The page load time of your WordPress site is of great importance, that every internet user knows. But what few know is that if the site is slow, it will increase your bounce rate in the Google Analytics and it will decrease your conversion rate – after all, who today has the patience to buy something on a slow website or even to register asking for a quote? This leaves the user with a bad experience, and for this reason I will show you in this post how to improve the speed of the WordPress.
We should always leave our site pleasing to Google, as it takes the speed of your site into account when it comes to positioning it well in organic searches, that is, if your site is slow, this can harm your search strategy. SEO.
For this reason, it is necessary to dedicate time to make improvements to your website. Think of it as an investment, because if you don't start reviewing these concepts today, tomorrow your competitor may be many steps ahead of you.
It will require efforts, of course! But all efforts are rewarded. Our website is an example of this. But I'm not going to talk about our website, today we are going to focus on improving yours.
In this post we will give invaluable tips, those that, if this were a YouTube video, I would be asking you to like, activate notifications and subscribe to the page (laughs). But nothing prevents you from sharing, if you find it interesting, or even tell us here in the comments if, after following the step by step, you got any results.
Here are the topics we’ll talk about next:
- How to measure the speed of your website;
- How to improve WordPress speed in 5 steps:
- Choose a high performance hosting;
- Choose a good WordPress Theme;
- Optimize your images;
- Implement caching;
- Use a CDN;
- Start now!
How to measure the speed of your WordPress site
There are several tools and websites for you to thoroughly analyze the loading time of your website and also to analyze which files or codes are taking longer to load, hindering the performance of WordPress.
There is Google PageSpeed, which even today you can access it through your own panel after installing and activating the plugin Website Kit by Google. This plugin allows with one click, you can connect your WordPress to Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Adsense, Google Search Console, Google Optimize and PageSpeed Insights, which will give you insights into the performance of the site.
But I, in particular, still prefer to use and recommend the GTmetrix .
In it you only need to access the site by clicking on the link above and insert the URL you want to analyze. See the example:
Above, we have a printout of the analysis of our main site, agxww.com. On this site, we use to the letter all the tips that we will pass to you here in this post. We can see that the site took 1,1 seconds to fully load and 0,6 seconds for the customer to view the images.
But I know what you must be asking: "How long does my website have to load for it to be considered fast?".
Data says that Google considers that a site needs to load in up to 3 seconds, and that this is totally related to what I said at the beginning of the post, the Bounce Rate. The longer the loading time, the user will naturally not wait for the website to load.
How to improve WordPress speed in 5 steps
Now that you know how long it takes for your site to load, let's see what we need to do to improve its performance and get more benefits.
1. Choose a high performance hosting
We talked about hosting WordPress in the first place precisely because this is the most important step of all. There is no point in running all the tips if your hosting does not have a high performance.
I always recommend that you use a cloud hosting (click on the previous link if you want to know all the advantages of the cloud server). Better that it is dedicated, but if it cannot be due to financial factors, the shared cloud is easy to expand if there is a need to increase disk, or memory or even the bandwidth.
I am going to give you today 2 alternatives of cloud server:
Google Cloud Platform
WordPress can be deployed to Google Cloud in several ways. The best option depends on the amount of traffic your site can receive and also on the control you want to exercise over deployment and maintenance. Each option includes all the security, cost and performance benefits of GCP.
You can create a scalable instance on Kubernets Engine or APP Engine. If your site has low or moderate traffic expectations, Compute Engine is a good option.
If you want to learn how to install and configure WordPress on Google Cloud, click on the previous link and see how you can instantiate and host your site there yourself.
Now, if you don't want to worry about configuration, the next topic may be more interesting.
My Site Area
Our other option also hosts your site on Google Cloud, but in a managed way. That is, you have all the advantages of Google servers, however, without the need for configuration. You choose your plan, and they deliver the resources in a panel where you have everything from a file manager, to an integration with Git. Another advantage is that with a few clicks you install and configure applications like WordPress, Magento, emails with your domain, all of this in an automated way. My Site Area takes care of all the technical setup for you.
On this server you can choose Dedicated, which are from R $ 149 (U $ 27) per month, or Shared, where they share a vCPU for their users from R $ 49 (U $ 10) per month.
My Site Area also has a migrator that transfers your WordPress site from the current hosting to your cloud for free.
2. Choose a good WordPress theme
The theme of your website has a relevant role in the loading time of the website. That is why I always recommend using a theme that is not free, as they will have a larger team taking care of performance, improvements and even providing support in whatever you need.
Here at the agency, we use a lot of Astra Theme. It has less than 50kb and has a differential for not having JQuery dependencies that hinder your page load time. The updates are constant and do very well with Elementor, and other tools that I will mention here below.
We have already built institutional sites, ecommerces and marketplaces with Astra, and because I have never had any problems I recommend it.
3. Optimize your images
Did you know that images represent about 50% or more of a website's page size? Thinking about it, imagine that you reduce the size of your images by 1/4, you would have at least 50% less effort for your page to load. It's a good tip, isn't it?
This is because many people upload images of any size, sometimes without even noticing it. We have already seen sites here that ran with images of 5MB, just because they downloaded from the image bank and did not know that it was necessary or that it could reduce this image without losing quality.
In this step you have 2 options. The first is of course, you resize the images on your website. It is worth entering and evaluating from the size of your logo, to that image that is at the bottom of the page.
The second option is to use a image compressor. This will cause you to reduce the file size without changing the dimensions. There are compression options with losses, which dramatically reduces the file size, but also decreases the image quality. And there are the lossless, which make a small reduction, but also do not lose quality.
Here at AGX we use the Smush Pro do WPMU Dev. It has a free version, but the Pro version is very good, because in the package comes other plugins like H, which mimics the code, in addition to other plugins. Smush is on more than 1 million sites in the world and has other resources besides image compression such as Image CDN, WebP Support, Lazy Load, among others.
4. Implement caching
If you already know what page caching is, proceed to the next step. If you don't know it yet, I'll try to explain it in a practical way.
When visiting your site, the server runs PHP and sends queries to the database to assemble the HTML. With that, it can take a while for the server to present the HTML, as it assembles when requested, and your server works all the time going there at the bank making queries and presenting whenever requested.
This is when the page cache acts. It stores ready HTML or static HTML for a period of time that you can determine for yourself. Some use hours, others do not update the site daily, use even more time.
When the cache delivers to visitors without going through that process that I mentioned, the loading is faster and improves the performance of the site, especially when there is a high traffic, because your server is not overloaded.
"- And that tip from the plugin ???" Calm! I will not forget that, after all, that was what I told you previously about how Cache works. But before talking about the plugin I have to warn you that some hosts already have this service at the server level. So it is good to find out if your service already offers.
Here at the agency we use WordPress sites WP Rocket for Cache storage. I've used some from the market, but none can compare. First, because its basic configuration already optimizes your site. That is, installed and activated, it is already working. This is a positive point.
In addition, you can perform some manual optimizations such as Lazy Load, Gzip Compression, Database Optimization, Google Analytics Optimization and Google Fonts. It's not too much?
5. Use a CDN
CDN is the acronym for Content Delivery Network. As the name says, it is a content distribution network whose objective is to speed up the loading time of your website. That's because it delivers the static content from the server's website closest to where they make the request.
It is very natural that people do not take into account the location of your data center when hiring, but this is extremely relevant. Understand how:
You have a website that people in Brazil, the United States and Australia access. Since, your server is in the United States. Whoever is closest to the server will be able to load the site much faster than whoever is in Australia. This is because the distance influences the time the server receives and responds to your website data.
The CDN solved this problem. CDN companies generally have state-of-the-art servers around the world where replicas of websites are stored. In other words, with the CDN if I have a point in Australia, I minimize the loading time as it will not be necessary to request static files in the USA.
My last and very important CDN tip for WordPress is the bunny.net. It now has 53 data centers on 6 continents and in 35 countries. But the main advantage of it is that its installation is very easy and practical: Sign up on the website and create an account. Add your URL to Bunny and then install the BunnyCDN plugin to complete the configuration. And the good news is that you can test for 15 days and compare speeds before and after activation.
Start optimizing WordPress speed now
After these golden tips, don't waste time and improve your WordPress speed right now. You'll notice the before and after of your site, not only in loading but in advancing positions in keywords, among others.
Was there a lot of doubt on this topic? Or did you follow the step by step and had results? We would love to hear from you in the comments.
To the next.