Jim is searching for hotels to decide where he wants to go for the Christmas holiday. He is opening a number of websites in separate tabs at the same time.
Because he doesn’t want to wait all websites load separately. After a couple of seconds, he notices some websites are still not fully opened.
He is out to visit another website that offers similar services.
Guess what, Jim is not alone.
We all hate waiting for a website that takes more than a few seconds to open. People don’t like waiting a long time while they can get similar information from another website that’s quicker.
Let’s see what can we do to make our site faster.
Before starting any operations that we will discuss, I ask you to check your current site speed. The very best place to check the speed of your website is Google Page Speed Insights. Because it is really important to know what Google thinks about the speed of our website.
You can also use 3rd party tools like Gtmetrix and Pingdom for additional confirmation. The advantage of using these tools on Google you can choose the server location you want to test your site performance.
For example, when you target US traffic and your site opens in 4 seconds from New York but in 2 seconds from Germany, that means your site may need performance improvements.
The common mistake when checking the speed of a website is only testing the homepage. You should choose at least 2 more pages from your site and try to optimize for the best results.
The loading time of your homepage on its own may not give you a good opinion on the overall performance of your site.
#1 – Choose A Good Hosting Company
Nothing else we will talk about will affect the overall performance of your website as much your Webhosting does.
Stay away from shared hosting and use cloud hosting if possible. Cloud hosting is not expensive anymore.
Use WP Engine if you can afford it. It gives the greatest performance for your site you can ever come across.
If you want to save money from Webhosting use Digitalocean since they provide a great performance on a budget. This website is hosted with Digitalocean, and I am really satisfied with the performance of my site.
Host your website on a server location that is closest to the country where your targeted traffic is.
#2 – Choose A Theme That Has A Plain Code (WP sites only)
Your theme is important for the performance of your WordPress site. But, in my opinion not as important as it is speculated.
Your website is not going to be fast if you have a low-quality web hosting, your images are not optimized, and you don’t leverage browser caching.
Try to choose a plain theme that is proven to perform good. Common problems people do, using visually super performing themes that have poor performance.
Unless it is necessary for your niche, stay away from themes that come by default with all kind animations, and other junk you don’t plan to use.
#3 – Use the minimum amount of Plugins (Wp sites only)
WordPress is an amazing CMS (Content Management System) that makes publishing websites very easy for everyone. Anyone without having the knowledge HTML, CSS PHP can build professional looking sites very fast.
This is possible with the help of plugins designed to work with WordPress. However, today there are many expected functionalities from WordPress sites.
People use a separate plugin for almost every functionality they want to add to their websites.
Each plugin brings extra files to your WP installation, and many of them should be triggered before your page is completely opened.
Each request from the server brings additional load for your website.
This process increases the loading time of your website and decreases its performance. Don’t keep any plugin that you don’t need. Delete right away if you don’t need a plugin. Don’t worry, anytime you want you can reinstall it anyway.
Websites are built with the code than can readable for humans. However, it takes up space that no web browser requires. Browsers don’t really need this code to understand it.
The solution to deal with this problem is minifying the code which is generally a safe process.
You can achieve it by using a powerful caching plugin like “WP Rocket“. This is the benefit of using WordPress, you don’t need to manually edit the code and many things are taken care of by plugins automatically.
#5 – Reduce the size of your images
The majority of the time webpages load slowly due to the images on them that lack of optimization. Image optimization starts even before you upload them to your website.
Use Jpeg format since it seems the most web-adaptive image format. It keeps colors and quality very well while lowering the image file size significantly.
Resize your images in paint, convert to jpeg format if you haven’t done it.
Visit Compressjpeg and compress your images to make image file size even smaller. I rarely upload any image to my site if it is more than 80kb.
After uploading your images to your site you should continue optimization on your site as well. If you are using WordPress (which is standard for 75% of websites) use plugins that let you compress images for further optimization.
Wp Smush works very well for me and it is the most popular image compression plugin.
#6 – Leverage Browser Caching
The browser is required to load a number of things to fully load a webpage. It includes the CSS folder, the logo, and other tools. The browser caching lets your browser not working again for the resources that are earlier loaded.
If you have a visitor on your website trying to reach another page, it’s unlikely your browser will reload your CSS file or logo again. That’s because the file already exists and simply “remembered” by your browser.
Fortunately, you can leverage browser caching by using wp plugins such as WP Rocket.
#7 – Use a CDN Service
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. It is a distributed network of proxy servers around the world. Once a website joins to the CDN, the content of the website is served much faster and efficient.
CDN improves page speed as users because the user is served from a datacenter the closest to its location. This also reduces server load rates.
Most CDNs work as an application service provider, also known as on-demand technology or software as a service (SaaS).
A CDN is a decentralized network for the efficient use of the content for internet users. CDN is especially useful to meet overwhelming traffic peaks if a large number of users visit a website in a short period of time.
CDNs can also help when it comes to your website security. It adds an extra layer of protection to your website. If your website becomes subject to a DDoS attack, a CDN will function to shield your site.
#8 – Keep media files on External Websites
When you add more and more content to your website, more photos and media files congest your website. All these media files will lead to higher bandwidth usage, which will certainly reduce the user experience.
To deal with this problem, you should consider storing your media files on reliable, free file sharing websites.
Nonetheless, if you are looking to store a very large file size and are willing to pay more for premium file storage, these services are also available. I like Dropbox since it is a solid company with a high-quality service.
#9 – Delete WordPress themes that you don’t need
Go to your WP Dashboard click Appearance > Themes
Click on the theme which you don’t use and you will see a “delete” button at the bottom.
Click on “delete” and get rid of it. You don’t need to keep a theme that you don’t use in your cache. If you want to have a top-performing website like mine, you should take into consideration each detail that possibly affects the result.
#10 – Remove / Replace Plugins & Widgets You Don’t Need
Many people have plenty of plugins installed with the expectation that “I will definitely use this plugin someday.” Those days rarely come before you notice the performance of your site is terrible.
Isn’t it easier to note down the plugin names and download them when you need them?
Plugins installed and inactive may be a better idea but they still take up space in the back-end. If you have many inactive plugins, they will definitely clog up your plugin directory and can cause even worse situations.
#11 – Identify Plugins That Slows Down Your Site
Certain plugins slow downs your website without you even knowing it. You may be thinking your Webhosting is bad, or your theme is not responsive.
However, certain plugins are a pain in the neck. Identifying those plugins early on and replacing them with the ones performing better should be your priority.
How to know which plugin slows downs your website? You will learn it by using another WordPress plugin called P3 performance profiler.
P3 performance profiler plugin shows the effect of other plugins on your site’s page-loading time. P3 is great to detect plugins installed on your WordPress and slows down your website.
#12 – Use The Latest Version Of WordPress
Make sure you are using the latest version of WordPress. If you haven’t been online in recent months online and WordPress has had a major version update, it is the time for you to install that update.
Make sure you are regularly updating your release of WordPress, theme, and plugins.
#13 – Enable GZIP Compression
GZIP works well with certain file types better. For instance, MPEG and WAV files are compressed well with GZIP, while other MP3 files can actually increase in size if you want to compress them.
In order to use, GZIP compression must be allowed on your web server side. Once your web server is set to allow file and directory compression you can fully benefit the advantages of GZIP compression.
All modern web browsers support GZIP compression you should expect all users to take advantage of GZIP compression once you’ve enabled it.
If you are using wordpress you can activate GZIP compression by using the plugins like Enable Gzip Compression or WP Rocket.