Easy Steps to speed up your website
As proved by 43% of all websites on the internet, the WordPress CMS is an amazing framework to build upon when creating any site.
Not only is it simple to use and update, WordPress has a huge community of developers around it, consistently creating new plugins for use in the CMS. The base framework of WordPress itself is so popular, it is estimated to be used by over 810 million websites worldwide!
It’s so simple to use WordPress to add fresh content, plugins and imagery that sites can easily get slowed down by the shear workload imposed on them by images, plugins, videos and general content. This can create a big issue as modern site visitors expect a site to load its content in under three seconds! Any longer, and they will start leaving in droves.
Fortunately, there are five simple actions that you (or your web developer) can put into place to ensure that your site speed is up there with the best.
#1 Optimise all Images
All website owners and operators need to ensure that images have been optimised before they are uploaded to a website. This means that PNG files should be run through an optimizer like TinyPNG to reduce them and JPG images files must be reduced to at most 80% quality.
The new web standard for images is the WEBP format, which reduces images at a much higher level than PNG or JPG without sacrificing too much in the way of image quality. Most photo editors support WEBP and it should be used in preference to older image formats to ensure higher loading speeds.
#2 Minimise Website Code
Most websites are made of complex programming code, generating everything that you can see on the browser screen. This code is not usually contained in one single file, meaning that your site is “pulling” information from several places as it loads, slowly down the load time.
#3 Reduce call-outs to external sites
Whilst grabbing web fonts from Google and displaying Social Media on your site may be appealing and give you loads of instant content, they are responsible for a majority of site drag. When accessing information from external sites, your poor website not only has to load itself but it also needs to load content from these other sites.
To prevent this, use common fonts or fonts that can be stored on your own server and minimise your Social Media display – at least on the home page.
#4 Optimise your site’s database
Over time, site updates and usage takes a toll on the database which stores all the information for your site. Keep this data inline and optimised with the WP-Optimize plugin – it will automatically tidy the stored information on a set schedule and keep the background of your site neat and tidy for quick access.
#5 Use Online Tools to determine blockages
If you have tried all the tips above and still need to squeeze out a few seconds of load time, head over to GTMetrix and type in your website address. This online tool analyses your site speed using Google PageSpeed and provides a concise list of how your site is performing and where improvements can be made. Some areas may be too technical and need the assistance of a web developer however quite a few can be “fixed” by a novice user with a few spare minutes.
It’s important to note that not only is site speed essential to your visitors, it’s also important to your Google ranking too. Page speed is an important part of the Google Algorithm – slow loading sites will be penalised with low ranking in search results.
Need help getting your site “Up to Speed”? Tropical Coast Web Design are specialists in developing WordPress sites and we can tweak your small business site until it is purring like a kitten. Get in touch with us and we’ll check it out on GTMetrix for you (free-of-charge) and we’ll let you know exactly what we can do to help!