Ever since its inception in 2003, WordPress has made great strides and currently powers more than 74 million websites including CNN, Mashable, New York Times, and Samsung, to name just a few.
As a website owner, your foremost objective is to boost the speed of your website in order to drive traffic. In order to do that, it is important for you to enhance your website’s loading speed. One study revealed that 1 in 4 people would leave a website if it loads more than 4 seconds.
For this reason, you need to make sure that your WordPress-based blog is up to speed and optimized for search engine optimization (SEO). Here are 7 strategies that you can do to boost the loading speed of your website.
1. Select A Good Hosting Company
The choice of hosting provider plays a huge factor in improving the speed of your website. The problem with some hosting providers is that they load up one server with so many websites that it compromises the speed of those sites in the server. As much as possible, avoid shared hosting packages.
Choosing a hosting provider with excellent customer service such as Concourse Hosting, unlimited customization opportunities, and enhanced products and services can contribute to the success of your website. More importantly, choose a hosting package that is designed for WordPress.
2. Use SEO-Friendly Themes and Plugins
One advantage of WordPress is that it is packed with a wide range of built-in features designed for SEO. It also utilizes relatively clean coding that can help reduce page load speed.
While there may be no evidence that supports the theory that site speed can affect SEO and that Google puts a premium on site speed, page loading time will eventually become a huge ranking factor.
When choosing SEO-friendly themes and plugins, follow these tips in picking the right WordPress themes and plugins:
- Responsive Design. Using responsive design can help enhance site speed and also makes your website mobile-friendly. There are themes and plugins that use non-responsive code, which can hurt SEO. Therefore, choose plugins that follow responsive design.
- Micro-Data Support. Another important consideration in choosing SEO friendly themes and plug-ins is micro-data support. This is important in allowing search engines to refine their search results and deliver a more targeted and relevant search experience. Plugins that support Schema eliminates the need for any manual coding.
- Plugin Compatibility. Some themes are not compatible with other plugins. They can affect your sitemaps, robots.txt files, .htaccess files, and can also create duplicate page elements that violate SEO best practices.
3. Use CSS Sprites
Rather than saving all of your images individually in your web server – which can affect the speed of your WordPress-powered website – you can put them all in one place. This is where a sprite can come in handy.
In a nutshell, sprite is an image that contains all your site’s images. Using CSS, you can hide everything with the exception of one image by specifying a set of coordinates.
4. Optimize Your Database
WordPress has a default setting that adds a lot of unwanted information, which could increase the size of your database. It retains spam comments, post revisions, trash items, and deactivated plugins. As you continuously add posts, your database will continue to grow larger, which could eventually slow down the load speed of your website and affect visitor traffic in the long run.
It is recommended to optimize your database in order to enhance the speed of your website. Manually doing so can be boring and tedious.
Fortunately, there are plugins that you can install in order to automate the optimization process. These plugins will optimize the entire database, such as tables, drafts, post revisions, spam messages, and others.
5. Optimize Your Images
If your WordPress website relies heavily on content, then it is important to have images on your website. Adding visual graphics and infographics can boost website traffic. Unfortunately, adding images is not the end activity as you still have to properly optimize them for search engines.
In relation to this, you need to resize and compress images to speed up your website. Some site owners like to upload supersized images to their websites, not knowing that it can slow down the loading of images. Before they realize it, site visitors have already left not wanting to wait for the pictures to load.
The good news is that WordPress allows you to adjust the size of your images after uploading them at full size. The downside of this is that it makes web browsers execute several commands. It first uploads the initial images and then resizing them on-the-fly which can make page loading on your website relatively slow.
The best remedy for this problem is to use an image editing program to make adjustments to the images to the appropriate size before adding them to your website.
6. Keep your website scripts updated
Depending on the CMS or e-commerce platform, you may need to constantly update your website. However, make sure to back up your current files before doing an update. Updating your scripts can help speed up your website.
7. Make Use of CDN
Content delivery networks (CDNs) are network of servers that are housed worldwide. These servers store your website’s files and will deliver them to your visitors.
A CDN delivers a 50 percent reduction in bandwidth usage. The installation only takes a few minutes but the effect on your website can be long lasting.
Some of the best and most popular CDNs include the following:
- MaxCDN: This is considered by many as an industry standard for WordPress CDNs.
- Amazon CloudFront: Websites like IMDB and 9Gag use this content delivery network.
- CloudFlare: This powerful (and free!) CDN is used by thousands of bloggers. It also helps improve security of a website.
- Photon in JetPack: This is a free service that uploads all of your images to the server of WordPress.com when activated.
As a website owner, you need to give importance to speed if you want to boost traffic and improve your rankings in the search engines.