The New Yorker, BBC America, Bloomberg Professional, Variety, Star Wars, Play Station. Blog, Beyonce, Bata, Usain Bolt and Quartz; what do all these have in common? Apart from being the most prominent brands and personalities in the world, they also trust WordPress (WP) as the best content management system (CMS) for their sites and blogs.
This is no surprise considering the incredible benefits of the WP CMS. Consider the ease of installation, ease of use, no HTML or FTP software required, easy customization, built-in blog, scalability and security. If you have a WordPress site or blog, you are way ahead of the competition. However, you still have work to do to maintain your lead and this is more so in optimizing your WP site loading speeds.
Your site’s loading speed greatly affects the user experience (UX), which in turn affects your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. If you are struggling with poor search engine result pages (SERPs) ranking, low conversion and high bonce rates, it is highly likely that your site’s loading speeds have reduced. Speed should be a big priority in your SEO strategy considering what recent surveys have shown.
44% of online shoppers get anxious over the success of a transaction in case of low speeds. 51% of such shoppers say they abandon a purchase due to slow loading speeds. A 2-second delay in load time during a transaction sees spikes in abandonment rates up to 87%. After improving render time by 68% on their website ancestry.com, the company witnessed a 7% positive increase in conversions.
The question then becomes, how do you boost speed on your WP website? Here are some ideas collated from the ultimate guide to faster WordPress speeds. Take a look:
- Test loading time of your site – There are many tools including Google Page Speed Insights, WebPageTest.org and Tools.Pingdom.com among others. Speed might differ due to size of a page, requests generated, caching and type of content.
- Use a lightweight WP theme/ framework – WP themes have dynamic elements such as sliders, social icons and many others but ultimately, they will impact on site speeds. Go for a lightweight framework for better loading speeds.
- Minimize image sizes – Image files increase website size and there are plugins you can use to reduce size without compromising on quality.
- Leverage browser caching – Using tools such as W3 Total Cache makes it easier to add caching rules, which reduces loading speeds.
- Content delivery network (CDN) – A CDN helps reduce loading speeds for users depending on their location. This system serves a webpage to the visitor from the nearest possible server. There are many CDNs in the market to choose from including Cloudflare and MaxCDN as they work well with most caching plugins.
Other considerations to boost your site’s loading speeds include choosing the best WP hosting service, minimizing needless HTTP requests, GZIP compression, optimizing web fonts, render-blocking resources above the fold, turning off obsolete WP features such as pingbacks and trackbacks, stopping and using lazy load plugins.