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Importance Of Speed

A site that loads quickly will have better conversion rates and more traffic. Site performance is a really important factor in Google search rankings. Google prioritises getting information to users as quickly as possible.

A site that loads slowly will lead to lower search engine rankings, less site traffic and create a poor user experience that more than likely will deter a potential customer from revisiting your site.

How to check your website’s speed:

Google’s PageSpeed tool gives you a full performance score and a breakdown of suggestions on how to make your website faster.

Ways to improve speed

Listed below are 10 ways to improve your WordPress performance and site speed without any coding.

WordPress caching plugin

A good WordPress caching plugin can make your website up to 5x faster if configured correctly. Caching plugins serve a cached version of your web page each time the user visits after their first visit. 

At Apex Media, we use and recommend W3 Total Cache. This is a WordPress plugin that increases website performance by reducing load times.

Benefits

  • Improvement in overall site performance
  • Reduced load time
  • Bandwidth savings
  • Improvements in search engine results
  • Improved server performance

Key Features

  • CDN Management
  • Minify CSS
  • Minify JS
  • Defer non critical JavaScript and CSS
  • Lazy Loading

Hosting

Hosting plays an important role in website performance. With a shared hosting package you share resources with other websites. This means that if another website on that shared server gets a lot of traffic, it has the potential to slow down your site significantly.

Managed WordPress hosting is another option. These hosting providers give you more optimised server configurations to run WordPress. They typically also offer automatic updates, automatic backups and more WordPress specific security measures to keep your site safe.

Optimise images

Images can slow down websites significantly, especially if they are not optimised. Images in their original formats can have enormous file sizes. To reduce these file sizes you should export with image compression when using your image editing software. Optimising images will decrease load times and improve your SEO.

Lazy loading

If you have a site with a lot of images you should consider using Lazy loading. Lazy loading only downloads the images and video embeds that are on-screen. All other images and embeds will be replaced by a placeholder image until the user scrolls down. The placeholder images will then be replaced by your original images as the user continues to scroll.

Text compression

Using a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache, we should minify all content that can be minified and use GZIP text compression. 

CSS and Javascript minifiers are a great way to improve performance. Use Google’s PageSpeed tool as a guide on which files you should minify.

Keep your site updated

WordPress is constantly being updated. An update often comes with new features as well as bug fixes and added security measures. 

We recommend always keeping your site, theme and plugins up to date. Neglecting this may slow down your site and leave your site open to security threats.

Use a CDN

A Content Delivery Network(CDN) is a network of servers that are linked all over the world that store static files. These static files consist of your unchanging files like CSS, Images and Javascript files. With a CDN, the user will see the static files from the nearest data point. This serves to shorten the distance between the user and the website. Instead of connecting to the website’s original server every time the user loads the website, a CDN allows the user to connect to a data point that is geographically closer, reducing load time.

Avoid video & audio files

Video and audio files can use up a lot of bandwidth. While WordPress can hold video & audio files, we strongly discourage it. YouTube and Vimeo are great third party options for hosting video and SoundCloud can be used for audio. This puts all the bandwidth load on the third party providers, all you have to do is embed the content on your site.

Use the latest PHP version

PHP is a server side language that runs on your hosting server. PHP is constantly being improved upon and each large release to date has seen significant performance boosts. Make sure to check with your host to see if they are using the latest PHP version.

You can check your PHP version by going to the WordPress dashboard, Selecting Tools > Site health and hitting the info tab.

Limit and delete old post revisions

Old post and page revisions are stored in your database. This can slow down your website as plugins may search through old revisions unnecessarily. We suggest using the WP Revisions Control plugin to delete old revisions and set a limit on post revisions going forward.

If you don’t want to use a plugin you can add the following line of code to your wp-config.php file and set the value to the number of revisions you wish to store:

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 4 );

Give it a try

We encourage you to try out these techniques and jump into a page speed tool to compare your site’s performance and health after implementation. 

If you are unsure about any of these techniques or are worried about your site’s performance, we offer a free performance audit for any website.

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