Your website speed has a huge impact on the overall user experience, the SEO, as well as your website’s conversion rate. Improving the performance of your site bears a crucial significance to user retention. Here are a few simple ways you can improve your website speed.
Finding good, reliable hosting is the cornerstone of proper content, file and script loading required to run a WordPress theme. Shared hosting which divides allocated hosting provider server resources to multiple users can make your site load more slowly, so choosing a trustworthy hosting plan which can support more complex themes is crucial.
Opting for local servers which are located in your country is another option that can help your site load much faster.
Envato recommends several hosting providers which specialize in WordPress, and you can check these out by following this → link.
Website speed tests rate the performance of your website. By regularly testing a website, programmers can get a clearer picture on a website’s improvement or deterioration in the performance department. The speed test can also help website administrators to more easily identify the areas which affect the website performance negatively, and the areas that have the potential for improvement.
There are plenty of reliable speed tests for measuring performance, and many of these are free to use. GTmetrix offers free tests, and also it renders detailed analysis reports on how fast the individual page elements actually load.
GTmetrix assesses whether you need to optimize the images, minify the CSS or JS files, reduce the number of HTTP requests, and it also covers many other aspects. We will show some of them, however keep in mind that in order to implement some of these, you are required to have some programming experience.
Google also offers PageSpeed Insights for detailed performance testing, though some people from the programming community say that this tool is not as accurate when it comes to analyzing and assessing website performance.
－ Optimizing Your Images
The images take up a significant part of the internet traffic and in most cases they take the most amount of time to load on websites – this is due to fact that the image files are usually larger than HTML and CSS files. Luckily, the image load time can be reduced by optimizing the image.
Image optimization usually involves reducing the image resolution, compressing the files and sizing down their dimensions. There are many free tools available online you could use for image optimization. One we found useful is JPEG mini
Minifying is a process that involves removing any bits that the computer doesn’t require to understand and execute a particular piece of code – this includes code comments, empty spaces and unnecessary semicolons.
This reduces the CSS and JS file size, so they can be loaded faster. Although minifying usually brings only slight improvements in speed, this is still an important step which along with other tips on how to speed up your site results in better overall performance.
－ GZIP Compression
Enable the gzip compression on your server by adding this code to your .htaccess file, which is located in the ROOT directory of your theme:
mod_gzip_on Yes mod_gzip_dechunk Yes
mod_gzip_item_include file .(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$
mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*
You can learn more about the gzip compression → here.
－ Leverage Browser Caching
This can also prove to be useful – you can learn more about leverage browser caching → here.
－ CDN – Content Delivery Network
CDNs increase the website speed by caching the content to multiple locations across the world. The CDN caching servers are usually located physically closer to the end user than the hosting/server is. The content requests are transferred to the CDN server instead of the hosting server. By using CDN, you can reduce the page load time significantly.
Updating the PHP Version
Website speed can also be affected by several seemingly minor factors, like updating your WordPress theme, updating the plugins as well as the PHP version on your server. This is why it’s important to always use the latest WordPress version, and the latest theme and plugin versions available – this will also prevent any potential security threats.
The process of automatically transferring visitors from one web page to another is called redirecting. Redirecting ads a few fragments of a second to the page load time, and when it comes to optimizing your website, every second counts. Redirecting is sometimes unavoidable, but you should steer clear of it unless of course it is necessary.
Deactivating Unused Plugins
If you happen to still have a left over plugin or two which you planned on using, but ended up going with another one, or you simply did not find the plugin useful after you installed it, you should deactivate and/or delete the said plugin. This way you will free up a small portion of server resources, which will have a positive effect on your website’s performance.