There are so many factors that can influence customer engagement with your website. Videos and bright colors will attract certain audiences, while they might drive others away. Which traffic source they came from can impact whether a viewer is likely to stay on your site and make a purchase or leave as quickly as they arrived. When you’re considering which aspects of your site to focus on, you can’t forget about page speed. Making your site load faster could be the key to unlocking untapped markets and boosting your sales. Consider these statistics: 47% of customers expect a site to load within 2 seconds of their arrival, 52% of people who shop online say that load time is important to their site loyalty, and for every 1 second of delay, customer satisfaction declines by 16%. (Want to get more statistics on your own users? Check out our guide to the 3 Google Analytics reports small businesses really need.) It’s hard to overstate the importance of having a site that loads quickly and correctly, regardless of whether users are on desktop or mobile.
How to Make Your Site Load Faster
Once you recognize the importance of having a fast-loading site, you are constantly chomping at the bit to find more ways to speed up your site. Unfortunately, many of the methods prescribed by tech sites are complicated and require pre-existing knowledge. That’s why we created this list to show you how to quickly and easily boost your page speed.
Run a Site Speed Diagnosis
Before you resolve your speed problems, you have to understand how bad they are and where they’re coming from. While you can get an idea of speed problems by visiting your website yourself, the best way to get a view of where consistent problems are coming from is by using an external site speed diagnosis. There are lots of tools out there, and it’s generally a good idea to use more than one in order to get a broad, consistent picture. Some of our favorite tools are https://tools.pingdom.com/ and https://www.uptrends.com/tools/website-speed-test. There are also templates for conducting your own speed test.
Consider Switching Themes
While themes and templates are a big part of the appeal of WordPress, themes can pose a lot of problems off the shelf. If your theme is more complicated than it needs to be, or if there are “big” features you can’t turn off, it might be time to consider slimming down to a smaller, lighter theme. Depending on the size and complexity of your site, this might be a time-consuming task. However, if it substantially boosts your speed, it will be worth it.
To Make Your Site Load Faster, Cut Down on Plugins
With thousands of options for customizing and tricking out your site, plugins are an amazing way to make your WordPress site fit your needs. However, not every plugin is a keeper – some are fool’s gold (shiny, but they’ll weigh you down beyond belief). If you feel comfortable with it, you can try load testing WordPress plugins on your own. The first step, though, is to delete any redundant or unused plugins. Try replacing your existing plugins with highly recommended ones that have been shown to run well without slowing down sites. You can even check out side-by-side comparisons of various plugins, like our past post about SEOPress vs. Yoast. But don’t take that big box of plugins to the dumpster just yet – you need to make sure you or your developer does the proper cleanup after uninstalling the plugin.
Minify Your Code
Minification is essentially the process of “compressing” or cleaning up the back end of your site. After months or years, that code can get really messy, and it can seriously slow down your performance. By removing unnecessary characters, you can quickly improve your site’s load time. There are lots of options for minification; existing WordPress plugins designed for minification are a popular choice.
Ensure Your Images are Optimized
If all the images on your site are png’s, that may be causing your speed problems. With images and media taking up 63% of bandwidth on the average site, they are often the culprit of long loads. Various image file formats contain different amounts of detail (and thus data). If all the images on your site are large, detailed photos, this can be problematic. Some images need to be as clear and large as possible, but oftentimes, background images or small images don’t need to be of the high quality that png’s represent. Because of this, jpg’s are often a better choice for much of the media on your site.
Beyond file type, you can often compress images so that they’re smaller within their file format. Ideally, you want to compress and optimize images before uploading them to your site, but if you’re only now getting around to this, no worries. Check out these further tips on how to optimize images for WordPress.