WordPress has gone through lots of dramatic improvements since 2003. These include bug fixes and additional features. WordPress runs from a server that supports PHP and MySQL.
WordPress is light-weight and this means any sites created with the platform loads with lightning speed. However, if you have a lot of web pages and multimedia content, your site can start slowing down if you have not optimized it for speed.
In this article, we are going to share the most useful tips that you can apply to your WordPress site to improve the user experience. Remember a faster loading website increases page views and is a great plus when it comes to SEO.
Test website speed and install a caching plugin
A good WordPress site should load within an average of 2 seconds. You should convince your web visitors that your website is loading faster to make them have a better look of what you are offering. You can test your site speed using Pingdom tool
Once you enter your domain on that tool, you will get a summary of your website load time. See the image below:
Once you have determined your website speed, you should focus on optimizing its performance.
One of the best plugins that you should install on your WordPress site is WP Super Cache. This plugin will cache common files and prevent your site from undergoing the whole web page generation process when a visitor requests a page several times.
Most people prefer reading articles which have visual representations of the ideas being discussed. In fact, images can engage more than 80% of people visiting your website. However, if you haven’t optimized your images for speed, the overall page load speed can be affected.
To optimize images, use a photo editing software to either resize or crop images before uploading them on your web server. Make a habit of using the ‘.jpg’ format unless you want to retain transparency in images. JPG format takes less size because it is more compressed than PNG.
Updated WordPress regularly and all installed plugins
Although WordPress is created by an open-source community which is very active, its source code undergoes dramatic changes from time to time. Using outdate versions can affect the overall performance of your site. Regular updates ensure that you have the latest version of WordPress with new features, bug fixes and speed optimization.
Remember developers keep on discovering new technologies for speeding up the WordPress software and you should take advantage of these updates. This applies both to the WordPress main source code and plugins.
Display summary posts on your home page
WordPress has default behaviour of displaying full content on the home and archive pages. This doesn’t only make the page to load slower but also makes the users to avoid the need of visiting the actual independent pages.
You should go to the Settings menu and click on ‘Reading’ sub-menu on your wordpress dashboard and configure WordPress to display summary instead of full text in the home, categories and archives directory.
Enable paging on your comments
When your WordPress website becomes popular, you might find a lot of comments and this is a good sign that your posts are very engaging and useful to the World Wide Web audience. However, loading lots of comments on your posts will slow down the loading time.
To avoid this problem, just enable paging on your comments. To do this, navigate to ‘Settings->Discussion’ and check the box which reads ‘Break comments into pages’
Videos can tremendously affect the disc space of your website. They can also consume a lot of bandwidth especially if you are having a lot of page views per day. A rule of thumb is to never host videos directly on your WordPress site. Instead, use a service like YouTube and embed videos on your posts.
Use a web hosting company that cares for speed and performance
I recommend Bluehost because they use SSD(Solid State Drives) instead of the traditional hard discs that take a lot of time to access data.
Bluehost also supports the latest versions of PHP and MySQL and they have hosted millions of WordPress sites due to their reputation.
Those are some of the best tips that you should utilize on your WordPress site to make it extremely faster. Although this is not an exhaustive list for optimizing your WordPress site for speed and performance, the guide should get you started to create a better user experience on your website.