Why speed up the loading of pages on your site WordPress? And how to do it, perhaps without technical development skills?
In this article we will try to answer these 2 questions as thoroughly as possible. Let's start with some good reasons for speeding up a WordPress (and non-Pressure) site.
Why speed up your WordPress site
There are mainly 4 benefits you can have by increasing the loading speed of your WordPress site:
- reduce the Bounce Rate (if you have not already implemented a modified rebound rate)
- increase the conversion rate
- improve organic ranking (SEO)
- increase the Quality Score of Google ADS
Let's look at these points.
Reduce the bounce rate
It's Google itself that confirms how an increase of a few seconds in loading time leads to an increase of dozens of points in the possibility of bounce rate:
Increase Conversion Rate
If your WordPress site is slow to load, the user will leave: but if they leave, they won't convert. Not surprisingly, numerous studies show that even a 1 second delay in page load time can reduce conversions by almost 7%.
Improve SEO Ranking and Quality Score of Google Ads
In addition to benefits that we will see from the point of view of bounce rate and conversion rate, from mid-June the Core Web Vitals, focused precisely on loading speed, will officially become a ranking factor SEO.
Not only that: the experience on the landing page, even from a loading speed perspective, could negatively affect the Quality Score by Google Ads.
So, how do you know if your WordPress site speed is fast or slow?
3 tools for a speed test of your WordPress site
Page Speed Insights
PageSpeed Insights (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?hl=it) is one of the tools in the Google Page Speed Tools family and helps identify the best performance practices on any website, providing tips on optimizing a web page general ideas on how to make a website faster.
You can access this tool directly from any browser. Per URL request, it rates web page performance on a scale of 1-100 and provides a report on suggested optimizations on mobile and desktop, broken down into high, medium, and low priority categories.
One way to check the speed of your WordPress site is also via MonsterInsights (www.monsterinsights.com), which shows a site speed report within the WordPress dashboard, so you don't have to leave the website to check its performance.
MonsterInsights is the one of the most popular WordPress plugins by Google Analytics and it also helps you to configure the analysis without modifying the code. You can also use the plugin to add advanced monitoring features like monitoring ecommerce, file downloads, form conversions, form analytics and more in just a few clicks.
Let's see how to use MonsterInsights to check the loading speed of your WordPress site.
- To get started, download and install MonsterInsights on your WordPress site.
- Next, connect Google Analytics to WordPress using the setup wizard.
- Once the plugin is active, go to Insights "Reports" Site Speed. You'll see an overall score of your website's load time for desktop and mobile devices in the report.
The report also shows other metrics to speed up your WordPress site, along with a goal and how to improve each metric that is part of the Core Web Vitals to make your website load faster.
Here's a breakdown of each Core Web Vitals metric in the report:
- Server response time: It is time for the server to respond to a data request and load the website.
- First Contentful Paint: This metric measures the loading time of visual elements on your website, such as images, fonts and theme.
- Time to Interactive: The difference in time between when the website first loads and when it is no longer loaded for the user.
- Total lockout timeYou can use it to measure the time it takes for people to interact with your website.
Now that you know how to control WordPress site speed, let's take a look at some strategies to improve your WordPress site load time.
The Benefits section of SEOZoom (www.seozoom.it), the well-known Italian software for SEO, provides data based on PageSpeed Insights related to the indicated template pages, from mobile and desktop, suggesting improvement actions.
Not only that: the "Page Loading Info" TAB provides the MS loading times of the various page elements:
How to speed up your WordPress site
The speed of your WordPress site depends on many factors. It could include the hosting of your website, the plugins you're using, images, external scripts, and more.
Let's take a look at them one by one with 13 tips to speed up the loading of a WordPress site from mobile and desktop.
1. Choose a fast WordPress hosting
L'hosting of websites is where all the files and content of your website are stored. And using the right type of hosting can speed up or slow down your website.
Shared or dedicated hosting?
The best shared WordPress hosting services assure you the best performance and website speeds are fast. But the disadvantage of using shared hosting is that you use the same server resources as other websites. If other websites attract a lot of traffic, they will need these resources more than you. As a result, it might affect the speed of your WordPress website.
An alternative solution to this problem to switch to managed WordPress hosting. You can get server resources according to your needs and they won't be shared with other websites. Dedicated hosting also offers benefits like automatic updates, backups, advanced security features and more.
Some hosting providers that provide WordPress solutions with a focus on speed are:
- Liquid Web: premium performance hosting provider, offers dedicated WordPress hosting and boasts a loading speed of less than 338 milliseconds (0.338 seconds, well below the recommended 3)
- Other hosting providers that provide WordPress solutions with a greater or lesser focus on speed are: GoDaddy, Hostinger, NameCheap, CloudWays.
2. Use a cache plugin to speed up WordPress
A caching plugin for your WordPress site can help reduce the loading time of your website and improve server response time.
Every time a visitor opens your website in a browser, WordPress gets that data from the database and has to perform several steps to generate the web page. This can slow down your website when many people visit your site at the same time.
A caching plugin temporarily stores frequently requested information and speeds up the speed of your website:
- copy the page after the first loading
- shows the cached version to the user when he opens the site
This allows WordPress to skip many steps and you don't have to generate each page from scratch.
A solution I use myself is WPRocket, a caching plugin that actually has numerous features to speed up WordPress, from caching to lazy loading of images, iframes and videos, to minification of HTML, CSS, JS and more.
Several WordPress hosting services also offer caching solutions. And if you're using a managed hosting service, you don't need to download a plugin separately, as the caching feature is built-in and active by default.
3. Compress images
Having large images can also have a big impact on the speed of your WordPress site.
Large image means more time to load when a visitor views the web page.
To optimize your images, you can use different image compression tools like Imagify.
Imagify (https://wp-rocket.me/imagify/), supplied with WPRocket, compresses images without leaving the WordPress site, works with all formats and also creates a WebP version.
4. Use a CDN
The location of your web hosting server and the location of your visitor can affect the speed of your website.
A CDN is a network of servers located in different locations that cache your sites static content such as images, fonts and stylesheets. By using a content delivery network or CDN, you can speed up a WordPress site by making sure it loads quickly for visitors, no matter where they are. When a user requests to view your website, a CDN delivers cached content from the nearest server and loads your website without delay.
Let's take an example: suppose a visitor located in Italy visits your website, but your website is hosted on a server located in the United States. The visitor will experience slow loading times compared to someone residing in Italy.
MaxCDN is one of the most famous and widely used historical CNDs for WordPress as well.
WP Rocket CDN
WPRocket, the aforementioned cache plugin for WordPress, provides a CDN (https://wp-rocket.me/rocketcdn/) to reduce latency, round-trip time (RTT) and bandwidth costs. Rocket CDN is easy to configure.
In the screenshot below, the test site is hosted in Europe, so the load time from Vancouver was compared to see what difference RocketCDN would make. As you can see, it's about 1 second faster.
5. Update WordPress
Keeping WordPress up to date fixes bugs, protects against security issues but most importantly adds new features, which sometimes positively impact load times.
For example, the update Esperanza Spalding allows slow loading of iframes. By default, WordPress will add a loading = "lazy" attribute to iframe tags when both width and height are specified.
To check for the latest version, login to your WordPress site and go to Dashboard "Updates. You can check for new updates and install them on your website.
6. Choose a fast WordPress theme
A poorly coded wordpress theme could negatively impact the speed of WordPress.
There are many themes specifically focused on fast loading times: as a general rule, a simple theme without many animations, complex layouts, flashy design is recommended.
From an up-to-date, data-in-hand guide to the performance of WordPress themes from Kinsta, The 11 Fastest WordPress Themes of 2021 (with In-depth Tests), this ranking emerges:
As you can see Hello, the theme of Elementor (www.elementor.com), followed by Neve and Astra.
7. Pay attention to the Page Builder
Staying on the topic of Page Builders like ElementorPay attention to the performance impact: some of them, loading additional CSS and JS may delay loading.
If you want to learn more, I recommend reading this article with a comparison of 5 popular page builders for WordPresswhich shows that Elementor and Beaver Builder are among the best performing Page Builders.
8. Preloading fonts
As with themes, fonts can also impact the speed of your WordPress site. Fonts that display quickly means that users won't have to wait for them to load.
On the other hand, using too many custom fonts can slow down your website. One tip is to choose a single font for your website and use it throughout your site, perhaps choosing it from within Google Fonts.
From a font perspective, WPRocket (www.wp-rocket.me), it gives you the possibility to preload fonts.
9. Disable and delete slow and inactive plugins
Having a lot of plugins can worsen the performance of your WordPress site: plugins are often not only not designed with performance in mind but, even when removed, they can leave tables and rows in the database, which over time could cause slowdowns.
How to proceed?
- First of all you can use a plugin ;), P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler, which measures the impact on site performance of plugins on your WordPress site
- as a second step, have you ever thought about cleaning the database tables?
10. Optimize the WordPress database
A few lines above, talking about plugins, we talked about database cleaning: but how to do it?
The easiest way to clean up your database is to use the WP Sweep WordPress plugin. It's a free plugin and you can clean up unused tags, posts moved to the trash, revisions, auto drafts and more.
Since every WordPress plugin and theme adds these files to the frontend of your website, they can slow down the speed of your website and prevent a page from loading properly.
A quick way to fix the rendering blockage is to once again use the WP Rocket plugin.
I recommend you to turn on the settings one at a time, clear the cache, check if something is skipped in the template, check for performance improvements.
12. Don't upload video and audio directly to WordPress
A good practice to follow to speed up your WordPress site is to not directly upload video and audio files: by taking up a lot of bandwidth and increasing the size of the backup, it can impact the performance of your WordPress site.
One possible solution is to embed all your media files via YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion, who offer embed codes for all their videos, by copying the code and embedding it into your website. WordPress also has an embedded embedding feature that adds the media file to your content without having to host it on your server.
Using a Gutenberg embed block, enter the URL of any video or audio file. After inserting the link to your media file, click the Embed button and WordPress will display the video or audio on your website.
13. Use Lazy Load
Slow or delayed loading allows you to download only images and videos that are visible on the visitor's screen, avoiding preloading everything: as a user scrolls down the page, loading images and other media files are visible in the browser's display area.
Using the Lazy Loading by WPRocket (www.wp-rocket.me), you can also further improve the performance of embedded videos by delaying their display.
Yes, it's the same one you see in action in the pictures in this article!
14. Split articles and comments into multiple pages, use excerpts
Another popular practice to speed up your WordPress site is:
- subdivide very long posts;
- Split comment sections into multiple pages;
- view an extract of the content.
Let's start with the first point.
Split articles into multiple pages
If having very long articles can help you to intercept the search intent and position yourself better for keywords of long tailOn the other hand, in long articles it is possible that there are also many images, iframes, videos, which could delay the loading of the page.
The same goes for comments, which if present in large quantities may slow down loading.
How to proceed? For articles, simply break them up into multiple pages with pagination, with 3 benefits:
- helps in the fruition of the content;
- increases views, especially if you're an online publisher;
- can have a positive impact on performance.
To split your content, edit any post or page, then add a page break block. If you use the classic editor, add the tag in the Text View where you want to break the article. You can also use the Alt + Shift + P from the keyboard to add page breaks.
Split comments into multiple pages
Comments can also be split into multiple pages.
To do this, go to Discussion" settings and scroll down to the More Comment Settings section. Next, check the box that says Break comments on pages.
Use extracts on home page and archives
In addition to breaking up your blog posts and comments into multiple pages, another way to speed up your WordPress site can be to show excerpts on the home page and archive pages.
By default, WordPress displays full articles on your home page and in the archives.
Uploading the entire blog post at once:
- your website may take a long time to load;
- people will not feel the need to visit your article, thus decreasing page views and time spent on the page .
One possible solution to improve the speed and performance of your website is to show excerpts instead of full articles on the home page and in the archives.
You can do that by going to Settings "Read and then change the option to For each post in a feed, include in Summary.