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12 Easy Ways To Speed Up Your WordPress Blog Loading Time


speed up wordpress website

So, your blog posts are loading very slowly?
Well, you are in the right place.

In this guide, I will show you simple steps that you can take to speed up your WordPress blog loading time.

1. Why Blog Page Loading Speed Is Essential

The "back" button on a browser is your enemy. You only have a few seconds to hook a visitor and get him or her to stay away from the "back" button. So, you need to make every second count.
Great looking design, stunning imagery and valuable content are essential elements of a blog. They help you convince a first-time visitor that your blog is worth their time.
But, none of this matters if your blog is impossible to reach or very slow to load.
Page loading time is also one of the ranking factors Google uses to determine which content will show on top of their search results.

2. WordPress Speed Test: How Fast Is My Blog Right Now?

The best starting point for improving your blog’s page speed is to check your current loading time and performance.
Run the speed tests at sites below to see how fast or how slow your blog is right now.

These tools analyze the performance of your blog, and provide useful advice on things you can do to optimize the loading time:

Now you should have a basic overview of the current performance of your WordPress blog.
Any load time below 3 seconds is excellent in my book.

3. Monitor Your Blog Server Uptime/Downtime

Keep an eye on the uptime of your blog’s server.
Uptime basically tells you what percentage of time your blog is up and available for visitors. The more reliable your web-host is, the more uptime you will have and your downtime will be minimal if any at all.
WordPress runs 'Jetpack plugin' which allows you to activate a “Monitor” add-on that constantly checks your server and notifies you in the case of a downtime.

4. Check The Speed Impact Of The WordPress Plugins That You Use

Measure the impact each plugin has on your blogs loading time.
There’s a plugin for that: P3 Plugin Performance Profiler.

After analysing your blog, you should consider removing any of the plugins that slow you down. Alternatively, you can consider more "light" options that can replace the feature of a plugin that slows you down.
P3 might, for example, identify your social media sharing buttons plugin as one of the plugins that slow you down. This is very common as those buttons with share counters can be the enemies of speed.
Consider using a lightweight option like Social Sharing By Danny instead of the official buttons.
* Always deactivate and delete any plugins that you do not use.

5. How To Speed Up Your WordPress Blog: The Checklist

Let’s look at the checklist first before getting into details:

wordpress speed checklist

Decrease and compress your image size, because high-resolution images are an integral part of any blog. They brand your blog, and they keep your visitors interested in your posts.
The size of these images can dramatically impact the loading time. When saving the image, make sure to resize the picture to the exact dimensions that you need in your content, to help keep the image size low. Aim for somewhere around 100-150kb per image if possible.
You can also use one of the image optimizer plugins for WordPress. From my experience, they can help you reduce the picture size by 30+% without compromising the image quality itself.

  • EWWW Image Optimizer plugin is a solution that compresses your images as you upload them onto your blog.
  • WP Smush It can help optimize your existing archive or images in a lossless way by stripping meta data and compressing.

6. Use Lazy Loading Of Images

If you have an image-heavy blog like a fashion blog or a food blog, you should consider using BJ Lazy Load plugin.
Lazy loading only loads images that are in the browser’s view (i.e. above the fold). It loads the rest only as the visitor scrolls down the page.

7. Use Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source initiative from Google. It optimizes your content for mobile devices and helps it load instantly when visited from the search engines.

Here are more details from Google:
Speed matters and instant is the ideal. Research shows that the bounce rate can be as high as 58% for web pages that take nearly ten seconds to load. Using the AMP format will make it far more compelling for people to consume and engage with more content. But this isn’t just about speed and performance. We also want to promote enhanced distribution so that publishers can take advantage of the open web’s potential for their content to appear everywhere quickly – across all platforms and apps – which can lead to more revenue via ads and subscriptions.

There’s the official WordPress plugin for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. Just install and activate the plugin to have your blog AMP-ready.

8. Enable A Caching Plugin And Keep Your Files Minimal

This part is a bit more tech heavy but is arguably the fastest and most effective way of speeding up your blog page loading time.
Install and activate a 'caching plugin' and you will immediately see an improvement in your speed. Caching plugins speed up your blog by generating static files and serve those files to your visitors instead of the dynamic files as WordPress does by default.
"Dynamic" means that they are refreshed every time they are viewed.

I use W3 Total Cache on several of my projects, and it’s a very powerful and advanced plugin that does a great job. The plugin was created by Frederick Townes, the senior technical advisor of Mashable, and they use it too.
It can be a bit overwhelming the first time you look at it because of all the different options. Activating it with the default settings on will be fine for the majority of bloggers, though.

9. Use A CDN

You also have the option to enable CDN (Content Delivery Network) support to offload static files to fast data centers around the world.

MaxCDN is the very powerful premium CDN solution. It might be too much power for a newbie blogger, but it’s useful to more experienced and bigger bloggers that have more traffic and are ok with investing some money into having a speedy blog.

CloudFlare is a free alternative that you can test.

Another free alternative for your imagery is Photon, which is a part of the Jetpack plugin that 'Automattic' (the company behind WordPress) runs.

10. Keep Your WordPress Updated

WordPress comes as a very light and speedy platform out of the box. It gets regularly updated with cleaner and leaner coding and functionality.
You should always make sure to keep your WordPress updated to the latest version. It’s an easy process that can be automated.

11. Optimize The WordPress Database

You should make sure to optimize the WordPress database too. This is where WordPress stores and organizes all your data.
WP-Optimize is a great plugin that helps you run regular database maintenance without any tech know-how and with one click on a button. It cleans all post revisions, spam comments and reduces the size of your database.
Aim to set it to do this process automatically at least once per month.

12. Choose The Right Web Host For WordPress Beginners

Invest in a good web space and the right hosting plan. Your server is the foundation and the first step towards having a speedy WordPress blog.
Free hosts are usually not too fast, unreliable with regular downtimes, so I would avoid them.
You want a host that is reliable and guarantees at least a 99% uptime and a server that has a fast response time.
Look for webhosts with managed services that specialize in WordPress blogs. You can get these for around $50 per year for basic WordPress blogs, and they are great options for starters.
Eventually, as your blog traffic increases you may outgrow the basic hosting account. Only then, you may need to invest in a dedicated server, but here we are talking thousands of visitors daily.

Final Words Regarding Website Design

Use a light, fast, clean and minimalistic design theme.
Some WordPress design themes have more features than you will ever need, some have bad and bloated code, unnecessary images and JavaScripts.
You should choose a light and clean coded design theme with a good balance between the looks, functionality and speed. The theme should also be mobile responsive and optimized for visitors on tablets and mobile devices.
One option is to go with a premium theme. Premium themes are highly likely to be developed clean coded. They offer you great flexibility, are speedy out of the box, and allow you to customize your design.
Premium themes also provide support and are continuously upgraded and improved.
This is not always the case with the free-to-use WordPress themes.

Personally, I love WordPress plugins, as they allow me to add any feature that I can imagine to my blog. The potential issue is that the more plugins you add, the more CSS and Javascripts you have, and this hurts the page loading speed.
You should try to avoid using a plugin when a bit of modification to your theme will get you the same results.
I’m currently using 5 plugins on most of my blogs, down from having around 20+ not too long ago.
A ballpark figure is to try to keep your WordPress to 10 plugins or less activated at any time. Consider whether the plugin truly adds any value to your site before installing it.

You should only use plugins that are listed in the official WordPress directory.

Quality signs to look for are:
  • High number of downloads and blogs using the plugin.
  • Regular and recent updates.
  • Good reviews.

Consider simplicity and user friendliness when making any design and content decision. This will help your user’s experience and it will decrease the loading time and the bounce rate too.
Remove and eliminate all the elements that don’t matter such as buttons, widgets, flashy ads and pop-ups. Think about what purpose these elements have and test how they affect the speed.
Show fewer posts on your front page and category pages. You can do this in the "Reading" part of WordPress settings.
Show post excerpts and summaries instead of full posts on the front page and category pages. Many themes allow this change to be done.
Simplify your navigation menu, sidebar and footer. Only keep necessary and essential widgets. Or simply remove the sidebar.
Restrict the amount of flash and image-based banner ads. There are more effective options to monetize your blog.
Aim to implement the majority of the steps recommended as they will make a difference in your blog’s speed and loading time.

Your visitors will love you for the faster and more efficient blog experience, and so will Google. ;-)

To your success,
Jonny Tyson

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