How to Speed Up Your WordPress Blog

August 19, 2013

Are you worried about the speed of your blog?

You should be! Let me tell you why, and how you can speed up your blog.

Why Is Speed Important

7_How to Speed Up YouR WordPress BlogHave you ever sat there waiting for a website to load for a long time? If you have, you were probably trying to access something important, because most people don't sit and wait.

According to this Kissmetrics post, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

By having a slow blog, you are missing out on increasing your traffic. But how do you discover how slow your blog is, and what is making it slow?

How Slow Is Your Site?

You can see how slow your site loads with Pingdom's Website Speed Test. With this tool, you can see what files on your page may be slowing your website down. With this information, you could reduce the file sizes of large images or other problem files.

Personally, I like Google's PageSpeed Insights better. When you put your url into this tool, Google makes suggestions on how to speed up your website.

pagespeed insights

Common Speed Problems and How To Fix Them

Your Server is Slow

If Google is telling you that you need to improve your server response time, this is commonly because you are on shared hosting. If you don't know what this means, it basically means that your server – the space your website is on – is being shared with other websites. Generally, if you are paying $15 or less a month on hosting, then you are probably on shared hosting.

So, to fix this problem, you will need to move off shared hosting. Let me tell you – I don't think this is necessary for most new bloggers.

Yes, I know, I am saying having a fast website is important to build up your traffic, and here I am being contradictory. But this step involves spending more money. I'm saying, save your money for now. You do not need to spend the money on dedicated servers until you have been blogging for a while.

Once you have built up a sizable audience, that is when I recommend you move to a more expensive hosting package. By this stage, you have proven to yourself and the world that you are in the blogging game for the long term. Make your investment then.

Leverage Browser Caching, and Minify CSS/HTML/Javascript

This gets a bit technical, but I'll try and explain what these mean. Don't worry. The solution to both is really easy.

Browser caching involves showing people who visit your site a static page. This is quicker to download. Minifying is about having less code (CSS, HTML, Javascript) on your page. With less code, it means there is less to download, and thus speeds up your download time.

To do this on your website, I recommend the plugin – W3 Total Cache. It solves both these problems in one plugin. Remember to back up your website before you install this plugin.

w3cache

If, for some reason, W3 Total Cache doesn't work (there may be a incompatibility with some of your other plugins, for instance), there are some other plugins out there that do the trick. There is WP Super Cache for caching, and WP Minify for minifying your code.

Optimize Images

Images can take up a lot of space. When you are saving your images for your website, make sure that you save them in the best file format for the type of image you are saving. Google has a great guide on what image formats are best for what types of images. Graphic programs such as Adobe Photoshop have a “save for web” option. Check to see if your image manipulation program has such an option.

choose image filetype

You can also have a look at this easy-to-understand infographic by Katie Hudson on what file type you should choose for when saving images on the web.

Other Common Problems With WordPress Websites

After installing the above mentioned plugins and reducing your image sizes, you should see a noticeable difference with your webpage. If you are still experience speed problems, here are some more tips for wordpress blogs.

Keep Everything Updated

keep up to date
Make sure you keep everything updated. This means your WordPress installation, plugins and themes. If you leave old versions on your website, not only is your website more vulnerable to security threats, but it also can slow down your website. So when an update comes through, make sure to update it in a timely fashion.

Disable Plugins

The more plugins you have, the slower your website may be.

The thing with plugins is that with every plugin you install, you are adding more code to your website. And, because plugins are coded by different people, different plugins may interfere with each other, slowing down your website.

deactivate plugins

If you feel like your website is super slow and you can't work out why, it may be a plugin problem. The suggested fix is to disable all your plugins. See if that speeds up your website. If it does, then re-enable your plugins one at a time. Refresh your site after you enable each one. Eventually, you should see which plugin is slowing down your website. I would disable and delete the plugin from your blog, and if possible find a replacement.

bulk-deactivate

Speed Up Your Site Today!

Now that you have a speedy website, it's time to do what your website is made for; Blogging!

Let me know in the comments below what your google insights score was! (A before and after if you managed to speed up your site!)

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6 Comments

  • Allan Dubon says:

    Great article Carlie! I am working on some of these right now. I definitely want to make my site load faster. I got lots of great insights from the tools you mentioned.

    Do you recommend removing plug-ins from the home page? Thanks for all you do!

  • Dustin Hartzler says:

    Hey Carlie! One other tool that people can use is P3 Profiler. It scans your site to see what plugins might be causing a site to run slow.

    Oh and my Insight score is 85. Looks like I’ve got some work to do!

  • Some people who add so many plugins but just leave them unactivated, clogging their site quite a bit. Get rid of those if you’re not using that plugins. It’s important to update and sift through things on a site continuously.

  • Wow an awesome post and it helped me to reduce the loading speed from 20 sec to 2 sec and My hosting provider is the main problem. Shifted the site and Now it’s loading pretty fast.

  • james grills says:

    Great points mentioned. Will try them out right away. I have been using wordpress since a long time, and it is no doubt a great app. Thanks a lot.

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