Websites work at near-instant speed now. Every year, consumers push innovators further toward speed and efficiency. This competition of who can do it the best and the fastest has given us the internet as it is today. Any website worth visiting fully loads before you even realize it. So if your website does not follow suit, you could find yourself struggling to keep up.
To learn more about ways to optimize WordPress website speed, navigate through the article using the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
What is WordPress Speed?
When we talk about WordPress speed, we are not talking about how fast WordPress loads for you. If you are having issues with load times involving making changes to your website, that is a different problem. It might be related in some way to your WordPress site speed, but it is not the primary issue we are looking at.
Your WordPress speed refers to how fast pages and content loads for visitors to your WordPress website. It involves several different factors all working together. These range from how fast the pages load to how quickly the images and other content appear. It can be affected by any downloadable content you have hosted on your site too.
Why Does WordPress Site Speed Matter?
When you look at starting a website and get hosting, you are bombarded by claims of high speed. Most hosts like to point out that they have incredible speeds available. It sometimes sounds like speed is the only thing that matters. While that is far from the truth, speed is really important.
There are many factors that form a visitor’s impression of your website. The very first is whether your site is actually up or not. But immediately after that comes speed. How fast did the webpage pull up? How long did it take before they could read the text? When did the images load above the fold (a concept we will go over later in the article)? Even before they can judge your web design skills, they experience how quick it is.
In the 1990s, it was more acceptable to wait for websites to load. It was the standard. We understood that a significant amount of data was pushing through the phone line, so we waited. Things are much more different today. Anything slower than instant gets a red mark. It is not uncommon for users to back out of a site without ever seeing a page. All it takes is a full second or two of a blank, white screen for them to bail. Even though your site will likely load much faster on later visits due to caching, it will not even get that chance sometimes. You need to make sure your site performs as quickly as possible.
Site speed is expected so much now that it is going to be a specific ranking factor for SEO starting in 2021. Before, site speed issues were not directly taken into consideration. Instead, it would be more indirect. One example is that since slower sites saw more bounces, that affected the ranking. However, speed will be directly taken into consideration when determining where a website is placed on search results. So it is more important than ever to optimize your WordPress website speed.
How to Use a WordPress Speed Test
What is the best way to find out how fast your site is? It does not help for you to visit your own site and count how long it takes for things to load. Your website is likely cached on your computer and phone. That significantly lowers load times. Even clearing your cache and visiting your website does not help much. Your personal, anecdotal experience means very little in regard to site speed. If your computer is running slow, it may appear that your site is slow.
The good news is that there are many tools online that act as a WordPress speed test. Many of these services are free services. The hope of these services is that if you are dissatisfied with your website’s speed then you will buy one of their products to make it faster. You can always ignore those and take advantage of the speed test. In these cases, all you have to do is put in the domain you want to test. You can also often pick a server location to test performance across distance.
Then, the speed test will usually calculate ping, upload times, and download times. You can take these results and compare them with a few similar or competing sites. That is the best way to see how you might measure up.
How to Optimize WordPress Website Speed
If you are concerned about your speed level, what do you do about it? Well, there are a few things you can do. Your choices depend on what is causing the issue.
Sometimes, the problem is just that a website has redundant code or poorly optimized coding. The website knows to load how it is configured. If that configuration is complicated, then the computers and servers have to resolve that coding before the site can fully load.
There are many tools and plugins that can help identify performance issues in the backend of your website. They can even give you suggestions on how to handle them.
A common issue with websites is with having too much content on a single page. Having a lot of high-quality images, videos, etc. on your website can slow speeds down more than anything else. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot have these things on your website. It only means you need to be more effective and creative with displaying it.
For images, you can do things like thumbnailing. Instead of forcing your website to load the full resolution image, you can have it display a much lower resolution and smaller version as a thumbnail. If users want a closer look, they can click on the image. Now, your site has an easier time loading the page. And if your visitor clicks on that image, it only has to display that image instead of the full image as well as the rest of a webpage.
You can also make sure to implement the tactic of lazy loading. While that term might sound bad, it is actually an incredibly useful tool for websites. If you have a lot of images on a single webpage, it is likely that users will need to scroll in order to see them all. Originally, websites loaded every single image on the entire page when someone visited it. Now, we can be smarter about it. Instead, we can have our websites load the images that are above the fold. that way, the rest of the webpage can load much faster. Then, when the user scrolls, newly revealed images can be loaded as they are reached.
Your web hosting is what powers your website. The hardware it uses and its configuration define how quickly your website operates. A host with great hardware for fast speeds can often compensate for poorly optimized coding. On the other hand, a website host that cuts corners on your site’s performance can leave your website loading slowly regardless of how optimized it is. Your hosting is a great example of how to improve WordPress site speed.
That is why it is important to find a reputable host with a track record for incredible and reliable speeds, like WP Super Host. We have our team working hard to keep our websites running at peak efficiency. This includes offering fast speeds and maximum uptime. And on top of that, we offer a speed report that you can use to help make sure you are getting the most out of your website. Our site speed report is a fantastic tool that can help you identify any potential issues before they become harmful.
These factors and more are what make WP Super Host the best choice for web hosting. Our engineers and support agents are working around the clock to keep the system running smoothly and answer your questions. We have different packages to suit your needs, so make sure to look at the hosting options we offer right away.
How to increase page speed in WordPress
Sometimes, the issue is not with the entire website itself. There can be a specific page that is causing a problem. Unfortunately, even one slow page can hurt the entire website. It is important to understand what it is about that particular page that is causing the issue. It is likely that it is related to a coding error or having too much content. What makes this webpage different from the others?
Once you figure that out, it is all about learning what about these differences is causing the slow speeds. Some of the errors are likely red herrings, but that is not true globally. Pages do not run slow for no reason. Even if you are unable to determine the cause, there is something specifically causing the problem. By the end, if you are not able to figure out anything wrong, there is nothing wrong with removing the page altogether and recreating it from scratch. And the new page should be created in stages. That way, if you notice a dip in performance, you have a much better chance of figuring out what the culprit is.
Now more than ever, it is crucial to optimize WordPress website speed for your blog. Pay attention to your speed, test appropriately, and take steps to address issues. Many potential problems may be small. These can build up over time, so it is best to take care of them as soon as you notice them.
Sometimes, the issue is not as simple as that. There can be a fundamental at play. When you notice that your website hosting is causing or adding to problems with site speed, it is time for a change. Do not let your blog suffer from insufficient hosting. Find a host like WP Super Host that can breathe new life and speed into your site.