Your website can be gorgeous and have all the bells and whistles, but if it takes too long to load, it’s all for naught.
One of the most important factors for website success is site speed. It’s a Google SEO ranking factor and can often be the cause of lost leads and potential sales.
45.4% of people say they’re less likely to purchase from a slow loading website.
When you’re trying to manage a WordPress site on your own, controlling the loading time on your site pages can be challenging. There are several different factors that can decrease website speed, including:
- Too many plugins
- Poorly written code
- Using a “heavy” theme
- Scripts loading in the wrong order
- Images that are too big
But, if you ignore site speed and just hope for the best, you can find yourself with fewer visitors, sales, and leads, as a result.
Here are several tips and tricks you can use to speed up your site and help it reduce bounce rate and gain more conversions.
Cache Your Content
Using a caching plugin on your site can make your site faster for repeat visitors. What it does is serve up the cached content on subsequent visits, so all the same resources don’t have to be loaded again
This doesn’t impact new visitors but can significantly speed up pages for repeat visitors. Just be sure to clear the cache when making updates so the new content will be served up.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a service that will host your pages on a multi-server delivery network and serve those pages up to visitors. It also uses a caching system, but is helpful for all users (new and returning) because it can reduce the distance that the data has to travel, thus reducing latency.
For example, a visitor coming from Australia, may be served your site from a nearby CDN server in Asia, where a Canadian visitor might be connected from a server in Toronto.
Use Image Lazy Loading
Images can often cause a website to load slowly, but they’re also important to keep sites engaging. You can reduce the impact that images have on load time by using a feature called Lazy Loading.
This can be activated in certain themes, caching plugins, or by code. What it does is defer the loading of an image that might not be visible on the page until a user scrolls down farther. This improves performance by reducing the initial number of bytes that need to be loaded when a user lands on a page.
Use External Rather Than Inline CSS and Scripts
If you use a script to add text styling to your page, this involves CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). This code can be entered directly on the page (inline) or the page can call in an external script that is hosted elsewhere via a URL.
By calling in an external script rather than using inline scripts, you help speed up page load time and reduce the amount of rendering a page has to do before it can load.
Remove Render-Blocking Issues
WordPress sites can have multiple plugins in addition to any other code you’re adding to a page. Inside those plugins is code that is sent to the page to make the plugin work.
If you have too many scripts trying to load before the page can be rendered for the visitor, this is called render-blocking script.
Review the order of how scripts are loading and have less-necessary scripts loading after the page is rendered so they’re not getting in the way of user experience.
Optimize Image Size & Format
Are you loading a downsized 2000×2000 image when you only need one that’s 800×800? That can mean a 1 or 2-megabyte difference in the resources that have to load for a user.
Make sure to optimize your images for a balance of clarity and fast load time. This means using the exact image size you need and using modern image formats like .PNG and WebP.
Make Sure You’re Not Using Redirects
Redirects are when you’re sending people to one URL but then redirecting them to another. This might be done if people want to give a short URL in their marketing but then have the actual page with a longer name for SEO purposes.
This is not a good practice to use for site speed, because those redirects add seconds onto the page load time for visitors.
Minifying is the act of getting rid of extra data in code that is not needed for the code to function. This is done by doing things like using shorter variable and function names in code or removing areas of code that are unused on a page.
There are various resources you can use to minify these site resources to help speed up page load times.
Get Help Managing & Optimizing Your WordPress Website Today!
Data First Solutions offers exert WordPress website management services to Canadian businesses. This includes site speed optimization.
Contact us today to book a free website assessment.
Call 1(855)DATA-1ST or book your assessment online.