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15 Easy & Actionable Tips to Optimize & Improve Speed
of your WordPress Website in Next 7 Days

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WordPress is undoubtedly the best platform for any website. But just like everything else in this world, it is not perfect in every aspect. It’s important to make certain provisions in order to make a WordPress website perform faultlessly.

One of the most commonly reported problems with any WordPress website is its loading time, or in other words, its speed. If your website conversions are low, despite receiving a good amount of traffic, its probably an indication of how slow your website’s loading time maybe.

The speed of your website is directly responsible for determining its performance, in terms of attracting the visitors and keeping them interested for the longest time. If a website takes ages to load, the user is bound to lose interest and move on to a another website that offers the same services as yours, but is much faster.

Not only that. The speed of your website will also affect its ranking on search engines, further diminishing your chances of attracting more visitors and generating good conversions. Hence, it is highly essential that your WordPress website loads and performs faster than your competitors.
Now that you know why speed matters, lets take a look at how you can increase this speed.

#1. Select a reliable hosting company that offers excellent WordPress speed and support.

Inmotion Hosting

Choosing the right host for your WordPress website is easier said than done. There are a number of factors that need to be considered before taking a plunge for any kind of hosting plan, no matter how attractive and economical it may seem. So if you are thinking shared hosting is the best way to go, then think again!

While shared hosting is definitely easy on the pocket, it does little to improve the speed of your website. On the contrary, shared hosting is quite infamously known to slow down websites. So it is advisable to go for a host that provides an extensive range of services including domain name registration, data backup, free site transfer, Google apps integration, SSH access, unlimited disk space, multiple website on one account option, etc. One such hosting company is InMotion Hosting.

#2. Opt for a Fast WordPress Theme

Theme Forest

A WordPress theme plays a very vital role in determining the website’s speed. A theme which is well coded and has the right balance of images and content, will not put excessive load and will thereby, fasten the loading time of the website.

The sole idea is to keep the theme as simple, yet as effective as possible. Since, this directly affects the speed of the website, more and more WordPress website themes are designed craftily to provide the best user experience to the website owners and visitors. If you are looking for one such theme, then visit ThemeForest and choose from a huge number of superlative WordPress themes for your website.

#3. Optimize Your Database

WP Optimize

Optimizing your database should be the next thing on your to-do list for improving the speed of your WordPress website. However, this is also one of the most dreaded and time consuming tasks of all, especially when doing it manually. Although, MySQL is one of the best databases in the market, it suffers a major setback when it comes to regularly cleaning itself efficiently. So the best way to go about it is by installing these fantastic WordPress optimization plugins, WP-Optimize and WP-DB Manager.

These clever little plugins will help you in effortlessly optimizing and managing your entire database including post revisions, spam, drafts, tables, etc. Moreover, the WP-DB Manager will regularly set dates for optimization, so that your website performs exceptionally, always.

#4. Use an Effective Caching Plugin

W3 Total Cache

Caching plays a vital role in determining how fast your website loads. Hence, installing some efficient plugins related to caching, is a must if you wish to improve your website’s performance. One of the biggest advantages of using such caching plugins is that, they support static HTML files instead of dynamic ones, thereby improving the loading speed of the pages.

One such caching plugin which is loved and used by top developers, is the W3 Total Cache Plugin. The plugin is fully comprehensive, very easy to use and more importantly, is adept at caching all aspects of your website. It is specially designed to give a smooth, hassle free user experience by improving the server performance to a great extent.

#5. Utilize an Efficient Content Delivery Network (CDN)

AWS amazon

Content Delivery Networks are very commonly used over the internet today, in order to deliver the highest quality content to the users. It does so by replicating the static content, including images, CSS, Javascript, etc, from your website and serving it to the users from the nearest servers. This greatly speeds up the download time on your website, thereby keeping your visitors from moving on to other websites. Although there are many CDN’s available in the market, MaxCDN and Amazon CloudFront CDN are the two most recognized ones.

Both these CDN’s are simple to use and include an extremely user friendly dashboard. MaxCDN in particular, offers some really amazing features like extra control and added security measures, API, analytics, excellent support, easy installation and smart pricing options. Even so, we would advise you to go through all the features in depth and make an appropriate selection, accordingly.

#6. Optimize Images Automatically

WP Smush It

If your website has a good number of images, and if they are all large in size, then your website may suffer from slow loading speed. While its always beneficial for a website to have more attractive images in order to keep the visitors interested, they also take a up a lot of storage space, bringing the website speed down. To tackle this dilemma, you must optimize your images so they become less in size, while maintaining the high resolution.

Now if you are wondering how taxing optimizing each image would be, then we have just the thing to lift your spirits! WP Smush.it is an amazing, free plugin that provides an API that performs several functions like optimizing JPEG compression, stripping meta data from JPEGS, converting GIF’s to indexed PNG’s, stripping unused colors from the images, etc.

#7. Enable gZIP Compression

The size of the data that gets transferred between your server and the users is quite huge. And this often the reason for the slow performance of your website. In order to rectify this, all you have to do is use gZIP to compress your data files including the CSS and JavaScript files. As a result, the server will compress the content up to 70% its original size, before transferring it to the browsers.

This greatly reduces the loading time of the website as the size of the content being transferred is drastically reduced. Moreover, its amazingly simple to activate/enable gZIP compression. Just add this codes to the .htaccess file in the WordPress root folder and you are good to go!

## ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION ##mod_gzip_on Yes
mod_gzip_dechunk Yes
mod_gzip_item_include file .(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$
mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*## ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION ##

#8. Minify Your WordPress Website

Minifying your WordPress website, in other words, means removing any extra spaces from the website coding. This will remove all the unnecessary spaces in your website’s coding and make it smaller and more convenient to download.

Instead of manually removing the spaces, you can save your time and efforts by using the WP-Minify plugin. This helpful little plugin will not only remove all the unwanted white spaces in your coding but will also combine the related CSS and JavaScript files into one file, thereby reducing its size and loading time.

Note: In some cases this may break the website if not used correctly. Be aware of what you are doing.

#9. Make Use of CSS Sprites

Sprite Gen

CSS Sprites help in reducing the number of HTTP requests for the images that are referenced on your website. They are immensely helpful in enhancing the speed of a website, as they combine and merge the images into one single file, which arranges them in a grid. CSS Sprites also help in saving more bandwidth and by doing so, improve the overall performance of the website. Although originally used by video game designers, this technique is now very commonly used by web designers to increase the speed of a website. Try SpriteGen.

#10. Use Only the Most Important Plugins and Monitor them Regularly

P3 Profiler

As it is commonly said, too much of anything is bad. The same can be said in case of WordPress plugins. While they certainly work wonders in improving the overall performance and practicality of the website, too many plugins also cause reduction in its speed and in many cases, even cause it to crash.

For this reason, it is extremely important that you prioritize your plugin use. Discard the ones that are not useful and only stick to the ones that are absolutely necessary. Ironically, you can use a special plugin called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) by Godaddy.com, which analyses all the plugins on your website, measures their performances and tells you which plugin maybe affecting your site’s loading time. It is also essential that you regularly update all your plugins in order to keep your website up and running, efficiently.

#11. Enable Leverage Browser Caching

Quick Cache

Caching is nothing but temporarily storing away information and content, including HTML pages, images, web objects, CSS and JavaScript files etc, so that they are easily accessible to the users. By enabling browser caching, you will be able to temporarily store all the resources that have already been loaded, thereby reducing the time of loading of the different webpages of your site.

There are a number of WordPress plugins that are adept at ensuring proper browser caching, like Hyper Cache Extended, WP Super Cache, etc, but its W3 Total Cache Plugin that is very commonly preferred and used. This plugin caches the data from every webpage of your WordPress website, so that the content doesn’t have to be dynamically loaded every time you go on to a different page. This will greatly reduce the loading time of your website and provide a better user experience.

Just add the following codes to your .htaccess file and speed up your WordPress website!

## LEVERAGE BROWSER CACHING ##ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access 2 days”## LEVERAGE BROWSER CACHING ##

#12. Add LazyLoad to Your Images

BJ Lazy Load

Lazy Load is a very cool WordPress plugin that is specifically designed to reduce the image and by extension, the page loading time. It optimizes the images on your website in a manner by which the images do not load altogether but instead load one at a time as the user scrolls down.

All you have to do is install the jQuery Image Lazy Load Plugin and your images will get optimized automatically. Another plus point of installing this plugin is that, it will save considerable bandwidth as and when the users visit or browse through your website, further improving its speed.

#13. Keep a Tab on the Number of Post Revisions Stored

It is an absolute bliss to use WordPress. But it has some pretty annoying features, which if left unrectified can bring the speed of your website down. For example, WordPress often saves all your drafts after revision, for eternity, thus taking up a good amount of storage space that gradually brings the speed of the website down. Once a draft is posted, you will probably never need it again. So why save them indefinitely?

This is where the WP Revision Control Plugin comes into the picture. It gives you more control by allowing you to set the limit to the number of revisions that can be stored for every page or post. This way you can easily save your back-end from being overburdened with unwanted post revisions and reduce your website’s loading time.

To permanently disable revisions can add the following code to your wp-config.php file in the root of your WordPress setup.

define(‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, false);

#14. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

For those who are unacquainted, Pingbacks and Trackbacks help in communicating between websites, and are especially very useful to bloggers. WordPress is designed to interact with other blogs that support Pingbacks and Trackbacks, by default.

By turning it off, you can reduce the excessive load which your website receives every time a blog mentions your site, without actually affecting its back links. This way you can consistently maintain the traffic and speed of your WordPress website. To Disable them go to Settings > Discussion Settings

#15. Verify the Speed of Your Website on gtmetrix.com

Gt Metrix

Okay, so now that you have a detailed analysis on how you can improve the speed of your WordPress website, we would like to advise you to get it tested on www.gtmetrix.com & tools.pingdom.com/fpt/. These fantastic website are the best places to test the speed and performance of your website.

It will give you a detailed analysis on where your website is getting affected in terms of its loading time and also give you suggestions on how to make the necessary changes to correct any shortcomings. This way you will know exactly what to modify in order to boost your WordPress website’s speed.

"Optimizing a WordPress website is not rocket science. Anybody with a working knowledge of WordPress can do it. But our main idea behind posting this blog was to tell you exactly where to look and what to do in order to take your website to a new level. So there you have it! All the possible ways in which you can optimize your WordPress website so that it loads and performs faster than ever! And that’s a wrap!"

Blog Author

Nirav Dave

Nirav Dave is the Co Founder of Capsicum Mediaworks, a digital agency in Mumbai, that specializes in all things web design. As the Managing Director, Nirav has achieved exceptional feats for the company. He worships WordPress and loves to read anything and everything written about this exceptional CMS. A thorough professional, Nirav constantly tries to find innovative ways to create endearing web designs and explore different methods of digital marketing. You may also follow him on Twitter @nirav_dave

Comments

  • Vishal Ostwal January 17th, 2016

    Hey Nirav,

    I’m astounded by the awesomeness of your site. It’s really elegant, simple and neat. Love it! Will surely try out these tools and plugins.

    However, what I’m much curious about are the vector images. Do you guys make them or buy them? Would like to know more about that.

    • Nirav Dave January 18th, 2016

      Hi Vishal,

      I am glad you like the site. We use licensed vector images by FreePik under their paid plan (https://profile.freepik.com/plans) and our in-house designers modify them as per requirements.

      Hope this is helpful!

      Cheers!
      Nirav Dave

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