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A guide to improve website speed and performance

Reading Time: 5 minutes

How to improve website speed and performance.

When we visit webpages we often see that some pages load faster, while others are loading slower. What is the reason of why it is happening? What influences the speed of loading? Why do those faster loading pages attract more people rather than slower ones? How to improve website speed?

Today we are going to tell you about what is loading speed. Why it is important to keep the keep your website fast. Which elements have an influence on it? As well as how to make your website faster.

Website loading speed, what is it?

So what is website loading speed? It is the speed of how fast the pages of your website are loading. There are multiple reasons to keep it fast. According to some researches, people who are searching for things they need, are more likely to do it on the fast loading websites. Slow speed reduces the interest rate of a person since he is looking for it now and need the outcome as soon as possible.

For example, your website is related to selling goods online, and the loading time is 5-6 seconds. Whereas your competitors’ website loading time is 2-3 seconds. It is more likely that customers will visit their website since it is more convenient. That will result in the loss of your profit.

How to improve website speed.

Now that we know what the loading speed is the question we have is- how can we make it faster since our current speed is not satisfying us as website owners’. Let’s take a brief scroll on what the reasons can be:

  1. we need to find out if our website is hosted correctly, if it is not it may slow it down.
  2. if the website is provided with the caching system, if not it is another reason that slows it down or even may cause the website to crash on loading.
  3. if all the media files we have are suited for the web, since every image file has its own weight, the more it weighs the longer it takes to load it.
  4. if the plugin used to create the website is coded and working correctly.
  5. is the website contains any external information such as additional fonts, ads, etc.

So let us take a more detailed look at every reason on how can we improve website speed of your website.

How to choose a hosting company.

Hosting, having a good server to set up your website is a crucial point. You need a stable and secure company that provides server hosting to put your website on or get a good server yourself- you don’t want it to be hacked or working on an old server that can’t provide better speed due to lack of operating memory or old processor. As well as not forgetting to create backup files to be sure that in any case you have it safe and working if you face some trouble at some point.

Next step, after you have found a decent server to host your website, you can try to optimize your website. We will provide you some tips on how you can do it without coding.

Page loading on a visit.

Since WordPress pages are “dynamic”, they are building that very moment someone visits that page. WordPress runs processes that search and find the date of a specific page, construct it and then show it to the visitor. These processes are doing multiple steps, and since it makes every page to a certain visitor, it can slow down the speed if there are multiple people who visit that page. To avoid this problem we advise you to use a caching plugin that can improve website speed from x2 up to x5 faster than without it. Caching creates a copy of a page from the first time it was visited, and after it just loads this copy to every person that visits it instead of loading it every time. In WordPress, there are caching plugins that you can find in the plugin tab.

How un-optimized media files influence website.

Images and image optimization for your website. Another important issue is whether the media files you use are fit to be uploaded to the website. In terms of “weight”, it is important to remember the less the file weights the faster it will allow your website to load. Image files that are not fit to be used on the web make it one of the most common problems that slow down the loading speed. You can install an image optimizer plugin to decrease its size without dramatically lowering the quality of an image.

Plugins and optimization, setting up your website.

Keeping your WordPress and plugin version up to date is also widely recommended to avoid troubles, not doing so may result in your website slowing down or even crashing multiple times.

Let’s assume that previous steps are already made and your WordPress is of the latest version, what else can you do to improve the speed?

Optimizing background processes, using excerpts and CDN, limiting comment amounts that are being shown can improve it.

To optimize background processes we need to look into cron jobs to publish posts, cron jobs for updates, backup plugin tasks, search engine, and other crawlers. If cron jobs for scheduled posts and updates do not have a huge impact on a website, then backup plugin and frequent search engine usage does have it and can slow down your website. You can make a backup plugin to stat when there is low traffic time on your website. Adjust how often the backups and data are being backed up. With crawling, you need to monitor it from time to time in your Google Search console since frequent crawls that end up with error can slow down or make your website unresponsive.

Content Delivery Network what it is and how it works.

CDN or Content Delivery Network. Since your website is located in a particular country it can affect the speed of people who visit your website from another country. Let’s take an example: your server is located in Canada. Users who visit it in Canada will have a better loading speed in comparison with people from the UK or the USA. Using CDN can help by speeding uploading for all the users who visit your website since it is a network made from servers all around the world. Where every server will store “static” files to build up your website. These files are holding files that do not change: images, JavaScript and CSS.

Comment amount influence on speed.

If you have blog posts and comment sections available for them, you can be sure that some of them will have lots of comments. But if you see that the amount of comments is rapidly growing in numbers be sure that it will affect your website speed. To avoid that you can split them in pages by doing following. Settings> Discussions and applying “Break comments into pages” option, and also applying how much comments you want to have on every page.

Database, how to keep it fine and working.

Also, you can try to increase speed by lowering the request and database call amount. If you decide to use pre-made themes or plugins it is possible that they may contain scripts, stylesheets or images from other websites like google, facebook or other. Solution on decreasing requests is quite easy – just merge them in one file. On the other hand, reducing database calls requires basic knowledge of PHP and WordPress template files. Sadly, but most parts of WordPress themes are poorly coded, they ignore standard practices and are making direct database calls or unnecessary requests into the database. Those requests will surely slow down your website. So be sure that before installing a theme you at least check comments and ratings.

After using WordPress for some time your database will hold a lot of information that is no longer required that you can get rid of. This can be easily done with WordPress Seep plugin that allows you to clean your database by deleting trashed posts, unused tags, etc.

If you plan that your website will hold a lot of media like videos, photo galleries or images, you can use Lazy Loading plugin to improve productivity. It uses a placeholder for all media files you have and loads them only when a visitor scrolls down to the part where the particular item is. Allowing your website to use less memory on loading and holding all images at once.

Well, it looks like that’s it and I hope that this material helped you to improve your WordPress website speed. With this, you can try and adjust your website for better performance.

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Why Website Maintenance is Important?

Importance of website maintenance is always the question for any business, regardless of its size. Owning a website is just like owning a brand new car.

Alexey Seryapin

Alexey is a WordPress wizard with 8 years of experience as a lead developer, He has launched 300+ WordPress websites and 50+ WooCommerce shops.

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