Many publishers are very aware of the importance of promoting their site, they try to create quality content, build a link system from authoritative and relevant sources, and devote a lot of resources to the design of the site. It is therefore surprising to see that there are still many sites that neglect such an important factor and that it is so easy to improve. I am speaking of course about the loading time of the site.
So I gathered a few methods on how to increase website speed for WordPress and list them in this article.

This is not about Google Pagespeed scores – because any connection between them and actual reality and rankings is coincidental. I’m talking about the actual speed – it’s more efficient to measure with tools like Pingdom but also the feeling – and the surfing experience itself. This speed has a significant impact on SEO. In one extreme case, I was able to reduce the images of a  website, with each image weighing over 10 megabytes (!!), and this brought the rankings to the sky.

There are three main reasons why you should always maintain short load times:

Slow load times reduce user experience – this results in high abandonment rates and lowered conversion rates. In simple language, if your site is slow and boring, surfers will leave it before they buy anything or leave details. Surfers lose patience very quickly and abandon the site. Some promise themselves that they will return to it, of course, this does not usually happen. Load times in general only improve over time with improvements in infrastructure and technology. This means that you must monitor this figure and make sure that compared to other sites your site is fast.

Your search results will be affected by long loading times – Google ranks the sites by weighting many factors. One of the most important factors is user experience and one of the important factors in that experience is load speed. Google has the ability to analyze the loading speed of your site directly or to draw conclusions from other factors such as large abandonment rates. It is unlikely that a site with long loading times will appear at the top of the results.

Google’s crawl has no time – Google is budgeting a certain amount of time per site. Crawling requires a lot of resources when it’s done in dimensions that Google does. If your site loads slowly, Google’s crawler will come and scan a few pages. This means that different site updates will not be published in the search results or will be published too late.

I hope these are sufficient reasons for you to check the subject and take care of it on your site. This article was written for the owners of WordPress sites. This is a common platform enough for us to devote an article of its own.

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Improves loading times in WordPress, in practice

Here are some points for improvement and useful tips you can implement on your WordPress site to make it faster. All these tips do not require any knowledge of programming.

Photo handling

Good, high-quality images are a very important factor for the user experience on your site. Many site owners upload images that are too heavy. I’m not sure what it stems from, perhaps out of fear that the images will not be accepted nicely on the site? Maybe it’s just a lack of awareness. You have to understand something basic. The screen has a certain resolution and image on a certain size site. When we load an image with more pixels than the screen can show, the number of pixels and image quality are determined by the screen. In versions of a mobile phone where the size of the picture is small, the phenomenon is even more pronounced. In practice this means that many images can be reduced without any damage to quality. Moreover, images can still be compressed with minimal damage to quality, such that it will not be felt at all by the surfer. The insistence on compressing images to the bare minimum will dramatically improve load speed.

Image compression can be done with dedicated plugins such as the EWWW Image Optimizer that works directly on the server. You’ll need to make sure your server allows the plugin to run because it takes resources from it. You can also use external software such as Imsanity and the like. Anyone who works with a graphic designer can set the exact size of the images and request them in the appropriate density. Note that you may need two or three size versions for the same image. This happens if the same image is used in all sorts of locations, such as a background image or part of a gallery.

Using a CDN

When our server needs to handle many requests from remote users, there may be a problem that is somewhat like a traffic jam on the road. The solution is to send and distribute the site’s content to multiple points spread across different locations. Once a browser requests to load a page from the site, it will load from the same point that the information is stored and not from the server of the site. This makes it easier for the server and allows to load the site more quickly even in remote locations.

Using the Content Delivery Network is done by registering for the service, there are also good free providers such as: CloudFlare, Incapsula, Google App Engine.

CACHE extensions

The “traffic jam” issues and the burden on the server described in the previous section can be solved in a way. If using CDN we create more copies of the site or its parts in locations close to the user, another solution is to actually maintain a computer that uses elements of the site. This is done by setting the browser browser’s CACHE. On the first visit to the site, all the elements selected on his computer are loaded. On the next visit, the loading of those elements will be done from the CACHE of his computer and therefore will be very fast. As you already understand, this is a method that will work only for returning visitors to your site. However, its advantages and improvement in load time is very significant and should be used. This is done in WordPress, as always, by a dedicated add-on. Many of the best CACHE supplements are paid and definitely worth it. A free plugin that you can work with is W3 Total Cache.

Remove heavy elements

Another way to improve the loading time of the site is to clean the site from burdensome elements. These elements can interfere with two forms: download time and heavy load on various server resources. In WordPress, the simplest and best thing to do is to go through all the plugins that have been installed and to reexamine their necessity. Try to get rid of plugins that weigh on the site and loading time out. Do not forget to of course create a backup before any significant change in the site, even before removal of the plugin.

Another source of server uptime and improved load times is switching from videos that are on local storage to those stored on a dedicated platform. YouTube’s embedding options, for example, in WordPress today, are hardly sufficient for self-storage of videos.

Mobile sites

In early 2018, Google announced that it would begin to consider the speed of loading mobile sites as one of the elements of the site ranking. Note, this does not mean that the effects of slow loading speed did not affect the rating until that point. A slow load caused abandonment rates (for example, as previously mentioned), which did indeed affect the rating.

What should always be remembered in our reference to mobile sites is that the surfer is in another state of mind than surfing from the computer. Mobile surfers sometimes have less patience or there are more stimuli to leave the site (it is a click away from Watsap for example …). Another factor, of course, is the connection speed, which sometimes limits the charge speed. All this requires us to handle Mobile site in a special way, as if it is a separate site. It means adapting content to consumption from a mobile device and it also means strict application of all the above sections in the mobile version.

Improved database

Retrieving data from the database takes place in almost every action on the site. An efficient database is a condition for good performance of the site at the server level and, as a result, short load times. You can maintain a clean and efficient database by using a custom extension such as WP-Optimize. This plugin will be permanently migrated to the database and will reduce data volume. The plugin will go through every week and cleanse the database of data that is out of date and is no longer in use.

Check site speed

I chose to end this section precisely because this is the first action you will have to perform. In order to improve the loading speed, you will first need to measure it reliably. This will help you to understand which actions have borne fruit and which ones are less. Google has a powerful and free tool just for it. It is called PageSpeed ​​Insight. It analyzes many data and provides suggestions for improvement. Another test tool that provides more detail is GTmetrix.

When we compare site speed before and after a certain improvement, it is important to make sure that we used the same tool and the same parameters for comparison. Another action that can be used with you is the documentation on Excel of the improvements and their impact on the speed of loading.


Thank you for reading and I hope you found this small guide for getting better speed in your wordpress site helpful.
If you have any quiestions or comments please leave them below .

Best Regards,
Alex


Alex

Software Engineer and IT specialist

6 Comments

Carol5162 · July 2, 2019 at 10:19 am

I must admit that I have never put into consideration the loading time of my pages. I usually assume that it has something to do with the internet connection.

Adn to think that a user will sit around waiting for my pages to load! And I also go for quite heavy images. Didn’t someone mention that images ought to be full? 

Truly I have been so unaware of all these factors.

This is really an eye-opener.Will definitely start adjusting my themes.

Thank you so much for taking your time to lay all these out.

    Alex · July 2, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Thank you for your reply Carol , 
    yes years ago the loading times were dependent on the user internet connection,
    but these days that the vast majority of users have fast connection it’s on the site owner to prove
    that the website is fast and improve the user experience , and google does look at it as one of the factors to rank
    a page , you can check my other post of 100+ factors how google ranks a web page , I think you will find it interesting

    Best Regards,
    Alex

Xaric · July 2, 2019 at 10:19 am

The only thing I have used to decrease my website’s loading speed is compressing images through an external website before I upload them to my media gallery, as well as have a plugin installed which minifies Javascript and CSS files.

My website’s loading speed score is now 80 for mobile and 90+ for desktop based on Google’s page speed insights. 

Any recommendation to take it to 100 without having to install additional plugins?

    Alex · July 2, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Hi Xaric , tha’ts actually an excellent scores , for how to improve them even more ,
    you can check the analsys done by Google page speed insights tool itself , 
    and the suggestions of the tool how to improve even more , 
    From my experience you will be suggested to install additional plugins , so when getting 80+ for mobiles
    I would leave it as it is and prefer not to install more plugins that eventually can reduce the speed 
    Best regards,

    Alex

Chris · July 2, 2019 at 10:19 am

Very interesting, I had no idea that website speed effects the overall ranking of my blog, and how Google looks at it as a whole. 

I have now looked into a few plugins to speed up page loading times, but I have heard that too many plugins can actually work against site speed – how many plugins should I use for speeding up my site?

    Alex · July 2, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Hi Chris , Yes you are correct , too many plugins may work against you and hurt you in terms of loading speeds ,
    Run the page speed test before installing any new plugins , see the results and recommendations , and then start applying them , install only one plugin for speed improvement , run the the test again , check the results again , if needed install another plugin , run the test again and so on ..

    And yes as I mentioned in previous comment google does look at it as one of the factors to rank
    a page ,and you can also check my other post of 100+ factors how google ranks a web page , I think you will find it interesting

    Best Regards ,

    Alex

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