4 tips to speed up WordPress websites
Studies show that from 2000 to 2016, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds.
What does this mean for you as a website owner?
You have an ever-decreasing time span to show users you’re trustable, your content is relevant and to convince them to stay on your website.
As a digital content agency, we make a lot of websites. We work on multiple platforms but for many reasons, WordPress seems to be the most popular.
More and more frequently we’re opting to use a front end editor so that our clients can easily go in and manage their own changes. There’s a bunch of solid editors but one stands out for users with little no web design experience: Elementor.
Elementor is one of the most advanced page builders on the market. With regular updates, reliable drag & drop features, with a bunch of handy content creation shortcuts built in right out of the box, both the free and paid products are fantastic.
However it can have one drawback, its templates are so visually rich and dynamic they can sometimes be dangerously slow.
Fast loading pages improve user experience, increase your page views, and help with your SEO. A poor site load will push you down the ranks in Google and risk losing customers before they’ve even reached your website. According to a case study from Strangeloop that involved Amazon, Google, and other larger sites, a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
Test your website’s speed using Google’s Page Speed indexer.
How to improve your website’s speed?
First things first. Choosing the best host for your website is crucial. There are as many strong options as there are weak. Doing your research here is super important. We recommend Crucial. They provide 99.9% uptime, 24×7 Support and even offset carbon emissions through The Nature Conservancy. That’s why we trust Crucial with our web hosting.
Choose a lightweight theme
WordPress themes with a lot of dynamic elements, sliders, widgets, social icons and many more shiny elements are immensely appealing to the eye. But remember this: if they have too many elements and higher page sizes, then they will definitely cause your web server to take a thumping. A good theme shouldn’t slow down a site, but unfortunately a lot of themes do. A well-coded theme uses scripts and methods to reduce its file sizes. Switching between themes and seeing the effect might give you a good indicator if the theme is the culprit. Luckily Elementor have produced a theme that’s fast and versatile, called Hello Elementor. It’s one of the fasted around and provides a solid base on which to build.
Don’t just take our word for it. Kinsta has done the hard research for you on their blog here: 11 Fastest WordPress Themes
Optimise your imagery
Images are the major contributors to size increment of a given webpage. The trick is to reduce the size of the images without compromising on the quality.
Before you upload a photo directly from your phone or camera, we recommend that you use photo editing software to optimise your images for the web.
In their original formats, these photos can have huge file sizes. But based on the image file format and the compression you choose in your editing software, you can decrease your image size by up to 5x. Luckily, if you don’t have access to these tools, WordPress provides multiple optimisers for imagery and speed:
Host videos & Podcasts elsewhere
WordPress is pretty flexible. You can directly upload huge audio and video files to your WordPress site, and it will automatically display them in an HTML5 player…
But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. In fact, we strongly recommend you DON’T do that!
Firstly, hosting these types of audio and videos files cost you bandwidth. You could be charged overage fees by your web hosting company, or they may even shut down your site altogether, even if your plan includes “unlimited” bandwidth.
More importantly, the drag on server calls will dramatically slow your website down as it churns through the weight of your files in order to play it. Dramatically slowing your website down.
Lastly, these large media files will also increase your backup sizes tremendously, and make it difficult for you to restore WordPress from backup.
There are so many fantastic audio and video hosting services like YouTube, Vimeo, and SoundCloud. Let these guys take care of the weight off.
WordPress has a built-in video embed feature, so you can copy and paste your video’s URL directly into your post and it will embed automatically.
If you are making a podcast website with WordPress, then your podcast manager will have a share function so can drop it right in. Like this completely unrelated podcast from Guy Raz below.
On most good podcasts, you’ll see an embed option nearly everywhere you’re able to play audio. The option will say “embed” or show a “<>” icon (the Web’s universal embed symbol).
Clean up your database
Deleting unwanted data from your database will keep its size to a minimum and also helps in reducing the size of your backups. To this end a regular clean up of your spam comments, fake users, old drafts of your content and maybe even unwanted plugins as well as themes will help speed up your website. Every little extra thing can cause drag, so keeping a clean site will reduce the size of your databases and web files, and thus speed up your WordPress site.
Chose an epic web design agency like us : )
There are so many tools, websites and resources designed to help you improve your website’s speed but if it all feels a little overwhelming, we’re here for you.
With over 10yrs experience creating websites for our clients large and small, we can get you running in no time. Shine online with a brand new website from Marzipan Media today.
Contact us today to find out more.