With the dramatic increase in mobile (and since Google uses site speed in for page rank), it’s important to speed up your WordPress site. In fact 40 percent of people abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. In 2006 Amazon reported an increase of 1% revenue for every 100 millisecond improvement in page speed. A faster loading website will give a better user experience, improve your search rankings and should help your conversion rates.
It is a good idea to run a page speed test before making any changes to your site to establish a baseline. When we are analyzing a site we really want to know how much work there is to do before making any changes. There are several good free tools to run page speed tests, here are a few that we use:
All three of these test give you a raw page speed and ways to improve performance.
Simple Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Choose a good host
Your Web hosting company and hosting package have a huge impact on the speed of your website, among many other important performance-related things. Although there are many inexpensive host providers out there, the difference between and inexpensive shared hosting solution and a good host provider that specializes in WordPress can be dramatic. We’ve recently moved all the sites we manage to a host with solid state drives and quick zeon processors. On average we are seeing and average improvement of 20 to 25 % speed increases just based on the host.
Choose a Good Theme
Not all WordPress themes are created equal. Many of the themes that come with all the bells and whistle to make your site visually appealing are bloated with extras you don’t need. Others are are extremely fast and well coded. Before you choose a theme, run the demo theme through one of the page speed tests to see how well they perform.
Images make a huge difference on how your site looks and feels. They also make a big difference on how fast your site loads. If you run gtmetrix you will probably see 2 different ways to speed up images. The first is to specify image dimensions. This is just specifying a width and height for all images allows for faster rendering by eliminating the need for unnecessary reflows and repaints. You don’t want to make your site work harder by delivering an image that’s larger than it needs to be. The second is to optimize images. We see this all over the place. Although the images you create in programs like Photoshop and Illustrator look amazing but often the file sizes are very large. Also all those great pictures you take and add to your site look great but are big – they should be compressed.
We compress images using WP Smush Pro. This plugin will optimize all the images that are already on your site and optimize the new ones as you add them. If you don’t want to add another plugin to your site you can use JPEG mini. JPEG mini is a free program that will compress your files on your computer before you upload them. It’s more work than using a plugin, but does a great job. You can read more about optimizing images here.
Use a Caching Plugin
It’s important to have a good core foundation to speed up your WordPress site. If you just do these simple fixes you should dramatically speed it up before starting to worry about code fixes.