your website less traffic. Less traffic means less email sign up’s, sales, and ultimately low engagements.
I have written a post that explains why website speed is important. You can check it out here and don’t forget to bookmark this page to get back for the speed recommendations.
Lets see how fast your site loads
We will use Gtmetrix. By the way there are other speed tools you can use like Google pagespeed insights, and Pingdom tools.
I like Gtmetrix because it will report your site speed and give you easy to understand recommendations on how to improve.
Head over to Gtmetrix.com, enter your website URL (https://yourdomain.com) hit analyze and wait for results.
You will be presented with a report like the one below. The most important measurements you want to focus on are 1. Fully Loaded Time 2. Total Page Size 3. Requests.
Pingdom is a great tool as well and I will include a link so that you can get there perspective on your website.
The purpose of the speed test tool is to determine website load time. A suggested time your site should load is less than 2-3 seconds.
Your report will give you some important measurements. A letter grade that scores how well your site handles different processes. It will also show you the total load time.
Your website is also measured so you can see how large your site is, and the number of requests for different elements on your site needed to fully load.
Depending on how your site measures you will be able to use the following recommendations to improve your WordPress website performance.
Simple Tips to Improve WordPress Website Speed
1. Web Hosting
Over the years i have used different website hosting providers. While i don’t know the number of companies in the business im sure there are a bunch.
This is the foundation for your website. Your hosting company needs to have an above average track record in a few specific areas.
To save time and the headache of gathering information and searching for different options I will recommend 2 companies.
My recommendations come from my experience as a consumer of there products.
Although one of these companies out performs the other they are both dependable for the service they offer, and will be a good choice for hosting.
When choosing your web host they will need to have an above average rating in the following areas:
- Customer Support
Number one on my list would be SiteGround
Uptime – 99.99%
Speed – 673 ms
Features –Unmetered bandwidth, 10 GB storage, website builder, and free email
Support – 24/7 live chat
SiteGround clocks in with above-average speeds 99.99% uptime, and tons of extra features that are perfect for both beginners and power users.
With access to an online knowledge base customers can get answers to basic issues at there own convenience or call in to receive help from a specialist 24/7
This website blogtips.uk is hosted by SiteGround and we have high recommendations for anyone looking to start a new hosting plan or switch from an existing company.
You will find affordable plans that offer substantial discounts when purchasing annually. You can also go with the month to month option that is competitively priced.
PROS: Recommended by website owners, 99.99% uptime, SG optimizer for fast load time, free SSL, 24/7 customer support, and free site transfer with there migrator plugin
SiteGround has a very simple dashboard set up for you to build and manage your website.
CONS: Higher month to month cost in comparison to similar companies
Our second pick would be HostGator
Uptime – 99.98%
Speed – 1191ms
Features – Easy signup process, Unmetered bandwidth and storage, single email account, free domain 1st year on annual plans
Support – 24/7 live chat
HostGator is also one of the most popular web hosts. They offer great service and an uptime guarantee that says if they drop below 99.90%, you can receive one month of credit on your account..
HostGator plans are very affordable with plans starting at $2.75 per month.
They offer a free SSL certificate and free site transfer if you are moving from another company.
I have had great experience with HostGator support in the past with website issues from basic start up questions-to what do I do when I crash my website? HostGator support has been there, fast and reliable.
2. Reduce Plugins-More Simple Tips to Improve WordPress Website Speed
If you are just learning WordPress and reading different guides or reviews you have no doubt been introduced to plugins.
Plugins offer functionality just like an app on a smart phone makes our phones easier to use. There are currently over 50,000 plugins available.
A number of plugins are low quality which means for you as a website owner you will be subject to spam attacks, or even reduced website performance.
Before adding plugins do some homework to determine the type of updates and support the plugin offers and find plugins that do multiple tasks.
When a visitor goes to your site the server responds to the request and delivers your webpage. The more requests you webpage needs the slower your website.
Plugins add requests to server load time, so for this reason you want to keep the number of plugins used to a minimum.
Related Reading: Best WordPress Plugins For Websites
3. Caching Plugin
Here’s the process-your visitor types in your website address.
Your sites files are in a database that the server will request the necessary information to deliver your actual page to the visitor.
This process can be improved by using a caching plugin. The caching plugin will make and store a copy of your sites static pages.
Now when a repeat visitor comes to your site the server grabs the stored pages vs doing a new request. This saves much needed time and makes delivering your website to visitors quicker.
A simple to use cache plugin would be WP Fastest Cache. I recommend this plugin because its easy to set up, has over a 1 million users, and will not slow your website down.
I have used different cache plugins in the past, what I like about WP Fastest Cache is that it has not caused conflicts on any of my websites.
As an alternative WP Rocket is an all in one cache plugin that will do the trick. This is a premium plugin that offers excellent optimization options.
Its easy to configure and is very effective. If your worried about keeping website expenses low, I understand!
In this case the benefit of investing in a good caching plugin will be justified by the results you receive from having a better performing website.
4. Optimized Theme
Using WordPress you will find there are many beautiful and stunning themes that are available.
When choosing your theme you will be looking for something that is visually appealing and that is lightweight.
The more detailed a website theme is the more processes it will take to fully load. This means your incredible looking website can be incredibly slow.
This is not good for user experience.
Themes come in 2 options. A free option and a paid option. The paid option offers more flexibility in the overall design.
Some website owners need that additional ability to fully customize there site so a paid theme is needed.
This blog you are reading is on a free theme called Astra. Astra by far is one of the best looking and most lightweight themes you will find.
I recommend Astra if you are looking to get your website up and running while keeping your expenses low.
Astra is great for designing your perfect website. You will find demo templates that are easy to modify and instantly create a website.
Just import a demo and start creating. For website developers you will find its robust and offers the ability to fully customize.
5. Current PHP Version
Its important to keep your website database updated. Contact your web host and they will assist you with upgrading if needed.
This may be one of the simple tips to improve WordPress website speed that can easily be ignored.
6. Current Version of WordPress
A good practice to keep in your business would be to keep your WordPress website up to date.
Each new edition of the CMS provides added security features and other enhancements that will keep your site running perfectly.
You will also want to keep all plugins up to date as well. For the same reasons. Keeping up to date with security fixes and other enhancements.
When you log in to your WordPress dashboard you will see available updates, all you will need to do is click on them and the update process will run.
7. Database Maintenance
Your database will become cluttered with post revisions, unapproved comments and other data related to running your website.
Over time these elements build up and cause additional bloat to your website and can impact performance. There are many ways to clean your database.
My favorite is using a plugin called WP Optimize. This is a super simple low level plugin with multiple features including caching. I use it specifically for its database cleaning feature.
8. Server Request
What is a server request. A request comes from your website visitors browser.
When they go to your site a request is made asking for images, fonts, and video. The request is filled and the visitor will be directed to your website.
All this happens in just a matter of seconds. Here’s the thing-the more requests your site has the longer it takes for your site to fully load. What can you do to keep that time to a minimum.
- Optimize images on your page
- Use proper image sizes
- Deactivate and delete unnecessary plugins
- Lower the amount of images on your page
- Enable lazy loading for images and videos on your site
When you use Gtmetrix it will show you the amount of requests your website receives before loading.
We can use this reading to discover those requests that we can reduce.
9. Image Optimization
Images typically are larger and will require more space than fonts, or text.
Optimizing your images is super important and in some cases will make a dramatic impact on website load times.
There are plugins that can optimize your images as you upload them to WordPress. This is another one on the list of simple tips to improve WordPress website speed. One of the more popular image optimization plugins is SMUSH.
This plugin can be installed and pretty much automatically reduce your image size once they have been uploaded to your media library.
The SMUSH plugin also has a lazy load feature that you can enable to help reduce server requests.
PRO TIP Lets take your image optimization up a notch.
What I do with most images especially really nice detailed professionally taken images, is manually optimize them. There are a number of ways to do this.
Photoshop users can go thru options there. A simple method to use (that’s free BTW) is going to the ShortPixel website and clicking on the compression tab.
You can add images here and on the website have your images optimized. Download the images to your computer and upload them to your WordPress media library.
The manual compression method will insure your images are receiving maximum compression while maintaining the details.
As an alternative you can subscribe to ShortPixel. They offer very affordable plans that allow large numbers of images to be optimized.
Depending on your website content you may want to sign up with ShortPixel, this will save lots of time while editing photos and prove to be a great service.
10. Use a content delivery network
A content delivery network (CDN) refers to a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content.
Basically your website can be stored on servers in different parts of the world.
If you are based in the USA and you have a visitor to your website from Australia, your site will load from a local server in thier area.
This will add increased load times opposed to loading from a server in the USA.
I would suggest using Cloudfare to add this feature to your website. You can go directly to their website to sign up.
If you are using SiteGround for hosting they will provide you with a free CDN that is sponsored by Cloudfare.
We will be wrapping this post with this final recommendation
11. Enable Gzip compression
A website is full of complicated processes that happen in seconds.
The more visitors you have the more repetitive the process. Your website has a database filled with files, and code that the web browser needs to read and deliver all your sites images and text.
These files are often compressed so the process of displaying your website can go faster.
If you are using SiteGround they have a feature that enables gzip compression, that all you have to do is tick the option in your dashboard.
There is also an option to use a caching plugin that will have this option available. This is another low tech way to improve your websites performance.
Now over to you!
I’m curious? If you are a web developer or maybe have experience with website optimization leave a comment below. It will be great to have more insight on this important topic.
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