If your WordPress website is not running at lightning speed, unfortunately, this will significantly impact your customer conversion rates and Google rankings.
A two to three-second download would seem adequate for most people, but this is no longer the case. Start thinking one to two seconds.
So, let’s take a look at ways to start improving your websites speed. Some of these are quick fixes, and others will need a web development agency. In any case, the sooner you get onto this, the faster you’ll start to see improved site visitors, fewer bounce rates and higher Google rankings.
1. Keep all your WordPress Plugins updated
You can get lazy and forget about updating old plugins that will slow your website. As soon as these plugins become outdated, they start to affect all facets of your site. For example, think about the security of your website. If the plugin is obsolete, this can compromise your entire site’s security, making it easy for hackers and viruses to play havoc.
For this, you will need an agency to get into the back end of your content management system and update all the plugins. They’ll do this fairly quickly so I would say that this is a speedy fix.
2. Make sure all images are fully optimised
Having all images optimised is probably one of the essential factors for page speed. Reason being, large photos can drag page load times down drastically. Video being the worst culprit. If you remember old printers and the way they used to print a pixel line at a time. The same goes for picture load times. They used to be super-slow, and you’d have to wait in some cases 20 or even 30 seconds for them to load fully. People were accepting of this, but you can forget about it nowadays. Images have to load in less than half a second if not quicker. One large image can ruin the entire site’s web experience, so take a look and see for yourself if some photos are slow to load if you have a gallery or portfolio of images.
A quick fix for this is to compress images, so they require less storage. Thre are WordPress plugins that can do this, such as Smush.it or EWWW Image Optimizer. If this is out of your comfort zone, get a web agency to handle this for you.
3. Try to avoid large pages of content
Try to avoid long content pages. Lengthy content pages will slow down your websites load times. Having images in the content will also further exacerbate load times. Plus, it makes it a challenging read for users who want to skim through the copy to find relevant sections. A way around this is to break the document up into paragraphs with clear subheadings.
Once you have reached 1500-2000 words, you will need to create a new page. Try to encourage your users to click on the next page to explore more of the article and keep them on your website. The more they delve into your site and the longer they stay there, the better this is for your SEO rankings. Remember, if you want customers to remain on the website, it has to provide a great customer experience. So, make it a super-easy quick read.
4. Don’t host videos on your site
If you want to show videos on your site, the best way to do this is to host them through a third party like YouTube or Vimeo. Try not to put them on your server as this will slow download times. All you need to do is create a YouTube account and upload your videos there. When you want to put the video on your website, copy and paste the link. WordPress makes this super-easy to do. Hosting videos on your website in a native fashion will slow things down, especially if you have many videos to showcase like real estate agents, health professionals and government agencies.
5. Lazy loading is a good idea
Do you sometimes see pages that load with text first then the images follow? Lazy loading pages are an effective weapon in your tool chest to make sure your site loads faster. A great idea as the reader gets to read the text first while images slowly load. Even though the pictures and other heavy load page elements are still there, the user gets to see some of the web pages without waiting for everything to download. To work effectively, you will need a competent web agency that knows how to do this or has a thorough WordPress knowledge.
6. Delete old blogs
You may have inadvertently written blogs years ago with rich video content and large pictures that you; ‘ve forgotten about Well, guess what? Google and your users can still access this outdated blog content. The best remedy for this is to either rewrite them or delete them. If they are old and obsolete, this is a good idea as Google will reward more current sites. Pruning old blogs or refining old copy will give your site a more polished look. Plus you will make it much faster.
7. Use a high-speed hosting service provider
Your website needs to be hosted somewhere in the cloud, and a significant factor determining your websites speed is your hosting provider. The hosting ahs all your WordPress website pages and files and needs to be fast, reliable and preferably local-based somewhere in Australia. If your hosting is slow and continuously going down, then this is a huge sign that it’s time to change. Slow-loading websites are often a direct result of cheap hosting providers.
If you have an extensive eCommerce website that’s chewing up a lot of data or a site that receives significant amounts of web traffic, then look at upgrading your internet hosting.
8. Configure Multi-Level Security
Hackers can be very creative and are always out there looking for ways to get into your site. They can gain access to your site on many levels: the server, the cloud and through your WordPress Content Management system. One thing they can do is ( and this has happened to a few clients we know that we’re not using our hosting service) is to drive lots of fake traffic ( and we are talking thousands of hits within minutes) which can cause a site to crash and infect your hosting environment.
Now you may ask what this has to do with site speed and the answer is simple; reducing any spam or malicious activity on your server allows it more processing power to keep your site ticking over quickly. Plus when a website is down for an extended period by hacking, it will send a signal to Google who may perceive your site as untrustworthy, affecting Google rankings. A huge NO NO!!
9. Avoid long comments sections
Have you ever been on YouTube or other websites with a vast comments section that takes ages to load? Well, there rules regarding comments sections that will help with WordPress website load times. All you have to do is paginate these 1000’s of comments and break them up into pages. The last thing you want is to slow your page load times because it takes time to load comments. Also, look at trimming or pruning comments that seem spammy as these bastardise the comments area’s intention.
10. Update to the latest PHP
You have to be regularly updating the security of your website and the latest plugins and your server. You must be on top of all PHP updates on your server to ensure that it runs at an optimum speed. If you are running your website with the latest PHP version, it will run faster. Simple as that. If you’re like most small businesses who don’t have a server, then speak to your hosting company to see if they have the latest PHP version running.
11. Update your WordPress constantly
Lastly, you have to update your WordPress website all the time. This task may seem like a hassle, but it’s necessary for so many reasons. WordPress is always changing its versions with new updates, so to give your site the best chance of being as speedy as possible, updates are essential. For best page loa speed times you must always have the latest version, and the good news is; they will let you know when a new version is available.
Contact us today to see how we can make your website function to its best potential. If you think it’s loading to slow, we can help fix this issue.
This article was written by Steven ( one of the marketing team at Hopping Mad Designs ). He has been helping small to medium-sized businesses with their website performance and Google rankings.
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