There is nothing worse than writing lots of great content for your blog, only to find that hardly anyone is reading it. But did you ever consider that the speed of your WordPress site may be a big reason for that?
A website or blog that takes a long time to load can be costly when it comes to getting traffic to your site. So in this post, I’m going to share 11 easy ways that you can improve the speed of your WordPress website by yourself.
Before you get started you’ll need to test the speed of your site using Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. Both will tell you the loading time of your site and give you a list of specific, technical things you can do to improve it.
Generally, most of them will relate to one of the four areas that I talk about, which I’ve broken down into 11 easy to understand and implement steps.
Make Sure You’re Running the Latest Operating Systems
1. Make sure you are operating the latest version of PHP. I contacted my host provider who helpfully did this for me. It was very quick for them to do without any disruption to my site.
2. Make sure you are operating the latest version of WordPress. Always keep your site up to date with the latest release.
3. Likewise, make sure you are always operating the latest version of your theme on your site.
Get the Most From Your Plugins
4. Delete any plugins that you are not actively using. Not only does this reduce your vulnerability to hacks, but it can improve the speed of your site as you free up space from. You can check out my list of must have WordPress plugins if you need some help figuring out which ones you should definitely have.
5. Install a caching plugin to improve the time it takes your site to reload each time. Caching stops your WordPress site from having to repeat the same steps every time it wants to run the same process. Instead, it recalls a copy of a page the previous time it loaded it rather than recreating it all over again which makes the loading time quicker.
6. Activate lazy loading so that your site only loads the items on the page as the user scrolls through it, rather than trying to load everything all at once regardless of whether they are going to need it or not.
If you have the Smush plugin which I personally use and absolutely recommend, it is as simple as activating the lazy load option in the plugin. Otherwise, you can download plugins like Lazy Load to do just this.
Don’t Let Large Photos Take All Your Space
7. Reduce the size of your photos with a plugin like Smush. I used their free plugin which is excellent for about a year before upgrading to their Pro version which does so much more. There are lots of other plugins which you can use to compress photos but Smush is the best one I’ve found. Either way, its good practice to regularly compress photos on your site so that they aren’t taking up more space than they need to.
8. It also helps if you can save and download photos in a JPEG rather than PNG. JPEG is considerably smaller in file size than PNG so always save in this format unless you need a transparent photo or image, which is what you get when you save in PNG.
Optimise Your WordPress Layout
9. Compress the text on your blog. Get some help from your host provider if they offer this support, or download a plugin that can do this for you.
10. Limit the number of blog posts you have on your home page. The difference between having five posts on your home page versus ten can make a massive difference to how long it takes to load.
11. Similarly, including excerpts for posts rather than the full post will also help to reduce the amount of time it takes to load your homepage each time.
These are the exact 11 steps I’ve followed myself to improve the speed of my blog and saw the loading time double within a matter of days. So if you need to improve the speed of your WordPress give some or all of these a go!
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