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Speed up your WordPress website

  • SEO
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The loading time of websites is becoming increasingly important. Meanwhile, the speed of your website is also an important ranking factor in Google search results. And rightly so because a slow website leads to dissatisfied visitors. Especially if they want to visit a site with their mobile phone. Even with a few small adjustments, you can make your WordPress website a lot faster. This not only optimises the user-friendliness of your page but is also an important SEO factor.

Why is speed important?

When a potential visitor comes to your website, you only have a few seconds to catch their attention. So, when your website loads slowly, the chances are very high that the visitor will leave your website. With a slow loading website, you not only lose customers but also your place in the Google ranking. This is because Google’s algorithm also evaluates websites based on their loading speed. So, let’s solve this problem!

Measure WordPress performance

Before you can make your WordPress faster, you need to analyse your website. By this, we mean looking at how fast your website is. The following online tools are available for this purpose:

  • Google pagespeed Insight
  • Pingdom Website Speed Test
  • WebPageTest
  • GTmetrix
  • Uptrends

These performance tools give an overview of the loading time, the number of requests and the size of the website. In a waterfall view, you can see all the files that are needed to build a website. This gives you a good overview and allows you to determine the need for optimisation. Now it’s time to make your WordPress website faster, which is where the points below can help you.

1. Choose the right theme

If you have a new website built, you have the big advantage that you can test a theme and builder in advance and see what the website speed scores are. If the Google page speed scores are in orange, you have picked a nice theme and that is a good starting point.

2. Compress images

Unfortunately, many WordPress users still upload images that are too large. Reducing the size of the image can often speed up the loading time of the page enormously. You can easily use an image editing program such as Photoshop to optimise the image. Then save the images as progressive JPG. Online tools such as compressor.io or TinyPNG are also very useful. If you want to optimise your images directly in WordPress, we recommend the Short pixel plugin. You can use it to compress your images and convert them to WebP format.

3. Load the images lazy load

With Lazy Load, the images of a website are only loaded when the user scrolls to the image area. It is especially good at speeding up the loading of the page when there are a lot of images. Lazy Load can be integrated directly as a JQuery plugin or as a WordPress plugin. Many caching plugins such as WP-Rocket or Autoptimize also contain a Lazy Load function.

4. Check plugins

There are countless plugins for WordPress. Unfortunately, many of them have a negative effect on the loading time of the website. If you want to speed up WordPress, you should first remove all unused plugins. With the remaining plugins, you can look for smaller alternatives or load them selectively. In general, you should use as few plug-ins as possible.

5. Remove unused CSS

By using builders and plugins, a lot of CSS is loaded which is not used. Removing unused CSS is quite a tricky job, luckily there is a very good online tool, UnusedCSS, that allows you to do this automatically. It scans your website and when the scan is done you can download the new CSS files and overwrite them on the server.

6. Minimise JS and CSS

If you use the Google Page Speed Insight tool to test your website, you probably already know what you should do to minimise CSS and JS file sizes. By minimising the file size, you reduce the number of JS and CSS calls. This will greatly improve the website load time. There are many plugins available that help to easily reduce both files.

7. Clean up the database

Over time, the size of the database increases and database queries slow down. Consequence: the website becomes slower and slower. This is mainly because WordPress stores every draft and revision of an article. Spam comments and deleted articles are also saved. Therefore, delete these regularly as well. A convenient and recommended way to clean up the database is to optimise the database after deleting corrections. As a preventive measure, you can also specify the number of article corrections to be saved in the wp-config.php file.

8. Caching plugin

If you have come a long way with the top points and the Google page speed score has already risen quite a bit, then it is time to get started with caching to achieve an orange to green mobile score. There are many caching plugins, and the performance of the plugin depends on multiple factors like theme and builder. You need to test this and see which one gets the best scores without breaking your website. We are a fan of WP Rocket and NitroPack.

Conclusion

Improving the speed of your WordPress website can have many benefits. However, it is important that your optimisations do not come at the expense of the user experience of your website. Optimise what is necessary and do not detract from your website. Google sets the bar very high, and it is quite difficult to achieve orange to green scores with a WordPress website. Website speed optimisation is our speciality, so if you need help, we’d love to hear from you.

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