Have you found yourself visiting your own website, and it takes several seconds – or longer – for the homepage to load? This can be a bigger issue than just an annoyance for your visitors, as Google has indicated that site speed can affect your site’s ranking. In this guide, you will learn why your WordPress website might be running slowly, and some simple things you can do to speed it up.
As a small business owner or solopreneur, your website is perhaps your most important sales tool. You need it to be running in top condition at all times, and can’t risk people bouncing immediately because it’s taking too long to load. Even more than the risk of frustrating your customers and clients when they visit your site, a slow website can make it harder for them to even find your site in the first place.
Here are some simple things you can do today to help give your WordPress site a little boost:
- Re-evaluate your web hosting. Sometimes, when we’re launching our first website, it’s tempting to go with the cheapest website hosting you can find. However, more often than not, website hosting is a case of “you get what you pay for”. There are numerous reasons to spend a few more dollars per month for a quality web hosting service, and site speed is a big one. Some reputable hosting companies which specialize in providing some extra zip for WordPress sites are: Flywheel, WP Engine, or Kinsta. Others that are a little more affordable, but still carry a good reputation are Siteground and Wordify. Do a little homework here, simply changing up your web host alone could end up speeding up your website.
- Shrink those images. Large image file sizes can really slow down a website. A good rule of thumb is to only upload images that are 72dpi, and are sized to the exact pixel size that it will be used on the website. It isn’t a bad idea to optimize your images with TinyPNG before uploading them to your site. To optimize images that are already in use on your website, running an image optimizer plugin such as Smush can shrink those images down quite a bit.
- Install a caching plugin. Normally, each page of your website has to be generated fresh for each visitor. Caching plugins essentially take static snapshots of your website, and stores them for your visitors to view – skipping the step of having your server generate fresh content every time. Here is a concise explanation of caching, as well as some recommended plugins including WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache.
- Run a speed audit. Run a free speed test at a site like Pingdom or Google Page Speed Insights. Not only will these tools give you a good, impartial idea as to how fast or slow your website is loading, but they will also provide you with a list of areas where you could improve. Some of these can get a little technical, so it may take some Googling to figure out how to fix them.
Another option is to purchase one of our WordPress Care Plan Audits. This is a comprehensive audit that looks at your website top to bottom, shows you what needs to be improved, and even includes a couple of hours of consultation time so we can work together to get your site in tip-top shape.
This is just a quick overview of some “low hanging fruit” – items that you can quickly address without too much technical knowledge, which might get your website loading a little faster. As I mentioned, there could certainly be other, more serious causes – so you definitely don’t want to ignore a slow website.