Boosting your website speed is a prerequisite to becoming a successful blogger. Research shows that just 1 second of delay in loading results in 11% fewer views, 7% conversion rate loss, and 16% customer satisfaction decrease. Also, a survey shows that over 47% of customers find 2 seconds or less to be the ideal website loading time, and 40% are ready to leave if it takes 3 seconds or more. Even if they stay, 79% of them state they wouldn’t return to a poorly-performing website. So, if you finished your speed tests but don’t know what to do next, let us help. These are killer ways to increase website speed.
1. Balance WordPress hosting, theme, and plugin choices
Laying a solid foundation for your website should be your top priority. Implementing other methods afterward will be the icing on the cake. That’s the biggest mistake users make – they choose the cheapest and prettiest options, and severely limit their growth potential, even though the rest of the methods will produce some results. To clarify, creating a great starting point means:
- Choosing the right type of web hosting. This will have a massive positive impact on the loading speed of your website. It will cut down the time required to answer all HTTP requests, TTFB (Time to first byte), and SRT (server response time) and allow you to scale your traffic up without issues.
- Installing the best WordPress theme for speed and performance. There are plenty of gorgeous WordPress themes you can install. Unfortunately, they’re often poorly optimized and thus slow, resource-heavy, overly feature-rich, and often not user-friendly. Remember, less is more.
- Only installing necessary WordPress plugins. Examine the list of currently installed WordPress plugins, and delete those you rarely or never use. Seek replacements for the ones you do in form of lightweight alternatives or code snippets. Eliminate nulled WordPress plugins as well.
2. Install a website caching plugin
There’s no excuse not to use caching on your website with free choices among caching plugins for WordPress. The plugin will primarily analyze your PHP scripts, and store them as static HTML pages on your server. These pages are then generated and shown when someone visits your website, which significantly improves loading speed. Installing such a plugin can also shrink bandwidth usage up to 80%, making your operating costs go down. We suggest investing that cash into buying a license for the leading caching plugin, WP Rocket, at $49 for 1 website and 1-year support. It supports Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) too – close to 55% of all traffic in early 2021 came from smart devices. What’s more, it automatically applies 80% of the best practice speed settings, making it one of the killer methods to increase website speed. Finally, WP Rocket allows implementing methods 3 and 4 from its Settings page in a few clicks.
3. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
If you store your content on one server, you risk having slowdowns or downtime during times of high traffic. Additionally, the further someone is from the server your website is hosted on, the higher the individual’s latency is, and thus the slower the loading time. CDN service fixes that by caching your website on a network of web servers in a variety of geographical locations worldwide. So, when someone visits your website, the request is fulfilled from the closest server to his or her location, which reduces latency and maximizes loading time. VentureHarbor ran an experiment that showed a reduction in load time of between 20% and 51% with a CDN, depending on the location.
I’m short on cash. Any alternatives?
- GZIP Compression. Activated caching? Compression is likely enabled already. To double-check, enter your website URL at “www.giftofspeed.com/gzip-test/”. Activating GZIP compression will optimize your PHP and HTML code, and reduce its download time by up to 70% on average.
- Minify. Represents sprucing up your HTML, CSS, and JavasScript code. Remove extra spaces, line breaks, indentations, fix formatting, optimize code, combine two scripts into one, etc. Do anything to shrink the number of HTTP requests a browser needs to render your website’s page.
- Lazy-loading. Present in most caching plugins as well. Elements will progressively load as the visitor navigates the page. Essentially, it removes a chunk of initial load time and only adds it back when the person is already browsing.
5. Optimize media on your website
Your Media Library typically occupies the largest portion of your website storage space. And since visuals are important and help with SEO, tidying up your Media Library is one of the killer ways to increase website speed. To achieve that, do the following:
Resize and compress images
We went over this when we taught you to serve scaled images in WordPress. Finding the perfect size means you won’t waste a single KB. Furthermore, compressing pictures can shrink their size by 70% to 90% without a significant drop in visual quality. One experiment showed that reducing the number of images totaling 22 MB to just 300 KB resulted in a 70% decrease in the time users had to wait before interacting with the website.
Lazy loading and external hosting
Setting up lazy-loading for images works without a drop in user experience. Like scripts, images get gradually requested as they come into view. This is also possible for GIFs and videos, auto-play or not. Furthermore, we don’t recommend you host videos on your storage. Instead, host them externally – video-sharing platforms have compression algorithms and allow you to embed videos on your pages.