June 23, 2021

How to Improve a WordPress Site Loading Speed

A website that is slow receives fewer to no visitors at all as compared to that which is fast. There are many factors that can lead to a website being slow if ignored. In this article, we are going to learn some tips to help you improve your website speed.

It is important to note that each theme is built differently and we need to adjust to each situation properly but, that doesn´t mean we can lay out the topmost critical and important factors that affect page loading speed and how to address them. Below are some of the critical factors that you ought to know so as to improve the loading speed of your website.

  1. Hosting provider. Always choose a hosting provider that offers better services not only in terms of cost but also in terms of stable infrastructure and technology used. I highly recommend Truehost Cloud. They run their servers on LiteSpeed webservers which are faster compared to Apache and Nginx. Apart from that they also run on SSD Storage, unlike most hosts who run on HDD Storage.
  2. Set up a Content Delivery Network (CDN). If your hosting provider´s servers are located in the same region as your target audience, there´s no need for a CDN however you can always try and test for yourself. Cloudflare offers a free plan that is more than enough in most cases.
  3. Use a lightweight and fast loading theme. The theme you use will have a loading effect on your website. Do not just pick a theme because you like it. Ensure you do adequate research just to be sure that you are settling for a fast and responsive WordPress theme.
  4. Avoid page builders if possible– I highly recommend you take the time to learn how to properly use Oxygen Builder. I know this might sound contradictory but, trust me, it´s not. Oxygen is NOT a page builder it´s a THEME builder. This would be the closest you´ll ever be to build a custom theme from scratch without having to write thousands of lines of code. It does, however, require you to know some basic CSS but that’s something you can learn in a few days. Lastly, if you don´t want to give Oxygen a try, you can always try Gutemberg. Nowadays, there is a pretty decent selection of Gutemberg addons that will allow you to build beautiful sites.
  5. Avoid over-bloated plugins. Do not at any cost be those people who often get carried away by functionalities and features and don´t take the time to evaluate the impact certain plugins have on performance or whether or not they can replace that plugin with a much lighter alternative. Clear examples of this are Jetpack, NewStatPress, Yet Another Related Post Plugin, Fuzzy SEO Booster, Contact Form 7, and RevSlider. I know you can relate, right? Take a look at this list of plugins you need to avoid.
  6. Optimize Images. My personal process for image optimization is: a) Compress, b) Convert them to Webp format (next-gen format), c) Resize them properly (take into account image mobile devices image containers), d) lazy load them (only the ones below the fold), e) Make sure to add the width and height to the HTML (it will help with CLS), and f) Serve them from a CDN. My go-to image optimization plugin is ShortPixel.
  7. Unused CSS and JS – This is another pretty common issue on WordPress sites. Especially those who build through a page builder or abused the usage of poorly coded and over-bloated plugins. With CSS, we can generate the Critical Path CSS and defer the rest for the footer and, regarding javascript, we can do the same. Thankfully, we can use WP Rocket for this or, if you want a free alternative, you have Asset Cleanup and/or Autoptimize to unload these unnecessary resources from even loading in the first place. These two plugins work great together. Another great option is Swift Performance Lite.
  8. Optimize External Scripts – We tend to load a lot of external scripts to our site like Google Fonts, Font Awesome, Tracking codes, Chat widgets (Facebook for example), etc., and this is something that slow sites down a lot. Nowadays, we can delay these scripts from executing until there is user interaction. I highly recommend Flying Scripts for this. This is a free plugin. But, if you have the budget and/or already using WP Rocket, you already have access to this feature since version 3.7.
  9. Fonts and Icons – It´s unbelievable how many people load these resources from external sources where they can just host them locally and avoid those DNS lookups and improve their site´s performance.
  10. Media Optimization – The best thing we can do with these resources is to host them externally (YouTube, Vimeo, etc) and just embed them on our site. When doing this, I highly recommend enabling a placeholder for the video thumbnail and lazy load the image. This will greatly reduce the load impact of these resources.

And that´s pretty much what you can do if you want to optimize your site page loading speed.

Let us know if you have any more suggestions that works best to improve site loading speed.

Patoo

 Introspect | A Polymath | Linux, Tech & Digital Marketing Enthusiast

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