The internet is a galaxy of web pages which are dominated by WordPress sites. Like Coca-Cola, it is a household name in Content Management Sites. Reports claim that WordPress takes up about 60% of the CMS websites and these sites run about 30 percent of the entire internet. While these sites are made to be easy for use, they can slow down as you continue to build and add new content. Real world page speed is an important metric both for usability and SEO so it is critical to routinely make adjustments on your site.
Below is a process that can help you improve your WordPress site page speed:
Get a baseline number
It will be hard for you to track improvement if you do not have a starting point. While You can use the following tools to find that number you will improve on.
Check your engines
Make sure you have the latest updates on your WP Core and all your plugins. While this is more of a web security task, updates are often created to not only prevent vulnerabilities but to also patch some code issues. Your site will undoubtedly benefit from this activity.
Although unrelated to patching updates, it is likewise important that you install SSL on your sites. Google has started to force sites to use SSL this as a basic security feature. Adding encryption will prevent your site to be tagged “unsafe” by Google.
Serve Small Images
Images are the most common reasons a site slows down. Audit your images and see if you can resize them. Often, image dimensions are larger than needed. If the dimension size is not the issue, sift through your images and review their file sizes. High-quality images often mean larger file sizes, but this can affect load speed. Fortunately, there are a number of tools (Tinypng.com and others) that can still provide you with high-quality images without degrading display quality.
Implement Browser caching
Browser caching is often one of the most recommended items by Google PageSpeed insights. Enabling browser caching will allow you to tell your visitors how long they should keep specific resources on their computers. This will make sites load faster as many of the resources will be simply referenced from their own devices. For example, you can set a limit of cache for 2 weeks for images, and longer periods for other items like style sheets that do not change often. Your developer can do this by setting it up directly on the .htacces filer or via a plugin like W3 Total Cache
Some parting notes:
There is a balance between speed and display or functionality. It would be great to have both but if you must choose, in some cases, it is better to sacrifice a bit of page speed for higher quality images and functionality. A simple HTML site will load faster than a sophisticated image-heavy site, but it may not fulfill the needs of the customer.
Our team at NFT provides page speed updates with our website maintenance services. Contact us today to learn more.