How to Make your WordPress Website Faster
By: Daniel Jeffers, Elizabeth Navas - 2017
The leading cause of website failing to connect to audiences is slow loading. In a modern day visitors do not have time to wait five seconds or more for website to load. Not when there are thousands of websites that may have similar information or similar services. According to Akamai Study 40% of online shoppers will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Slow loading websites also incur a penalty in the ranking algorithms of major search engines. Compared to another website with exactly the same content, the slow loading website will not be shown to as many users. Google considers a website that provides a poor user experience to be problematic even if the content is optimized.
Why WordPress websites may be slow
WordPress is an excellent content management system and used properly can be plenty fast enough for the modern web. Many WP sites are slow and bulky for several reasons:
All content management systems are inherently a little slower than static HTML websites because the content has to be created and offered to the user each time. A CMS creates the page you see at the time you visit. It pulls the content from the database and uses the styling and structural information in the CMS to build the page. An HTML page however, is coded in advance and delivered exactly the way it was coded.
WordPress uses themes many of which are created by users or professional developers who may not have experience in optimizing the speed. In addition the themes are normally a complete package that includes more features or elements that are not necessary for the particular site.
Another wordpress feature that can create speed problems is the proliferation of plugins. Some of these may cause conflicts and slow the website down. Some claim that there is a problem with using too many plugins, in fact there is no specific number that is bad, the problem is using the wrong ones, not maintaining them, and not eliminating plugins that are no longer necessary.
There is an upper limit to how well images render on the web. But many people are creating and distributing images with digital cameras that produce large file sizes. This images take a long time to load and render properly and can slow the whole website down. WordPress has great multimedia tools that invite people to use many high quality images without regard to optimizing or compressing them.
How to make a WordPress website faster
One of the common techniques for speeding up wordpress site is to use a content delivery network, or CDN. Typical content delivery network cache the files at server locations all over the world eliminating some of the distance between the host and the website visitors.
Caching tools allow the server to preload important files so they can be served directly to the visitors. Common wordpress plugins that perform this function include WPSuperCache and W3Cache.
Images can be greatly compressed without losing any resolution that can be seen on the web, plugins can compress the images as they are being loaded and go through existing images in the directory and compress them as well.
If there are many images on website, it makes more sense to delay loading those that are not being displayed right away and only load them as the user scrolls down to that portion of the website. This technique is sometimes called lazy loading.
Where to get WordPress help
Our experience in optimizing WordPress websites for speed has shown dramatic improvement in loading times and resulting gains in Search Engine Optimization and positive user experience. We would be happy to work on your website as well if you are looking for improvement.