Essential Optimizations Tips to Speed Up Your WordPress Site

In addition to security, your site speed is crucial to your online business success. Site load time is a dominant component of user experience and influences search engine rewards (especially SEO). A one-second delay in site speed results in seven percent loss in conversions; it follows that a seven-second delay would slash your conversions by half!

There are many factors that can affect a site’s loading times. Rather than guessing what you should do to optimize your site’s speed, it is best to make use of PageSpeed Insights by Google to find out what needs to be fixed for your site.

1. Head to the PageSpeed Insights website.

2. In the text box that reads “Enter a web page URL” enter your website. In this case, MakeTechEasier.com.

3. Click the “Analyze” button and watch it load.

4. Once it’s done loading, you’ll see a report page about your website’s performance. This report page tells you what you’ve done right and what’s wrong. Use the report page to implement the recommended changes.

The report page has Mobile and Desktop screen speed reports for your website. Each screen’s report is divided into “Possible Optimizations,” which tells you what optimizations you need to make, and “Optimizations Found,” which tells you what improvements you’ve made.

In the case of Make Tech Easier (MTE), possible optimizations includes:

This list is only for MTE, and according to Google’s standards MTE is fast enough (as the image below suggests). If you run a website with poorer speed optimizations, you’ll come off with more optimization suggestions.

Mind you, PageSpeed Insights are specific to individual pages. This tool is really handy for knowing how fast each of your website’s pages loads instead of generalizing for your entire website.

MTE’s Optimizations Found includes:

Using the optimization suggestions from PageSpeed Insights, we’ll explore how you can improve your WordPress site’s speed.

1. Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content

In a nutshell, PageSpeed recommends improving the speed at which certain CSS renders on the website. The challenge is that PageSpeed gives a rather technical route to implementing its optimization suggestions – you’ll struggle if you’re not a developer. To improve your WordPress site speed without fiddling with codes, use the Autoptimize plugin.

What Autoptimize does is aggregate, minify and cache scripts and styles, injects CSS in the page head by default and move and defer scripts to the footer. It also minifies the HTML code itself, making your page really lightweight.

2. Leverage browser caching

Use WordPress plugins to cache your site’s contents. Caching serves your web content as static HTML files. Some of the popular caching plugins for your WordPress site include WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP-Rocket and WP Fastest Cache.

3. Optimize images

Image optimization has many options. You can optimize images before uploading them and also further improve optimization using plugins.

If you create images using Fireworks or Photoshop, reduce them by using the “Save for Web” option. If you don’t have a graphics program, use other optimizer tools like ImageOptim (works for Mac only), Compressor.io (available on the Web), and TinyPNG (also Web-based).

To automate the optimization process, you can also use image optimization plugins like WP Smush, PixPie, etc.

LazyLoad plugin is another way to improve your site speed. It saves the transfer bandwidth by only loading images on demand (when the user is scrolling down the page).

You might have noticed that just about all optimizations can use a plugin, so you don’t have to tinker with any code. However, some WordPress site speed optimizations go beyond plugins. Two alternative factors that influence site speed are the right host and hosting plan and using content delivery networks (CDN).

Hosts and Hosting Plans

Shared hosting that promises you “Unlimited page views” may sound like a good deal but carries unannounced costs. The site speed will suffer (which hurts your site’s reputation, SEO, and user experience) and then your site would experience lots of down times, too.

Just how much effect does hosting have on site speed? Colocation America says that VPS hosting improved site speed by 62%. According to SEJ, web pages from shared hosting servers took nearly eight seconds to load, while those on VPS hosting took just over two seconds.

If possible, switch to a VPS or other dedicated hosting options, NOT shared hosting. At first glance, cheap hosting appears to save you money, but in fact it kills your business.

Choose a host that uses GZIP compression and deflation; it can reduce your file size by seventy percent – including video, audio, and image files – without degrading the quality of those files or your site. Gzipping alone can significantly raise your site speed. You can find out if your site is Gzipped using a tool from GD Network.

Let a CDN carry the load

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), such as Amazon CloudFront if your site’s traffic is on the rise. A CDN takes all your site’s static records such as pictures, CSS, Javascript, and more, and distributes it across servers in different geographic locations. Your site visitors would benefit from improved site speed as they access your content based on their geographical proximity to the CDN servers.

You can use the CDN Enabler plugin to quickly integrate your favorite CDN services to your WordPress site.

You wouldn’t negotiate or compromise on your site security – treat your WordPress site speed the same. Google openly says it prioritizes websites that prioritize for site speed in their design. It’s not just Search Engines, your site users also prefer fast-moving sites to those that crawl. Start using the tips here soon!