Does speed matter?
Before we talk about how to speed up your WordPress site, you may be wondering if a faster site is all that important. Is it worth the time and effort? Simply put, yes, it’s extremely important. Google has said it is not only a ranking factor for desktop, but for mobile sites as well. In addition to search engine rankings, speed is important for a pleasing user experience.
Keep WordPress Up-to-Date
There are many reasons to keep your WordPress site updated, and security is a major factor. In addition to security, an out-of-date version of WordPress on your site could cause bug issues, which will slow down your site. If you manage your website, you will want to ensure your site is always running the latest version of WordPress.
Bonus Tip: Be sure to back up your site before updating it. A new version of WordPress could cause certain plugin or theme options to break – so it’s important to have a back-up just in case.
Plugins are an easy way to add functionality to your site without coding knowledge, and some plugins could even speed up your site. Many sites, however, have too many plugins. Having a few plugins that add some important functionality to your site is fine, but adding a plugin for every small thing you want to have on your site will become an issue. Too many plugins will tremendously slow down your site, because of the site must load all the scripts before the page can load completely. Best rule of thumb, before installing a plugin, think if you 1) can add this functionality without installing the plugin, and if it not then 2) decide if this is something that is a key element on your site or just a one-off. If it’s just a one-off, then consider avoiding adding the plugin.
There’s little debate that you should include imagery on your site. Images are great for capturing your audience and boosting engagement. However, if they aren’t properly optimized, they could also be the main reason your site is running so slow. Install a plugin that will optimize the compress the images for you. This is an example of a plugin that is key to your site’s overall performance and will help improve your page speed.
Utilize a Caching Plugin
When a user visits your WordPress site, your server has to load all of the files for the corresponding page. This can take time and can slow down your site quite a bit. Using caching, simply put, shortens that process and speeds up your site. Setting this up is very simple. Choose a caching plugin (typically any of the plugins that are highly rated do the same thing), and activate that plugin. That’s it, your site will now run much faster.
Have a Good Hosting Plan
Having a slow site may not be an issue with your site, but slow speed could be due to your web hosting. Many people downplay the importance of a good host and will likely opt for the cheapest deal – many times on a “shared server.” A shared server is just how it sounds; you’re sharing a server with other sites. From the size of the sites sharing that server to their traffic during your peak hours, the entire server will slow affecting each site – including yours. That’s why the best choice is often a hosting plan with a dedicated server, which ensures that you have more control of your site’s performance.
A Fast Site Means a Happy Customer
Unsure if your site is slow? There are a plethora of websites that can check the speed of your website, and one of my favorites is Pingdom. You simply enter your website and it will give you a fully detailed report on your page speed – as well as how to improve it. If you see your site is running slow after running one of these tests, then try out some of the steps above, and you should see your site speed improving in no time.
If you want to rank in search engines, your site’s speed is important. If you want users to stay on your site and browse your products and services, then a fast site is again important! Bottom line, you want to have a fast site! Need help? Whether it’s running a scan to determine your site speed, or taking the steps to improve it, Sikich Marketing can help. Contact us today!