WordPress Performance – 4 Easy Ways to Boost the Speed of Your Website


What is website page speed?

A website page speed is also called “page-load time”. It generally refers to the amount of time required by your website pages to load and become visible once a user requests them. Normally, the recommended standard load time for a web page is 2 seconds. Therefore, if your website pages load slower than this, you should work on optimizing your website.

A poor page-load speed results in a poor users’ experience. It usually causes a higher bounce rate which implies that visitors leave your site quicker than expected. Although you may see it as a win to have a lot of traffic flowing into your website, the fact is that a high bounce rate is counter-productive.

Apart from the fact that a poor page-load speed will make you lose your site visitors, it also affects your website placement on Google search results. This is one of the reasons why you need to act decisively on your website page speed. In this article, we shall discuss the relationship between Google and page speed, factors that determine your website load speed, causes, and solutions to poor website page speed.

Google and page speed

As of April 2010, Google added a new requirement of website page speed to their ranking algorithm. This means that the speed of your website, apart from SEO and other factors, will determine how it will be ranked on Google. At the time of introducing this new rule, fairly about 1% of the total websites were affected. However, with the rate at which new websites are being launched every day, this factor has become competitive and practically the survival of the fittest.

It is important to know that Google and other Search Engines introduce this factor to promote high-quality sites in lieu of low-quality ones. A fast page-load speed gives an impression that your site is standard and usable to visitors.

Therefore, it is even safe to conclude that Google is doing you a favor by encouraging you to optimize your website page speed because a slow website can cost you potential customers who want to load few more pages before placing an order on your product/service. More than half of website visitors lose interest if your website page takes more than 5 seconds to load. So, regardless of what Google or other search engines are forcing you to do, your website page speed should be one of the few things in your mind if you truly want to make the best out of your visitors.

Factors that affect page speed

So, what are the factors that affect/determine a website’s page speed?

1.     Images

Websites with large images, several small images or other flash graphics can lose out to websites with fewer and small images in search engines. This means that the type and volume of the images on your website greatly affect your website page speed. The fact that images do affect website load speed doesn’t mean you should not use images on your website. In fact, most websites rely on images. However, it does mean that you should be cautious about the way you use images.

2.     Scripts

Some websites are designed using complex unresponsive scripts which has a significant effect on the page-load speed. Too many scripts on a website affect the page speed. This is why most web designers avoid using too many Javascripts when designing a professional website. Not only Javascript, the Google Adsense and analytics script codes also add to the weight.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) is also another script that adds weight to the website. The implication of having too many scripts is that the server has to look for each of these scripts before the page is fully displayed. Therefore, the more scripts you have, the more time it takes the server to locate these scripts, and ultimately the slower the page-load speed.

Why is your website page-load speed so ridiculous?

Are you wondering the why your WordPress website is too slow in loading? Here are the major causes of a slow WordPress website.

 

 

  • Web Hosting: Your WordPress website can be slow if your website hosting server is not properly configured and this can hurt your website page speed.
  • WordPress Configuration: WordPress configuration includes the HTTP protocols and cache plug-ins you use. If your website is not serving a cached page to your visitors, the pressure of having to fetch each script always will reduce your page speed and cause the website to crash finally.
  • Page Size: Your WordPress site is possibly slow because you have too many images that are not optimized.
  • Bad Plug-ins: Using bad plug-ins, especially those from third-parties can significantly slow down your website page-load speed.
  • External scripts: If your WordPress website uses external scripts, such as JS, CSS, ads, and font loaders, then your page speed can be greatly affected.

How to check your page speed

Luckily, Google itself offers an easy and hassle-free way to check your website page speed. Plus, Google also provides suggestions on how you can improve your page speed which makes it highly beneficial and useful to you. You can check out the Google Pagespeed insight tool here.

Alternatively, there are other tools online that you can use to check your page speed. These tools come with additional features, such as comparison with competitors and a host of others. These tools will help identify the factors affecting your page speed and how you can resolve them.

4 Easy Ways to Boost the Speed of Your Website

Now that you know the meaning of website page speed and aware of the dangers a slow WordPress website can bring, let us consider the 4 easy ways to boost the speed of your website.

1.     Use a Cache Plugin

Without a doubt, WordPress offers you a handful of plug-ins that allow you to personalize your website. There are several cache plugins that you can use to boost your page load time and boost the overall users’ experience.

How caching works

When a user visits your website page, your server retrieves the information in your MySQL database and PHP files, and then deliver it to your visitor in form of HTML content. This is a process usually take a long time but can be reduced significantly by using a caching plug-in.

WordPress caching plugins saves a copy of your webpage once it is visited. This saved copy is presented to other users when they visit the same page. Therefore, your server will not have to go through a whole page generation stress but rather deliver the saved (cached) page.

Another way of using cache is to encourage your users to enable cache or use a cache-enabled browser. The browser saves the webpage when the user first accesses our site. This page is saved in the hard drive of the user and is automatically generated whenever the user tries to access the website again without processing any HTTP request. Therefore, you can deliver fast website speed to your users by using the WordPress cache plug-in and by encouraging your users to enable cache on their browser. Popular WordPress cache plug-ins include W3 total cache, Cache clear, and WP super cache.

2.     Optimize Images

As indicated earlier, images play a significant role in your website’s page speed. Of course, images are an important ingredient of every website. It gives a sense of reality and visual touch to the website. However, too many images are unhealthy for your website, especially when they are not optimized. In order to boost the size of your website, you need to compress the size of your images without compromising their quality. The best way to do it by using WordPress image-optimization plug-ins, such as EWWW Image Optimizer, Compress JPG and PNG, and a host of others. These plug-ins will help you compress the images without compromising their qualities.

3.     Keep WordPress Updated

WordPress is a well-maintained open-source project and is frequently maintained and updated. Each update comes not only with new features but also fix security issues, bugs, and challenges. Likewise, your themes and plug-ins are frequently updated for the same purpose.

As a WordPress site owner, it is your responsibility to keep your WordPress, plug-ins, and themes updated as soon as new versions are released. There is no gain using outdated versions of WordPress and its compatriots when practically new improved versions have been released. Rather, it makes your website slow, unsafe, and vulnerable to attacks and security threats.

4.     Use Excerpts of Your Pages on the Homepage

By default, WordPress displays the full content of each article on the homepage. This ultimately means that your website homepage will load slower than expected. Apart from making the pages load relatively slowly, showing full articles on your homepage can disfigure the entire site layout and users may not even bother to visit and read the remaining article.

In order to increase your page-load speed and encourage users to spend more time on your website exploring full details of your articles, you should display only the excerpts on your homepage instead of the full article. To do this, navigate to Settings >> Reading and select “Summary” instead of full text. Likewise, there are several themes out there that are configured to display only the excerpts of your articles.

Conclusion

A slow website does not only turn users/readers off but also at a disadvantage when it comes to Google ranking. The average standard page-load time for website pages is 2 seconds. If your website loads slower than this, you should consider optimizing it. Discussed in this article are the causes and effects of a slow website as well as 4 easy ways to resolve them.