7 Ways To Speed Up Your WordPress Site & Load Times

Looking for simple ways to reduce your WordPress website loading time? In this post, I’m going to share seven proven steps that will speed up any WordPress website!

Why Should You Speed Up Your WordPress Website?
There are several different reasons, some of which might even cause major concerns for you:
1. Search engine (like Google) rank websites with fast-loading times higher than the slower-loading ones. So, if you’re looking for one additional way to improve your position in the SERPs, improving website load times should be one of your priorities.
2. Studies have shown that site-loading speeds of more than 2 seconds usually results in about 47 percent of visitors bouncing off the website. So, to keep roughly half of your visitors interested, you should speed up your website.
3. Online shoppers are the most impatient; They expect the page to load within a second. So, if you’re running an eCommerce store on WordPress then you better get ready to make major improvements so your business can be more profitable.

How Do I Test The Loading Time Of My Website?
Before making adjustments to your website, you need to analyze the current load time. Keep in mind, this speed might differ from page to page, as it can depend on various factors, such as:
-The size of the page
-How many requests it generates
-Whether it is cached or not

The homepage of a website is usually used as a benchmark to test the load time. In order to check the speed of your website, I recommend using the website WebPageTest.org

How To Speed Up Your WordPress Load Times

1. Choose A Better Web Hosting Provider – The major factor that influences the speed of a website is the hosting of your WordPress site. It might seem like a good idea to host your new website on an affordable shared hosting provider that offers “unlimited” bandwidth, unlimited addon domains, and more. However, you get what you pay for and going this route could result in your website being hosted on oversold servers that are being slowed down because they’re hosting too many sites. Cloud hosting has come a long way over the past several years, and you may want to consider going that route. Otherwise, dedicated servers are another option. However, these aren’t recommended for most smaller websites. Do research on you hosting provider to make sure they do not oversell their shared hosting packages.

2. Use A Lightweight WordPress Theme/Framework – WordPress themes with lots of dynamic elements, sliders, widgets, social icons and other shiny elements are immensely appealing to the eye. But keep in mind, if they have too many elements and higher page sizes, then they will definitely cause your website to load slower. The best option here is to use lightweight themes. These are basically themes that don’t come with all the glitzy features you see on many others.

3. Reduce Image Sizes – Images are the major contributor to the size increasing of a given webpage. The trick is to reduce the size of images without compromising on the quality. If you manually optimize the images manually using Photoshop or any other tools, the process will take a long time. Fortunately, there are plugins available for just about everything you can think of, including image optimization. The ones worth mentioning are: Optimole and EWWW Image Optimizer. Using either of these two plugins on your WordPress site will drastically reduce image sizes, thus improving the speed of your website.

4. Use Advanced Caching Plugin – WordPress caching plugins (such as LiteSpeed Cache) have been around for a long time and make the complex task of adding caching rules to your website elements simple. These plugins will clean up old files and keep your cache fresh, which should speed up the loading time on WordPress considerably.

5. Deactivate Or Uninstall Plugins – Keeping unwanted plugins on your WordPress website will add a tremendous amount of junk to your files. Moreover, it will also increase the size of your backup and put an overwhelming amount of load on your server resources while backup files are being generated. With that in mind, it’s much better to just disable and delete the plugins that you don’t use.

6. Keep External Scripts To A Minimum – The use of external scripts on your webpages will add a big chunk of data to your overall loading time. Thus, it’s best to use a lower number of scripts, including only the essentials, such as tracking tools (like Google Analytics) or commenting systems (like Disqus).

7. Disable Pingbacks And Trackbacks – Pingbacks and trackbacks are two core WordPress components that alert you whenever your blog or page receives a link. It might sound useful, but you also have things such as Google Webmaster Tools and other services to check the links of your website. Keeping pingbacks and trackbacks on can also put an undesirable amount of strain on your server resources. This is so because whenever anyone tries to link up to your site, it generates requests from WordPress back and forth. This functionality is also widely abused when targeting a website with DDoS attacks.