According to studies conducted from 2000 to 2016, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds. So what does this mean for blog and website owners?
It means that you only have a few seconds to attract the site visitors to your content. And if your website is slow, then the visitors may even leave before this time lapses.
Image via Digital Information World
Many website owners are nowadays looking for ways of speeding their sites. And more than 37% of the websites are powered by WordPress.
WordPress comes with dozens of themes, plugins, and other features that site owners can use to customize their site. But for the typical user, your website can start becoming slower over time.
And since speed is important for the success of your business, you should optimize your site to improve its performance.
Why You Should Speed Up Your Website
The speed factor affects many components of your website. For instance, if the admin panel is slow, it will affect your time and work efficiency during site management. It will also make it harder to handle your dashboard.
Most visitors are also turned off by slow websites, and if your site pages do not load fast, they’ll go away. And their chances of coming back are zero to nil.
According to a study by Akamai in 2009, 50% of sites’ visitors expect them to load in two or fewer seconds. If the site or page takes more than four seconds to load, then the majority of them will try another site.
The Best Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Website
Let’s run down some actionable ways you can speed up your WordPress site today.
1. Consider Your Hosting Package Dedicated to WordPress
Before you try any of the solutions below to improve the speed of your WordPress site, consult your managed hosting provider to find whether their product is compatible with WordPress or not. You should definitely be opting for a higher tier hosting solution if you’re getting traffic. If you’re using cloud hosting that’s a bit cheaper, consider a more resource-rich plan, or choose an alternative like WordPress hosting.
2. Install an Effective Caching Plugin
Many website owners prefer using a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache to improve the speed of their blog. A caching plugin keeps some of your site’s files on a visitor’s browser. When they enter your site again, the load speed will be much faster, as some files are already present in the browser and don’t need to be downloaded.
Therefore, the site won’t have to generate different views for every user, thereby making it slower. The data include images, fonts, JS, HTML, flash files, and CSS code.
One of the best cache plugins is Breeze that enhances your site experience by reducing the time for downloads and enables your site visitors to enjoy your features with only one-click.
But consult your hosting provider first on whether they have a preferred caching plugin for their users.
3. Choose a Sufficiently Fast Web Hosting
When a user lands on your site, their browser sends requests to the web server to provide the page display. And the time the server takes to respond will determine the time the users have to wait.
Therefore, even if your site is highly efficient, but the server is slow, then the site visitors’ requests will be handled very slowly.
Therefore, select the type of host that’ll give you the amount of speed you desire. There are three types of hosting: dedicated, shared, and specialized hosting. Shared hosting is ideal for smaller sites that don’t have huge traffic, while those e-commerce businesses with loads of traffic should buy dedicated or specialized hosting for their websites.
4. Use a Lightweight, Flexible Theme
The WordPress theme you use in your site affects the load time of your pages. Since themes are not modifiable, you should pick a theme that doesn’t slow down the speed and efficiency of your site.
Generally, it would be best if you went for a lightweight theme with a few features based on your needs. It’s best to go for fast themes to ensure your website maintains its speed and reliability.
5. Use Plugins Wisely
One of the reasons the WordPress website builder has been growing in popularity is due to its active developer community that develops and maintains functional plugins. Plugins increase the functionality of your WordPress site. But when selecting a plugin, you should only use those that you need for your site to remain functional.
Each plugin is an extra load to your website, and if you’re not using the plugin in your site, then remove it. Always check your plugins and remove or deactivate the unnecessary ones. Also, check if they are conflicting with each other or affect the theme in any way. There are many tools you can use to check to manage the plugins installed in your WordPress Site.
6. Optimize Images
Images are one of the essential components of each site as they make the content more attractive and enable the readers to understand the information. However, if they take a long time to load, then they may not be optimized. But before optimizing your website, there are some factors to consider to ensure the images retain their quality and dimensions.
First, check the image dimensions of your theme since each theme supports unique image dimensions. Crop your images and reduce the file size. I would recommend using JPEG images as the PNG formats usually come in large sizes. Besides, there are other services such as TinyPNG you can utilize to optimize the images.
There are also WordPress tools such as the WP-Smush plugin that are handy when optimizing the images. You can use this tool when you are uploading the theme to your site.
7. Split Long Posts
If you usually upload very long articles to your website, then I’ll suggest this tip for you. Also, if you typically post more than 150 products or tools and you have images for each product, then note that it will take longer to load them once users or visitors navigate your site. But if you split them into different pages, then you will reduce the loading time.
Speeding up your WordPress site should be on top of your priorities since it will determine the success of your online business. Luckily, there are many ways you can optimize your WordPress site. Besides, faster websites rank higher in Google as the loading time will ensure it remains in a good position in search results.