It's no secret that we're not huge fans of Wordpress around here - but we never-the-less recognize that it is used by a lot of people and businesses. One of the most common complaints that we hear from people who use Wordpress is "my site is really slow."
Typically, slowness is experienced partially on the site itself, but primarily on the backend of the site, when they try to log in and make changes to the site. Neither of these scenarios is ideal however, and today we're going to cover five strategies to help speed up your Wordpress site.
Remove As Many Plugins As Possible
For a lot of people, one of the first methods they'll attempt to speed up their site is to install a plugin that promises to increase performance and page speed. This is a mistake that will rarely lead to a genuinely faster site. In fact - chances are good that using these plugins will result in added frustrations.
It is an unfortunate truth that most web developers go crazy with plug-ins. The problem is, every plug-in that is installed on a site comes with its own set of styles, scripts, and code. So every plug-in that you add, just adds to the number of server calls that your website is making every time you log in. Additionally, many of these plug-ins may cause conflicts with other plug-ins, which can cause errors, and overall frustration.
Optimize Your Images
One of the biggest cardinal sins that I see not only with Wordpress sites, but almost all sites, is unoptimized images. When you simply upload a photo from your computer into your Wordpress media library, chances are the photo is way too big in both dimensions and file size. Wordpress does not have a built-in image compressor, and so if an image is 3mb on your computer, it's going to pull in that 3mb image on your site.
Before you upload any image into Wordpress, you should first resize it, and run it through an image optimizer such as TinyPNG. Just by taking these two simple actions, we can take an image that started out as 3mb, and reduce it down to 50kb. The amount of time that will save for a site to load can be substantial.
Get A Custom Theme
When you use premade themes from sites such as ThemeForest or Envato, you have very little control over the HTML markup that is spit out by the template. Often times, these themes will be loaded with plug-ins, scripts, and add-ons that will often look nice, but absolutely kill your site speed.
With a custom theme, you can be a lot more intentional about what gets added to your site, as well as the markup used for different elements. In addition to speeding up your site, this can have the added benefit of improving your search engine rankings.
To learn more about having a custom theme made for your site, click here to schedule a time to chat with us.
Switch to a better web host
Not to call them out, but if you are using a service like GoDaddy to host your site, you are bound to experience frustration. GoDaddy is fantastic for registering & managing domains - but their hosting platform leaves a lot to be desired. I have had several clients that use GoDaddy's hosting platform, only to experience laggy sites, poor customer service, and overall frustration with them
Keep Up With Your Updates
There are three main updates that you need to be mindful of: Plugins, Wordpress, and PHP. Within the Wordpress admin panel, you can manage your plugins and Wordpress itself. Wordpress generally does a pretty good job of letting users know when updates are available. It is important that you don't let these things go too long - otherwise, it can lead to a lot of problems beyond a slow site, including malware, and website errors.
Additionally, while this is typically something that you need to address on your web host, you want to ensure that you're using the latest version of PHP. This has also shown to greatly improve overall performance. There's a good chance that your site is already using the latest version of PHP - but, it's always worth looking into.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list of everything you can do to speed up your Wordpress site, it is certainly a great starting point, as these are the biggest culprits to a sluggish website. If you are struggling to implement any of these strategies, or have questions about anything discussed in this article, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We'd be happy to discuss with you some strategies to help speed up your site!.