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Speed Up Your WordPress Website

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17 Nov. 2023


WordPress is highly versatile and extremely powerful. It’s a great choice for building practically any kind of website – single page websites, blogs, forums, online stores, coupon sites, social networking sites, news websites, and so much more.

Even complete beginners can make great looking websites in a short span of time!

WordPress powers over a third of all websites on the world wide web. It’s the most popular content management system (CMS) right now. It’s easy to use, and there are tons of options for however you want to customize your site.

When it comes to themes and plugins, there are thousands you can choose from. You can make your WordPress site as simple or as complex as you like.

While building sites on WordPress is relatively easy, it’s not all fun. Especially when your site starts becoming slow. You may not notice it at first, but when you start adding tons of content to your site and adding new features, your site will eventually slow down. And this is something you should avoid at all cost!

A slow website will turn off your visitors, and search engines like Google and Bing. If you don’t do anything about it, you could lose all your hard work and your once successful website will be a thing of the past.

The good news is it’s not all that hard to breathe new life into your WordPress site. There are many different ways you can Warp Speed Your Site, and you don’t even need to know how to code. Simply follow the tips we’ve prepared in this report, and your site will be back to loading at blazing-fast speeds!


Method #1: Use A Lightweight And Well-Coded WordPress Theme

There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes. Some are fast and lightweight, while some are slow and bloated. You need to know which is which. If your theme hasn’t been updated in years, then you probably should look at getting a new one.

Also, some ‘free’ WordPress themes – especially those not listed in the official WordPress theme repository – are badly coded. Some even include spyware and viruses which can slow down and do major damage to your site.

If you want to check which WordPress themes are fast, you can install and activate a theme you like and then run your site on a page speed tool like Pingdom (https://tools.pingdom.com) or GTMetrix (https://gtmetrix.com).

If you find that theme to be slow, you can try another theme and run it through the same speed test. You can repeat this process until you find a theme that’s fast enough to get high marks on various page speed tools.

Another important thing you need to remember is that WordPress gets frequently updated. As such, many developers continuously update their themes to keep up with the latest versions of WordPress.

Since WordPress is open-source and you’re pretty much in charge of your website (unless you have an I.T. guy on your team), then it’s up to you to make sure your version of WordPress as well as all your themes and plugins are always updated to the latest versions.

When you fail to update your core WordPress files, you’re essentially making your site vulnerable to bugs, hackers and bots which can definitely affect your site’s performance.

If your site gets hacked, an individual or a network of computers can control your site and your web server. They will steal your content and your bandwidth, slow down your server and cause many problems to your site.



Method #2: Use A Caching Plugin

Using a good caching plugin is a must if you want to speed up your WordPress site. Without caching, your web server will use up a lot of resources serving (and re-serving) all of your website files to all your site visitors.

Unlike static HTML sites which are created using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, WordPress sites mainly use PHP. If your site doesn’t use a caching plugin, your web server will dynamically generate the HTML version from your site’s PHP scripts. If you’ve only got one visitor at a time, then your server can easily handle this task.

But what happens when you’ve got hundreds of people browsing your site at the same time? Your server will be ‘overworked’ from generating the HTML version of your site every single time someone lands on it! Your site will slow down, and people will be leaving your site in droves.

With caching, you’ll essentially be easing the load on your web server.

When people visit your site, your server will serve a cached HTML version of your website instead of generating an HTML version each time.

The cached copy is lighter and faster to send to browsers. This is especially helpful when your site gets a spike in traffic and when you get repeat visitors who not only visit the original page they visited, but also check out your other pages, too.

There are many high-quality caching plugins out there. However, two of the top ones are W3 Total Cache (https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache) and WP Super Cache (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache).

Both plugins are free, have a 4.3/5 star rating and are installed on millions of WordPress sites. Choosing which plugins to install will greatly depend on your caching needs.

If you want easy setup, then WP Super Cache is for you. However, if you want maximum control over your site’s cache, you should install W3 Total Cache. Either way, know that you can’t go wrong with either plugin.


Method #3: Optimize Your Images

Did you know that images for the web are entirely different from print-ready images? For one, web images don’t need to have thousands of megapixels while for print images, the higher the megapixel, the bigger your print will be.

So, for example, if you want to print an A1 poster-size image, then you’d need a high-megapixel image because if you use something that’s 1000x1000 pixels, then your image is going to come out pixelated on paper.

Recommended image sizes for the web, on the other hand, do not usually exceed 2000 pixels. Majority of monitors and computer screens only have a width of 1920 pixels.

If you upload images larger than 2000 pixels, it’s only going to get squeezed or cropped on the site, but the file size will remain unaffected.

This means if you’ve got a high-definition 3000x4000 pixel image, then you can reduce the image’s dimensions to make the file size smaller. You can reduce it to something like 1280x720 pixels or 1920x1280 pixels.

So, the first thing you need to do to optimize your images for the web is to resize it to web-friendly dimensions like we’ve explained above.

You can use a tool like Photoshop, Image Resizer For Windows (https://www.bricelam.net/ImageResizer) or FastStone Photo Resizer (http://www.faststone.org/FSResizerDetail.htm).

The next thing you need to do is to compress your image files. When you compress your files, you’re essentially stripping away all the useless data that adds some weight to your files. Things like metadata and unused color profiles in your images all add to the weight.

With image compression, your compressed image will still look exactly the same as the uncompressed one. However, it’s going to be lighter.

You can check out TinyPNG (https://tinypng.com) to compress your PNG and JPG files quickly. If you want to compress GIF and SVG files, head on over to Compressor.io (https://compressor.io).

Lastly, if you’re on WordPress, you can even take image compression to the next level. You can install an image compression plugin like WP Smush (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-smushit).

This tool works quietly in the background, so you can just upload your image files as per usual to your WordPress Media Library, and WP Smush will take care of the rest.

If you’ve already uploaded tons of images to your site, you don’t need to worry about taking them down and replacing them with their optimized versions. WP Smush takes care of ALL existing images on your site.



Method #4: Get Rid Of Unnecessary Plugins

Plugins extend the functionality of your WordPress website. You can literally turn it into anything you want it to be. If you want to sell your own products on your website, you can simply install an eCommerce plugin like WooCommerce (https://wordpress.org/plugins/woocommerce) which will transform your site into an awesome storefront!

If you don’t want to use the default WordPress editor to create your web pages, you can use a plugin like Elementor (https://wordpress.org/plugins/elementor) which makes it easy for you to create beautiful pages without touching a single line of code!

Currently, there are over 55,000 free plugins on the WordPress Plugin Directory, and thousands more on various marketplaces online. It’s so easy to become a plugin-hoarder because there are no limits to the number of plugins you can install on your site.

However, what many people don’t realize is that with every plugin you install, it uses resources and creates an extra HTTP request to your web server. This means that it will essentially contribute to your site’s slowdown.

If you’ve got one plugin that can replace 5 or 10 different plugins, then keep that ‘super’ plugin and delete the redundant ones. Likewise, if you’ve got a multifunctional plugin, but you only use 1 or 2 features, then maybe you should consider just going for the lighter plugins.

Getting rid of unnecessary plugins is very important. It’s simply not good practice to have a few hundred plugins installed on your site. Even if you don’t use all of them, that is, many of them are deactivated, it’s still a good idea to streamline and keep only the plugins you actually use.

When it comes to plugins, the “less is more” concept is actually ideal. There are lesser plugins to configure and update. When problems arise, it’s much easier to troubleshoot and find out which plugin is suddenly causing problems to your site. Keeping only the most essential plugins will cause lesser headaches and will help boost your site’s speed.

Compression and minification are two different techniques, but both will help speed up your site. If you’ve got heavy web pages, then you will certainly benefit from both methods.

Compression usually comes in the form of Gzip. What Gzip does is it zips up your website files before sending it to your visitors’ browsers. With Gzip, your page load time will decrease because a smaller file is being transmitted.

The only downside is that once the browser received the zipped file, it will then need to take some time to unzip the files before it can display the page.

Minification, on the other hand, sounds a bit intimidating. However, the entire process is really not as difficult as it sounds. With minification, you are simply removing the non-essential details that appear on your code.

This means that all the code comments, white spaces, new line characters, etc. which makes the code easy to read, are all removed.

So, instead of having thousands of lines of code for your HTML, CSS or Javascript files, everything will be placed on a single line. This makes it easier for web servers to process. It helps reduce the file sizes, too.

If you use a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, they have an option there to enable Gzip to compress your website files.

Alternatively, you can use a plugin like Check and Enable Gzip Compression (https://wordpress.org/plugins/check-and-enable-gzip-compression).

For minification, you can use a plugin like WP Super Minify (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-minify) which will minify your site’s HTML, CSS and JavaScript to improve your page load speed.


Final Words

Follow the tips we’ve shared in this report to reap the benefits of having a speedy website. A fast-loading WordPress site can mean wonderful things for your business.

You’ll get more people visiting your site, your conversion rates will increase, and eventually, you’ll get rewarded by Google with high rankings on various search results pages!


Bertrand Allard

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