The easiest ways to make your blog visitors not come back to your site is having slow load times. People expect sites to load quickly otherwise they’re quick to find the information on a more efficient site. The good news is speeding up your site does not take much technical ingenuity. Instead, all you need is a few quick tools and your WordPress site will rapidly improve its speed, much to the delight of your visitors.
The great thing about WordPress is the content management service (CMS) makes it very easy to edit and alter site elements to keep things simple and efficient. Whether it is changing images or altering scripts, WordPress makes things easy. Many learn how to make WordPress work through Googling their problems. Another way to improve your site’s speed is through the loading process. This means having great servers and hosting services. For example, an easy way to make your WordPress site work faster is by using fast web hosting like Siteground to take care of all hosting issues.
The fixes profiled here are easy to take care of, and many of them will take very little time.
This process kills two birds with one stone. The first thing you need to know is which image type works best for a specific file type. Without getting deep into the weeds, JPGs and PNGs work differently and each file type lends itself to more efficient loading when visitors access your page. Here is the differentiation:
- PNG file types are for screenshots and illustrations
- JPG file types are for photos; export JPGs once
Running an image optimizer for your site is very important as well. These optimizers will trim the fat from your images. In fact, optimizing your images will reduce the clutter the image contributes to your WordPress site by up to 95% per image. Here’s what that means in real numbers. Let’s say an image is 523 kB. An image optimizer clears out the clutter and resize the image, essentially. Reducing an image of this size by 25% means your site now only has to manage an image the size of 392 kB instead. This may not seem like a lot, but when you add it up over all the images on your site, you’ll be astounded at how much speed reducing clutter has been removed from your WordPress site.
Use CloudFlare as a Filter
CloudFlare is a useful tool for sifting out junk in your incoming traffic. The easiest way for hackers to shut down a site is with a DDoS attack – overwhelming of servers with massive numbers of requests and the inability to answer them quickly. The site slows down and eventually crashes. CloudFlare does several things besides act as a filter. Essentially it makes your site run quickly because several tasks such as the ones below work with greater efficiency:
- Static files pull from closer geographic locations via a built-in CDN
- Hybrid cache system allows for quicker request handling
- DDoS monitoring prevents useless traffic from bogging down your servers
- Firewall keeps malicious actors and files from corrupting your site
CloudFlare does a great job providing statistics as well. You will find out the number of unique visitors, page views from regular traffic, along with the threats, bots and crawlers sorted between totals and unique numbers of each. There’s also no DNS configuration you need to do – CloudFlare takes care of this on its own.
Understanding How to Cache
There are a couple considerations when page caching, but unless you have an e-commerce site, it is pretty easy to gain much in the way of speed from your WordPress site. Caching is pretty simple – instead of doing the process of generating a page each time someone accesses your site the caching process takes a copy of the page and then gives a copy to all subsequent parties heading to that page. This process makes your site run 2 – 5 times faster. This is a noticeable speed increase. If you’re still unsure of how caching works, just imagine writing the same phrase on a piece of paper for 30 different people each time you’re asked. Now, with caching, what your WordPress site is doing is writing the phrase for the first time and then handing out photocopies to each subsequent request.
If you are looking for simple caching, try WP-SuperCache. This is an easy tool free from CDN considerations and will help you make your site appreciably faster in minutes.
Keep Your Theme Trim and Fit
Bulk is always the enemy of speed. WordPress is very exciting because the themes and widgets let your imagination run wild. However, if your theme is massive and there are several widgets, each page will take longer to load. With each widget and improvement on a theme, these are elements of clutter you are adding to your site:
- CSS files embedded within each widget
- Third Party API calls are present and cause greater bloat within these elements
Another issue are advertisements. Ads served from long chains with multiple fallbacks are the kiss of death to site speed. Make sure your ads work efficiently.
Get Professional Help
A Virtual Private Server is an excellent toy for people who like to play around with their site, however many of these VPS’s lack specific WordPress configuration. So, you go and configure the VPS only to find your WordPress site is just as slow as it always was. A great solution is calling a professional. They will charge roughly $100 to tune up your VPS – but it is worth it. The floor for the speed boost is increases in requests per second that the server could resolve of up to 10 times the original amount. This may not seem like a lot, but when your site is buzzing, these little fixes will pay for themselves and allow you to have a responsive and fast WordPress site.