Enhance your small business website’s performance with expert WordPress speed optimization tips. Discover strategies to boost loading times, improve user experience, and increase conversion rates through efficient website management.
Your WordPress website is the face of your small business, so it’s important to keep it running quickly and efficiently. While WordPress proudly touts that it powers 43% of the web (from blogs and small business sites to large e-commerce stores and applications), getting your site running at speed and performance optimization is tricky.
If you want to ensure your business’s bottom line isn’t affected by sluggish load times, it’s time to get clued up on WordPress speed optimization. In this article, we are going to look at means and ways to supercharge your business and get ahead of the rest.
How to check your WordPress site’s speed and performance optimization
You can use several tools to measure your WordPress site’s loading speed, including PageSpeed Insights by Google.
1: Navigate to the PageSpeed Insights website.
2: Enter your URL into the blank field and click “Analyze.”
3: The report will display a score of a hundred for desktop and mobile speed and performance optimization.
- First, Contentful Paint refers to how quickly a page begins to load
- Total Blocking Time measures how long it takes for the page to become interactive, including all loaded content.
- Cumulative Layout Shift measures the visual stability of your page, which you want as close to zero as possible.
- Speed Index measures how quickly the main is seen loading on your page.
Step 4: You’ll also be presented with a long list of suggestions on how you can improve speed performance.
Alternatives to Google’s PageSpeed Insights (which comes with the Site Kit plugin or as a standalone site) are isitwp’s free WordPress Speed Tester and GTmetrix’s website speed tester. Google also recommends Catchpoint’s WebPageTest as a reliable and robust speed-testing tool.
Google Chrome Developers provides a comprehensive checklist on how to use Lighthouse to audit your website performance.
Once you’ve identified any issues with your website’s loading speed, there are several methods you can use to reduce page load times and improve user experience.
Some easy ways to boost up your WordPress site in 2023
Choose fast web hosting.
A reliable web host is important for any small to medium-sized business (SMB) website. You need this if you are going to seriously try to supercharge your business. If you’re on a budget, shared hosting is the best option. But if website speed and performance optimization are important, look into VPS or managed WordPress hosting services. Hostinger’s WordPress hosting uses LiteSpeed servers and includes the LiteSpeed Cache WordPress plugin to help your site perform four times faster than regular hosting.
With a low entry-level price point, you can gain access to all the features you need to create and manage a WordPress website without going beyond the basics of web development. Of course, hiring a freelance web developer to do the job for you is another option that can save you both time and energy.
Use a content delivery network (CDN)
Your website’s servers are located in a single geographic location, but your visitors can be anywhere worldwide. The further away your visitor is, the slower your website will load. A CDN is a worldwide server network that stores and serves copies of your website’s content.
This reduces the amount of data that needs to be loaded from the main server location, allowing visitors to access your website faster, no matter where they are. Cloudflare, KeyCDN, and Sucuri are the most popular CDN services.
Use a lightweight, fast-loading theme.
A beautiful website that makes a great first impression is essential. But having a fast-loading theme is also vital if you want your website to perform well. Look for themes built for WordPress site speed optimization, such as Astra, Neve, or OceanWP.
Avoid themes with flashy animations or large images that could slow your page load times. While you’re at it, select a theme that is optimized for mobile devices and cross-browser compatibility. A freelance web developer can help you install your theme so it’s configured correctly for best performance. Finding a trusted web developer is important to ensure your website is built with your vision and maintained as you grow.
Optimize your website design.
If you wish to really supercharge things then you are going to need to have a great and optimized design for your website. Once you’ve chosen your theme, you’ll need to optimize the design of your website. This includes reducing the number of plugins and third-party scripts, such as widgets, your website runs on each page. Your homepage is especially important. Please keep it clean and easy to load.
Luckily, minimalist designs are currently trending, which can help improve your website’s speed and performance optimization. Using Google Fonts is advised, but remember to pre-load and store them locally to minimize latency and overall loading time. This means the browser won’t need to fetch files from an external server whenever it loads your page. Outsourcing your design to a freelance web design specialist can ensure you get great site speed and performance optimization.
Compress your images
High-quality visuals are a must for any modern website, but they can reduce the loading speed and performance optimization of your site significantly if you don’t compress them properly. Look into tools like Kraken.io or Compressor to reduce image sizes while maintaining quality.
It would be best if you also optimized image file formats. For example, SVG vector files are much smaller for logos and illustrations than JPGs or PNGs. However, PNGs are usually the better option if you’re using photographs, as they can be compressed further with fewer image quality issues.
Avoid page redirects
Redirects are sometimes necessary if you’re migrating your website from one domain to another or want to direct users from an old link to a newer one. But they should always be avoided where possible, as they can significantly slow down your website’s loading speed. If you must use a redirect, ensure it is an HTTP 301 permanent redirect. This will tell search engines to replace the old URL with the new one in their index.
Update your PHP version.
PHP is the programming language WordPress is built on. Outdated versions of PHP can slow down your website, so make sure you’re running the latest release. You can check which version of PHP your site is running using the Version Info plugin.
PHP 7 is the recent version of PHP and is recommended for WordPress loading speed and performance optimization. If you need help updating your PHP version, a freelance speed optimization expert can guide you through the complete process to ensure everything runs smoothly. They can also see that you’re running the latest WordPress version, which is important for optimal website performance.
Perform a plugin cleanup.
an increased quantity of plugins can slow down your website and cause compatibility issues if they need to be properly maintained. Go through your plugins list and delete any you no longer need. Then keep the ones you have up to date, as out-of-date plugins can also slow down your site speed.
WPCode reduces bloat (the amount of unnecessary code to display a page) by replacing plugins with code snippets. It can help to improve page loading speed by reducing the number of scripts your site needs to load. A website maintenance expert can assist with the plugin cleanup process if you need help figuring out where to start.
Embed videos instead of hosting them
If you have videos on your website, it’s best to embed them rather than host them. This means that the video is actually hosted on another platform, such as YouTube or Vimeo, and you’re just linking to the video rather than hosting it on your servers. This will help with WordPress site speed and performance optimization, as the video files won’t take up storage space on your server and will help improve page loading time.
Perform background processes during low-traffic times.
Many WordPress websites use background processes like sending emails or running automated backups. These activities can slow down your site speed if they’re performed during peak traffic times. To minimize the impact of these background processes, try scheduling them to run during low-traffic hours.