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How to Reduce WordPress Site Loading Times

 Renew Marketing    Analytics

How to Reduce WordPress Site Loading Times

Many of today’s business rely on WordPress. WordPress is an excellent web platform for usability, SEO, and speed.

You hardly need any technical knowledge to use WordPress. It’s relatively easy to make a website that is easy-to-use and viewable on both desktop and mobile devices.

But it doesn’t take long for a WordPress website to slow down. Slow WordPress speeds can undermine the success of your website. 90% of visitors click the ‘Back’ button if a website takes more than 4 seconds to load.

With that in mind, here are 5 easy ways to speed up your WordPress website and avoid losing customers to slow speeds:

5) Remove unnecessary plugins

Plugins are the number one source of website slowdowns on WordPress. Plugins demand processing power and memory. When multiple people are visiting your website at the same time, your plugins cannot access the processing power they need, which leads to slow speeds.

Click on ‘Plugins’ on the left-side of your WordPress menu. Uninstall any old, unnecessary, or little-used plugins. After uninstalling each plugin, refresh your site to see if that created a noticeable increase in speed.

In some cases, a single plugin will be dragging speeds down across your entire site. Certain plugins are slower than others. Complex scripting plugins, like AdSense plugins, typically require more processing power than other types of plugins. Other typically slow plugins include “Popular Posts” plugins and “Related Posts” plugins.

4) Make sure your theme is mobile-friendly

Open your phone’s browser and check out your website. Does it look good? Is it functional? Can customers easily access what they need to access?

A mobile-friendly design is an ideal way to engage customers. However, a mobile-friendly design is also an ideal way to increase site speeds. Mobile designs are faster, smaller, and more optimized than their desktop counterparts.

Make sure your WordPress theme is optimized for use on mobile devices. If not, then switch to a theme that is. Mobile users can’t spend ten seconds waiting for a poorly-optimized website to load.

3) Consider caching plugins

There are two popular caching plugins for WordPress: WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. Each of these caching plugins caches site data to improve loading times.

Thanks to caching plugins, your site visitors can load all necessary data the first time they visit your site. Then, every time they click on a new page, their browser only has to load the unique content on that page instead of reloading most of the site’s content.

In the past, caching plugins were highly technical and relatively complex. Today, both plugins listed above are relatively user-friendly.

2) Compress images

The more images you have on your site, the longer it will take to load. That lesson is as old as the internet itself.

By compressing images, you can save yourself a considerable amount of loading time. You can compress images using plugins like WP Smush It, which automatically compresses images as you upload them. Try installing that plugin and re-uploading all your images to see if that makes a difference.

Alternatively, you can scan through all your blog posts and webpages to identify large image files. You may have accidentally uploaded a full HD image in-place of a thumbnail, for example, in which case you can save website visitors a lot of time by re-uploading that picture.

1) Switch to a new web host

If you tried all of the above tips and still haven’t increased website speeds, then you may need to switch to a new host.  If your site is large or has functionality requirements that use up more bandwidth than a typical website – if your site includes an online store for example, then typical shared website hosting may not be sufficient for your needs.

Today, web hosts come in all different price and quality levels. If you’re paying less than $15 per month for web hosting, then you are likely in a shared server environment where your site is competing with others for bandwidth.  This may not be an issue if your site is relatively lean and doesn’t require a ton of bandwidth to run.  Shared hosting is definitely the most cost-effective solution for many businesses, especially smaller organizations.

If you have a more robust website that requires more than shared hosting, then you should consider paying for a dedicated server or, at the very least, a virtual private server.  These solutions will provide exactly what a more resource intensive website requires, but they also come with an increased price tag.