Looking for some quick fixes to improve the speed of your WordPress website?
You’re in the right place – continue reading!
Non-WordPress websites can benefit from this guide too, you just won’t have access to the plugins I’m referring to.
First up, why should you improve the speed of your website? I’d simply suggest decreasing website load time to improve the user experience for your visitors. Sometimes webmasters just don’t care about their visitors 🙁 so let’s look at some data.
Research by Kissmetrics has found that 40 percent of visitors on a website leave if a site doesn’t load up in 3 seconds. Why? Because 47% consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. If you’re an ecommerce site, a 1 second delay can result in 7% reduced conversions. For an ecommerce site that makes $1 million in daily sales, that’s over $25 million in lost sales yearly. Apart from these stats, Google has also indicated website speed is a metric for rankings so if only for the sake of your site SEO, speed up your website!
Now that you’re convinced that you need to speed up your website, let’s get down to it.
Before we begin, I’d recommend running a few speed tests on your WordPress website to have a baseline website speed score.
My top choices for website speed tests are PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Website Speed Test and GTmetrix. I’d recommend creating an account (free) on GTmetrix that we’ll use for testing (more on this later).
Let’s dive right in to improving the speed of your WordPress website (All the following methods require zero programming knowledge).
Use a CDN or Content Delivery Network
A CDN helps to cache resources on a website (mainly static but sometimes dynamic resources as well) across multiple servers across the globe. This leads to faster website load speeds and reduced load time.
Cloudflare is a free option available to everyone. Cloudflare provides a CDN and some extra features such as security.
Enabling Cloudflare will also fix some common recommendations that show up on speed tests such as “Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)” on GTmetrix. This is super simple to implement and provides near-instant results.
Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
Many Servers Are Unable To Cache Query Strings. Removing Query Strings From Static Resources Can Improve Caching In These Cases
Use a plugin such as Remove Query Strings From Static Resources. Just install and you’re good to go. Be sure to clear cache after activating the plugin. This also fixes the warning on website speed tests such as GTMetrix and Pingdom called “Remove query strings from static resources”.
If you want a plugin with more features, check out perfmatters (affiliate link)
Some CDNs work well with query strings so your use case may vary.
Leverage Browser Caching for Google Analytics
Use the Complete Analytics Optimization Suite by Daan van den Bergh to cache Google’s resources on your server. This is not recommended nor supported by Google. This doesn’t work with other Google Analytics plugins so be sure to disable them beforehand.
You can locally cache the resources as the expiry time on Google’s end is really low (2 hours). This low expiry time is super helpful for changes to show up instantly but can other lead to longer website load times in other cases. Recommended settings for this are adding to footer.
A quick way to do this is via the WP Rocket plugin (it’s paid). It will automatically add the Gzip compression rules to your .htaccess file. Once you’ve done this, you can check how much bandwidth you’re saving with the Check Gzip Compression tool.
Depending on your hosting provider, this may already be happening on the server side. Kinsta (affiliate link) is a great WP managed hosting provider that does this and much more.
Compress Website Images
Install an image optimizer and bulk optimize all your images on the website. I’d recommend ShortPixel (affiliate link) but there are other free alternatives such as Imagify. Thumbnails should be optimized in addition to images.
It’s a good idea to enable support for the WebP format for images – this will reduce PNG image sizes by 26% & JPEGs by 25-34% while retaining an equivalent SSIM quality index. ShortPixel has an option to utilize WebP automatically on compatible browsers & show the regular PNG/JPEG on unsupported browsers. WebP will increase in usefulness as more browsers adopt and support this format.
Have a technique to share, comment below and let us know!