Just think of a visitor who is eager to know about your business and out of curiosity visits your website. He/she will immediately lose interest if the website takes a huge loading time.
Usually, an internet user doesn’t prefer to wait for more than 3 seconds for a website to get loaded. In other words, the effort you put to draw traffic to your website goes in vain. The endpoint is to stop your visitors from leaving your site. Henceforth, you need to ask yourself ‘what’s your website loading time?’, ‘what can you do to increase its loading speed?’
In this blog, we will take you through a step-by-step guide that will explain to you the best tricks to speed up your site’s loading time. So, let’s get started!
How to Check Website Loading Time?
The first and foremost thing is to check how long does it take for your website to load. You can use the Pingdom Website Speed Test tool.
Just copy the URL of your website and paste it on the Pingdom tool to figure out the speed and know the website’s page size.
Besides, you can also choose Google PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your website and check how to optimize it for fetching the best performance results.
But don’t get nervous after seeing the test results if you are optimizing your site for the first time. Relax! You can still improve your results without breaking the bank. Just follow these steps.
Step 1 – Discard Useless Plugins
Plugins are excellent for enhancing WordPress features. Plugins are very easy to install and hence most of the bloggers prefer to install different plugins on their site to make it multi-functional.
However, what you need to know is that adding bulks of plugins to your site results in more server resource usage. Therefore, you must make sure to remove the non-essential plugins to speed up your site.
Every website based on WordPress contains at least one or two plugins that add no value to the site. For instance, JetPack is one such plugin that has no use. So better get rid of it and start finding plugins that are multi-functional in order to reduce the usage of server resources. For example, Yoast SEO, which is equipped with both SEO tools as well as a tool for sitemap generation.
Step 2 – Add a Caching Plugin
Your second step will be to install a caching plugin on your WordPress website.
The function of this caching plugin is to enhance the performance of your website by developing static HTML files of your web pages. This will reduce the requests that your server will receive whenever an individual visits your website. Caching plugin works by delivering an HTML page instantly rather than processing each element like icons, sidebars, logos, etc, individually on your website.
If you are aware of your way around WordPress, you can try out the WP Super Cache Plugin to set up your website caching. However, be 100% sure about your purpose before proceeding as this installation needs a few technical skills.
Step 3 – Set up a CDN
CDN or Content Delivery Network is another useful option to help fasten your site’s loading speed by distributing your site globally via a network of servers.
It is a network of servers located globally. It functions by decreasing the loading time of your main server by caching and distributing your website through the network and sending it on the basis of the geographical location of the visitor.
For instance, suppose a visitor from Malaysia lands on your website, your CDN will drag your site’s info from any of its servers in Singapore instead of collecting the info from your main server located in the US. This makes the process of content delivery to your visitor much faster thereby decreasing the load on your website’s main server and resource usage.
You can also opt for Cloudflare CDN and it is easy and free.
- Sign up for a CloudFare account for free.
- Put your site’s domain name and begin the scanning process.
- With CloudFare, your site will automatically get scanned by pulling the DNS records of your domain.
- After this, you will be able to replace the default nameservers of the domain with the Cloudflare nameservers.
- And you are done!
Step 4 – Optimize Images
The role of images cannot be ignored when it comes to creating website designs and effective blog posts. The more images you use, the more is the user engagement. On the contrary, the more images you include on your web page, the more it adds to the size of your site.
However, you can compress the size of your images in order to decrease the page size of your website. And the best thing is that you can easily do it without spending on the pricy image processing software.
Imagify and SmushIt are two effective free plugins that can be used as automatic image compressors without harming the quality of the images. Such tools will not only help you save money but also save a lot of server resources.
Besides, you should also need to avoid image hotlinking or using images that are hosted on other websites through direct URLs. As you know dragging images from other servers takes a longer time in comparison to those hosted on your own server. It will slow up your site’s loading time.
Step 5 – Lazy Load Images
If you are using a bulk of images for a long blog post, it might make the loading time slow. This means your visitors will have to wait for some time before they could view the blog.
Lazy Loading is a free plugin that helps in fixing this issue by obstructing images from loading at once. In short, the images will load one by one as and when your reader scrolls down your blog.
Step 6 – Enable Browser Caching
Just like website caching, browser caching can be used to enhance your site’s performance. On enabling browser caching, your website will store the shared elements like header/footer, logos, menus, etc on the visitor’s browser to increase the loading speed of your website.
In order to enable browser caching, you will need to access the server and edit a significant file termed .htaccess. However, do this editing very carefully as one typo error or missing letter could lead to the complete breakage of your site.
Step 7 – Use AMP
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is basically an open-source project created for enhancing the experience of web browsing on mobile. The only goal of AMP was to open websites faster and smoother like mobile apps. And it functions like that.
Once you add AMP, it will develop individual and special mobile-optimized versions of your blog posts. These AMP optimized pages will get loaded instantly on mobile devices thereby enhancing the user experience of your website.
Step 8 – Switch to HTTPS
Including an SSL certificate to your blog is not only great for speeding up your site but also for securing it. As per the recent update, Google has marked websites without an SSL certificate in the “not secure” category. Hence, shifting to HTTPS will help to build authority.
Websites based on HTTPS are much faster compared to those without SSL. You can use the Siteground plugin to shift your site from HTTP to HTTPS just with a single click.
Step 10 – Reduce HTTP Requests
An HTTP request is an application that your domain transfers to your server to extract files related to your websites, like CSS files and images, whenever someone visits your domain. The larger the number of files you have, the longer it takes for a web page to load and the more server resources it runs through.
Cutting down the number of files on your website will go a long way to improve your website’s functioning. However, if you’ve already pursued the previous steps of our guide, especially the steps involving lessening CSS, optimizing images, and establishing a CDN, then you’ve already followed the necessary steps to decrease the number of HTTP requests on your website.
Alternate Methods to Improve Website Loading Speed
If you’d like to take things a step ahead, there are many other ways to get your site speed optimized. For instance, you can shift to a faster web hosting provider or replace your present WordPress theme with a clearer and more reactive theme.
Although those steps can be a bit costly, it will significantly enhance your website performance. So take it as your Plan B. If all the above steps go wrong, then it’s possibly time for you to alter your web hosting and the theme.