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We’ve all experienced the frustration of a slow loading website. While ten years ago, you would just have to grin and bear it as a site loaded with all the urgency of a sloth, today’s Internet surfers are much more impatient. Most expect at least a three second load time, while some won’t settle for less than two. So how can you create a faster WordPress website so that millennial users don’t click away? Here are some ideas to get you started.
The Internet is constantly evolving. And if you want to keep up with it, you need to keep your site and plugins up-to-date. While you may already know that updating WordPress and plugins will keep your website secure, you may not know that doing this also increases your site’s speed. So if you want a fast site, install those updates as soon as they become available.
Your host can make or break your website. A key reason for this is that website speed and uptime varies widely between them. So before you select your host, do some research on the various options out there.
Also, while your first impulse may be to choose shared hosting because of its low cost, be aware that it’s also going to be your slowest option in terms of speed because many websites are all relying on the same server for bandwidth. For many SMBs, however, using a dedicated server is simply not an option because it’s expensive. An alternative in the middle price and performance range is a Virtual Private Server (VPS). This acts like a dedicated server in terms of functionality, but still technically uses a shared server. Regardless, using a VPS will give you a boost in speed over typical shared hosting.
The leaner your site is, the faster its speed will be. So to create a lean site, be mindful of these four aspects:
Yes, we just mentioned that you should get rid of plugins to speed up your site, but some specific plugins can actually have the opposite effect. A cache plugin, like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are two that can provide more speed. Another plugin that can help is Lazy Load. It speeds up your site by loading the elements at the top of the website first, where viewers are looking when they first visit your site. Before installing the Lazy Load plugin, check your Theme Options to see if you already have it.
If a page on your site needs to be redirected to another page, it can really slow down your site. So use 301 redirects as little as possible. And to ensure you aren’t using any without knowing it, use Redirect mapper or other tools that can help you find redirects you don’t need.
Implement some or all of the speed tips above and you’re sure to see a noticeable difference in the speed of your site. If you’d like more tips to optimize your website or need help with any of your web or IT needs, we are just a phone call away.
Published on 27th February 2016 by Jeanne DeWitt.