5 Steps to Optimize Your WordPress Site Speed and Make it User Friendly

WordPress Site Speed

Website loading speed matters the most. It’s a fact that a fast website loading speed results in a better user experience and vice versa. However, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Your website’s speed impacts a lot of other performance metrics such as time on page, website bounce rate, and even online reviews on other sites.

Many websites slow down with time. However, WordPress websites typically suffer more compared to others. So, let’s dig into why this happens and what you can do to prevent it.

Why Is Website Speed Crucial?

An average internet user will stay on your website longer if the website speed is faster. The website speed directly impacts the conversion rate.

Also, website speed is so important these days that Google has called it one of the ranking factors. It means that no matter how hard you try to rank; Google will never keep you at the top of its search results if your website is not fast enough.

As per the stats, nearly half (48 percent) of shoppers worldwide mentioned the speed. When a website takes more than usual time, it is assumed that it must be unprofessional, unsafe, and unreliable. 

Did you know ‘more than half of users tend to close a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load? A few years ago, average users could hang out for a second or more, but users are getting impatient day by day.

Thus, if you want to keep your customer base intact, you must invest in WordPress speed optimization. Your efforts will pay dividends sooner because a fast-loading website means more visitors, engagement, and ultimately increased revenue.

Also, it won’t cost much as there are tons of effective yet free tools that can boost your website’s performance.

What Can Cause Your Website to Slow Down?

There are a lot of factors that contribute to your website’s slow speed. The plugins that I’ll mention below will give you a detailed report with a list of issues that increase your website’s loading time. But most of the time, these are the main reasons:

  • Excessive plugins
  • Outdated and old plugins that need updating and replacement
  • Cheap and poor hosting
  • A web hosting plan that doesn’t support your growth needs
  • No caching (caching plugins may help)
  • You own a high-traffic website with a disabled content delivery network (CDN)
  • There are several high-quality and heavy photos or videos in your WordPress gallery (image optimization or compression can solve this issue)
  • The website uses HTTP instead of HTTPS
  • You are not using the HTTP2 protocol
  • Your WP version demands an update
  • You are using an obsolete WordPress theme
  • You need an updated PHP version
  •  Your website’s files are not minified

What to Do to Speed Up Your WordPress Site

1. Review Themes and Plugins

Let’s start with the fundamentals. When did you last update all your WordPress plugins? WordPress can annoy users when it needs to update something.

The red warnings started appearing everywhere. However, several website owners have ignored these warnings for weeks.

Updating plugins regularly is a good habit, ideally after each month. Fix a day or specific time when you don’t have many active users on your website—say, Friday night.

Also, make sure you update every plugin and then test your website after that. Remember to make a backup of your website before updating anything, including the PHP version and WordPress.

Keeping WP plugins up-to-date is crucial if you need your website’s performance to improve. However, some

WordPress developers do not release regular updates. So, it’s better to remove those plugins before it’s too late.

There are thousands of abandoned plugins in the WordPress marketplace; all of them are replaceable with modern alternatives.

Moreover, you can easily guess when the plugin is not updated or maintained – just see their page on the website (wordpress.org).

You will see all the important information on the right, specifically when the plugin was last tested and updated.

2. Your Web Hosting Provider Is Important

Your WordPress web hosting service impacts the website’s performance. Managed WordPress hosting organizations take some additional steps to optimize your site.

They offer automatic updates, backups, and advanced security. If you find a good shared web hosting provider and still face issues, you may need to upgrade and review your plan.

3. Make use of caching

Another pain point you can easily avoid is caching. Caching makes the website run faster by suppressing the load on the WordPress hosting server.

However, you don’t need to be a developer to set up caching on your WordPress site properly. The following or similar plugins can do all the work for you:

WP Rocket – This plugin is considered a beginner-friendly caching plugin on the WP market.

W3 Total Cache – An advanced plugin with loads of options; however, it’s not as intuitive as other plugins.

WP Super Cache – A frequently recommended plugin by renowned web hosting companies.

Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) will support your WordPress caching plugin for better website performance. Bunny CDN, Sucuri, Cloudflare, or some other popular CDN providers are also there to speed up loading times for your visitors from multiple countries.

4. Photo and Video Optimization

It’s not a good idea to directly upload audio and video files to your WordPress site. Why? because high-quality images and videos will consume a lot of space. Sometimes, you have to pay extra for it.

So, you can either avoid saving high-quality content on your website or optimize it before uploading. There are many photo and video compression WordPress plugins that you can use with that:

  • EWWW Image Optimizer
  •  reSmush.it
  •  Optimole
  •  ShortPixel Image Optimizer

5. Minify Your Files

In simple words, minification means minimizing your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files’ size. The smaller the file, the quicker and easier it becomes for your WordPress site to load webpages.

Minifying removes unnecessary lines, spaces, and characters from the files, making them human-readable.

While your website won’t show you much of a difference, your visitors will definitely notice an improvement in your website’s speed.

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Again, you have plenty of good WordPress plugin options for that. Some popular minifying plugins are Autoptimize, WP Super Minify, and W3 Total Cache.