How to speed up your WordPress site
Are you wondering how to speed up your WordPress site?
Website visitors are very impatient people and if a site takes too long to load, they’ll leave quickly.
Think about it…
How many times have you clicked the back button when a site was taking too long to load?
There is nothing worse than a slow loading website. It creates a poor user experience, increases your bounce rate and a drop in your Google ranking.
So how can you make your website load faster?
Let’s have a look…
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Speeding up your WordPress site
Making your website load faster can be a tricky process because there are many different variables that can cause your site to be slow. Before you do anything, you need to check your website loading times. You can do this with a website speed test from GT Metrix.
After you run a test it will tell you how long your site takes to load and it will give you recommendations on how to fix issues.
Some of the fixes mentioned can be very technical and complicated. Others will be easier to implement.
The most common problem of slow loading websites is large image files and images that have to be resized with CSS code. This means that you’ve uploaded your image files too big and not at the correct size that they will be displayed at. I’ll show you how to fix this below.
If you’d like some help fixing more technical issues like adding expires headers, gzip compression or a CDN, I highly recommend talking to Grayson Bell.
Grayson has a site speed service that will make your website load in less than 3 seconds.
Easy ways to speed up your WordPress site
There are several ways to reduce page load times and speed up your WordPress site that are not too technical. Depending on how slow your site loads you might want to try some or all of these.
1. Reducing image sizes
A common mistakes new bloggers make is uploading images to their blog without resizing them. When you download a photo from a free stock photo library or a subscription site like Pixistock, you get the uncompressed size.
These images are often between 30 and 70 MB and are about 4000 by 5000 pixels, which is huge! If you were to upload your images at this size it would slow down your site like crazy.
So what do you need to do?
When uploading images to your blog, you need to make sure that you’ve resized them to the actual size they will be displayed at, on your blog. You can do this in Photoshop or with a plugin called ShortPixel.
Here’s how you do this:
How to reduce image size in Photoshop
You can reduce the size of your images in Photoshop by going to the to menu > Image > Image Size, and changing the pixels in the width box from 5000px to 1000px (or less if you want to display the image smaller). As you can see in this image this reduces the image size from 57.1M to 1.91M.
Next you need to reduce the image size even more by going to File > Export > Save for Web. Make sure JPEG is selected (PNG files are larger, only use these to keep transparency) and the Quality is only as high as it needs to be. As you can see, in the image below, this reduced the image from 1.91M to 89.23 K.
How to reduce image size with ShortPixel
If you don’t have Photoshop you can reduce the size of your images after you upload them to your website, with the plugin ShortPixel.
(Even if you’ve reduced your images before uploading, I’d still recommend using this image compression plugin, because it will still compress your images even more.)
ShortPixel’s Resize Images feature can reduce your hosting storage by changing the sizes of your uploaded pictures.
Each time you add an image, WordPress automatically generates a number of thumbnails which are deployed on your webpages. Your original pictures are rarely shown to your visitors, but they take a lot of your hosting space.
ShortPixel can reduce these original images to a maximum size they will be displayed at.
Once you install the ShortPixel plugin, you can optimise all your past images in a few clicks and all your new images will be optimised automatically. This is an easy set-and-forget system for fast loading images.
Try the ShortPixel plugin for free
ShortPixel offers Monthly Plans and One-Time plans. On the Free Monthly Plan you can optimise 100 images per month. 100 images may sound like a lot, but for every image you upload, WordPress creates several sizes, so it can add up quickly.
The prices for the other plans are:
- 5000/images for $4.99/mo
- 12000/images for $9.99/mo
- 55000/images for $29.99/mo
If you want to save money in the long run however, I recommend checking out this awesome Lifetime Deal from Appsumo.
For a one-off payment of only $49 you can optimise all your images for life!
No more monthly fees locking you in, just a one-off payment.
This deal is a total no-brainer if you want to reduce image sizes by up to 90%, speed up your website and improve your SEO ranking.
>> Check out this ShortPixel Lifetime Deal
2. Use a caching plugin
Another way to speed up your WordPress site is by using a caching plugin.
Every time someone visits your website, the server needs to load all your website files. If you use a caching plugin, it will store a static version of your web page. This minimises the amount of data that is transmitted between the visitor’s browser, the WordPress database and the web server, which will result in shorter loading times.
Two great plugins to speed up your WordPress site are W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket.
3. Delete unnecessary plugins
Too many plugins will slow down your site, so it’s important to only install plugins that you really need (ahem like an image optimising plugin and a caching plugin).
All plugins that you don’t need should be deleted.
Two plugins that are usually already installed on new Worpress installations are Jetpack and Hello Dolly. Jetpack is known to slow down websites so it’s highly recommended to delete this asap. And Hello Dolly is completely pointless so make sure to delete this too.
4. Delete themes that you’re not using
A WordPress install usually includes several free WordPress themes. You don’t want to slow down your site with themes you’re not even using. Leave one spare theme and delete all the others.
5. Declutter your site
Last but not least you’ll want to declutter your site. Minimise ads, widgets and fancy fonts. Keep your sidebar free from unnecessary widgets and clutter, and only add things that are important.
This is how you speed up your WordPress site
I hope these tips have helped you reduce your website’s loading times. If your images are slowing down your site, make sure to check out ShortPixel’s Lifetime deal before it runs out!
If you have any other issues or questions, make sure to talk to Grayson Bell, he’s an absolute WordPress guru and he’ll definitely be able to help you.
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Amazing tips. Thank you for sharing tips on improving speed
Choosing performance-optimized WordPress hosting is one of the biggest things you can do to improve your site’s backend performance. If your hosting is slow, there’s a high chance that your website is going to be slow, even if you do a really good job at front-end optimization.
A Content Delivery Network is a highly-distributed platform of servers that helps minimize delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. This helps users around the world view the same high-quality content without slow loading times. CDN is best option to speed up WordPress website.
Thanks for the input Robert!
I’m glad that you shared this article. I was compressing my images but the Photoshop trick is absolute best. I’m going to use Photoshop next time to compress my blog graphics.
Yes I think it makes sense to compress your images before you upload them but definitely also use an image compression plugin to reduce file sizes even more.
Hey Lisa !
Thank you for sharing these great tips ! Hm didn’t think of reducing image size to speed up my blog but now thanks to you now I did ! Look forward to seeing more great content 🙂
Great ideas. I’ve used many of them but it’s always good to get confirmation. And I learned a couple of new ideas to try. Thank you
You’re welcome Mike.
When I first started I fell into a plugin black hole of wonder. I had so many plugins doing so many things which, in hindsight, didn’t even LOOK good. Deleteing them sure helped. I Will try your de-cluttering tiip. Thanks
Yes, slowing down on the plugins is a good idea, good luck with decluttering.
Your article is helpful, I am using WordPress and new to this game. Right now I am trying to figure out why every time i comment on reader view it comes up as my wifes email lol real world problems
A great post Lisa.
I totally agree that page speed is important for SEO. I’ve made sure to optimise my images and have a CDN early on and I’ve seen my page scores on GT Metrix go from low 80s, to 96% and 99% respectively with the all important load time under 3sec. It’s so satisfying. 😊
All the best.