If you run a business that uses a WordPress site, then the page loading speed of your business’ site is something you should be paying careful attention to. Most people online have little patience for long loading times, and they will leave a page before it’s done loading if they think it loads too slowly. I know I do!
Then there’s the fact that your site’s search engine results ranking is affected by loading speed. According to Google speed is a ranking factor on both web and mobile devices. Conveniently Google Analytics allows us to view site speed reports. These are located in the Behavior section. Behavior > site speed > page timings report.
With these reports, you can view the page load times as well as from different dimensions. If you click just above the first column in the secondary dimensions box you can display results by browser or country for example.
Read on to learn 12 ways you can boost your WordPress site’s loading time and improve its search engine ranking.
1. Go with a Simple WordPress Theme
Themes that have a lot of images and animations are resource-heavy, so they are slow to load. Go with a simple theme to minimize your WordPress site’s loading time. I don’t want to recommend specific themes here as they make changes regularly that could impact speed. Instead, I suggest when you find a theme you like, Google “page speed and theme name” and see if anything stands out as a red flag.
2. Get the Right Hosting Provider
Your site’s host has a big effect on your site’s loading speed. If you have shared hosting then other customers are using the same resources you are. That means that if they experience high traffic your site gets slowed down. If you want more reliable hosting, try a managed WordPress hosting service. Also, WordPress is made using PHP, and the latest version is significantly faster than older versions. Get a hosting provider that uses it. We recommend BigScoots (affiliate link) because the price is right and their support is unprecedented. All of my sites have been with them for years.
3. Optimize Your Images
Use an image optimizer on every image on your site to compress it and reduce the time it takes to load. Optimized images are an easy way to reduce your WordPress site’s loading time.
4. Split Up Long, Image-Heavy Posts
While long posts do attract views and increase engagement, they also slow down the loading speed if there are a lot of images. Split up all long, image-heavy posts and make multiple shorter posts instead.
5. Compress Your Files
Compress every file on your WordPress site with a compression tool. Big files will greatly affect your WordPress site’s loading time.
6. Use a Cache Plugin
WordPress has to make a lot of database queries and computations whenever somebody loads your site. When a lot of people load it at once, the load on the system becomes too great and everyone experiences a slow loading time. A cache plugin generates an unchanging image of your page, called a cache, the first time it is accessed. It gives this image to later viewers so that it doesn’t have to perform all those database inquiries and calculations every single time.
7. Use a Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network stores cached images of your site all over the world on a network of servers. When a request is made to load your page, the information can be quickly downloaded from a nearby location no matter where the request comes from.
8. Get Rid of External Scripts
External scripts slow the loading process by adding enormous off-site data transfers to the process. getting rid of these will help your site’s loading speed.
9. Optimize Your Database
Keep your viewers’ database searches quick by clearing all the junk out of it. Get rid of old drafts, empty the Trash folder, get rid of unused tags.
10. Reduce Your HTTP Requests
Disable any styles and scripts that make requests from other websites, which takes a lot of time.
11. Use a Universal Font
A universal font is a font that every OS uses. By using one, you eliminate a potential HTTP request.
12. Eliminate Slow WordPress Plugins
Plugins slow loading. If one of them isn’t critical to the operation of your site, get rid of it. This includes Slider.
Remember, just because your business website loads quickly on your business’ computers does NOT mean that it loads quickly for everybody else. A great place to view page loading times is in your Google Analytics Behavior > site speed> page timing reports. You need to do everything you can to minimize your WordPress site’s loading time and following these tips above should do just that. The fewer people who give up while waiting for your site to load, and the higher its search engine ranking, the more useful and profitable it will be.
And if anything on this list was confusing for you as to how to do it.. reach out to your host for the support! I find this is a HUGE area of support that most people are not leveraging.