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How To Improve Your WordPress Website Speed

The speed of your WordPress website is directly responsible for determining its performance, in terms of attracting visitors and keeping them interested for the longest time. If a website takes ages to load, users are bound to lose interest and move on to another website that offers the same services as yours but is much faster.

Here are tips for you to improve your WordPress Website Speed:

Use Latest Version Of WordPress

What’s valid for the software on your server, also holds true for WordPress. Each version of the CMS comes with new features, bug fixes, and more. They make your website run more efficiently and prevent it from slowing down too much.

Keeping your website up to date is not only speed but also a security issue. With the latest version of WordPress, your themes, and plugins, you also make sure all known vulnerabilities are fixed. Nothing will slow you down more than a compromised website.

Avoid Nulled Theme

While we are talking about themes: they can be a decisive factor in website speed. That’s because some themes out there are just bloated messes. They offer so many features that it slows down your site from sheer weight. Bear in mind – those features all consist of code that needs to be loaded – in many cases this code executes even if you are not using those features!

For that reason, try to find a theme that has just what you need and nothing more. Or better yet, get a lightweight theme and add functionality via plugins. That way you can keep things lean and lightweight. Your loading time will thank you. This does sometimes require rebuilding your site with another theme but luckily this is only something you do once!

Optimize your images

Oversized images are the most common cause of slow WordPress sites. The larger the picture files on your website, the longer your site takes to load.

Optimising your images is therefore a vital step to improve your website speed. Optimising involves resizing and compressing image files so that they can be retrieved and loaded more quickly.

Good image optimisation involves two stages. Firstly, make sure to edit your image before uploading it to your site.

To do this, you’ll need to decide where the image will be used  and what size is needed. You can then use a tool such as Pixlr to crop and save the image in the smallest possible size. Sometimes even changing the file type can reduce size – for example, jpgs are usually smaller than png images.

Secondly, install an image optimisation plugin on your website – we recommend Smush (it’s what we use on the Pedalo site). This not only compresses images further after they are uploaded – thus boosting page speed – but also has various other image optimisation features, including lazy loading.

Perform Regular Database Maintenance

Just like the WordPress core gets bogged over time, so does the database. It’s prone to accumulate temporary disk space and unused data from uninstalled plugins, post revisions, and other culprits.

For that reason, regular database maintenance is crucial for keeping your database lean and usable. There are many tools out there that can help you. Our recommendation is WP-Optimize, which makes the process quite comfortable. WP-Sweep is another option.

Decrease Server Requests

A server request happens every time your browser asks some type of resource from your server. This can be a file like a style sheet, a script, or an image.

The more server requests necessary to complete loading your site, the longer it will take. As a consequence, requests should be as few as possible. Here are a few things you can do to reduce them to a minimum:

  • Lower the number of posts shown on a page.
  • Only show post excerpts, no full posts on your archive pages (find the option under Settings > Reading).
  • Split longer posts into pages – it’s easy
  • If you get a lot of comments, break them up into several pages (Settings > Discussion).
  • Reduce the number of images and other elements on your page.
  • Uninstall unnecessary plugins, especially slower ones.
  • Deactivate plugins you are not using permanently.
  • Enable lazy loading to delay loading images until they are actually visible on the page.
  • Reduce external resources such as fonts if they aren’t necessary.

The already mentioned Pingdom and GTmetrix can show you a detailed list of server requests and how long they need to complete. From there, you can take steps to either eliminate requests or make sure they complete as quickly as possible. That brings us to the next point.

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