Site speed is one of the most important characteristics for any product website, blog, online magazine or any other website for that matter. When a user visits some website, the first thing he notices is the loading speed and then the design. However, while users are always in a hurry on the web, the time they spend on individual page visits varies widely. They often leave web pages in 10-20 seconds, so we can’t afford to lose the half time they spend for loading.
Before we begin optimizing our page speed, let’s first measure the performance of our website.
Analyzing your site speed
My favorite tool is Google PageSpeed Insights. Try to achieve a score of 85+ out of 100. Page Speed analyzes web pages and suggests ways to improve their performance based on a set of rules for high performance web pages.
Another great tool to test your website speed is Pingdom. You can test your website from different countries and choose whether to safe the test and make it public. It also shows you some recommendations for a better performance.
Finally just for fun, you can compare the loading time of two or more websites – http://whichloadsfaster.com/.
Basic WordPress Speed Optimization Advices
- The first and most important thing to do when having a WordPress blog is to install the W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin. It’s free and awesome. Don’t forget to enable the setting you need after installing it.
- Keep the number of plugins you use to a minimum. Having too many plugins can seriously slow down your website, so try to keep only the most important and delete the others. You can also use the P3 plugin to monitor which plugins are slowing down your site.
- Upgrade to the latest WordPress release – you should be doing this for security reasons also.
- Minimize simple unnecessary PHP queries. For example, instead of using <?php bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’); ?>, just replace it with your WordPress installation URL so the browser can simply read it instead of making a query.
- Get a good hosting – your web host is one of the most important factors when talking about page speed. When it comes to selecting a host, you should focus on the overall reputation of the web host (online reviews and etc.) and the possibility to get a server near your target market’s location (for e.g. if your target market is in Australia, you should get a server there).
- Delete spam comments. Another common practice that slows the speed of your website is keeping thousands of spam comments in your database. Try to regularly delete them.
- My final advice is to check your theme’s Code very carefully, remove everything unnecessary and validate your HTML.