By: Gareth James / January 19, 2018

Ways to speed up your WordPress site

You need great foundations.

The one issue that can arise when using a WordPress theme is that the code is often bulked out to accommodate all of its features. Some of which, you may never use. This can impact the speed of your site, as all these scripts and lines of code need to load on the front end.

Surprisingly the default WordPress theme Twenty-Fifteen, is not a place bad place to start.

You want to look for a solid theme that doesn’t come with excess plugins or lots of customisation.

 

Use a great caching plugin

One of the likely reasons you have chosen WordPress as your chosen framework for your website is the vast amount of plugins available to suit your needs.

This is no different when it comes to caching and so many of these great plugins are free to use. I often choose to use W3 Total Cache. With well over 1 million downloads, you can see I am not alone in this choice.

It’s pretty much a case of installing and activating. I would recommend following some online guide as if you push the settings too far, you may break parts of your site. So it’s always a good idea to take a backup of the site. (which should come with your chosen hosting option, more about that later)

Good hosting

When you’re looking for a place to host your website, you are going to come across some options that look like a bargain. You might see someone offering unlimited page views or even unlimited storage, this will often come with a trade-off. You may well experience some downtime, or even a slowing down of your site during peak periods.

This will likely be a shared hosting platform and if you’re lucky to have a popular website, you’re going to kill your user experience with this option. It’s always worth investing in good hosting.

On top of reliability and often greater speeds, a good quality host will likely offer a great service along with it. Having the confidence that you can reach out to them knowing you have someone who might get you out of a sticky situation is going to be a lifesaver.

I always recommend ensuring you have daily backups with your chosen hosting, not all providers will give you this option, particularly on the cheapest plans.

We use Flywheel for our own website and find their speed and service really outstanding. If you are interested in using them, reach out to us today at support@heartcms.com, we have some great pricing options you won’t find on their site.

 

CDN for the win

What’s a CDN, or content delivery network? Essentially, a CDN takes all of your static files, such as images, CSS and Javascript and lets your visitors download those files much quicker by delivering those files from a server as geographically close to them as possible.

If you have an international website and you host your files in the UK for example, this can have a significant impact on the speed of the site.

We use Flywheel or Cloudflare for our CDN. Cloudflare offers a free CDN option, which is great for most websites.

 

Optimise your images

Have you optimised your images, so they are as low in file size as possible, whilst maintaining good quality? I can’t recommend doing this enough, one of the biggest mistakes made whilst building a website, is the images haven’t been optimised and often they’ve been left at their original file size, exceeding recommendations for any image file by a few megabytes. This is going to kill your website speed.

There are a few great tools available online, I use TinyPNG. It compresses all image file types and does not sacrifice quality. If you don’t want to go through the laborious task of doing a small bulk of images at a time, they also have a WordPress plugin, that allows you to have 500 images compressed a month.  

 

LazyLoad your images

As well as optimising your images, you can also involve a process called LazyLoad. This is where only the images above the fold (the area of the screen visible without scrolling) load first and then whilst the user scrolls down the page, the other images will load just before coming into view.  If you are using plugins such a revolution slider, this has this feature built in, which can be enabled through the slider settings.

 

Clean up your database

You can clean up your WordPress database very easily by using a plugin called WP-Optimize. It’s easy to install and run and I couldn’t recommend doing this enough.

If you would like some help with speeding up your website or would like to talk to us about our hosting options, call us on 0800 471 4841 or email support@heartcms.com

About Gareth James

Accounts Director at HeartCMS.com and creator of a best selling iOS app. Gareth loves to help small to medium size businesses get more online exposure. Gareth started his online marketing journey back in 2008.

https://www.heartcms.com

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