How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site
And Increase Organic Traffic By 39.1%
Speed Matters – the loading time of your website is very critical.
Statistics reveal that:
“40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.” [Kissmetrics]
This is a review of an excellent article by Tran Tung,
“How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site – And Increase Organic Traffic By 39.1%”
“If you’re looking for ways to speed up your WordPress site performance, then you’re going to love this article.”
“Today I’m going to walk you through how I optimized the loading speed of Cloudliving.com and increased organic traffic by 39.1%.” [Tran Tung]
The following results are based on Tran’s business website, Cloudliving. He used his own website as the “Guinea Pig” to test the steps it took to speed up his website.
And there was a bonus, a 39.1% increase in organic traffic to his website.
Before we go on, you may be asking, “What is organic traffic?
“Organic traffic generally refers to non-paid traffic, so includes traffic from:”
- Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
- Referral traffic from other sites – visitors arriving at your site after clicking on a link on another website.
- Direct traffic – someone typing in your URL into a browser.
“Such traffic is all achieved organically, rather than through a source of advertising or paid promotion of some kind.” [Quora]
Why WordPress Site Speed Matters
The article begins by explaining why you want to do this in the first place. There are many simple and easy to understand statistics laid out for those lacking a technical minded.
It’s also an incentive for every WordPress user of the unlimited potential of WordPress.
Your business or blog can only benefit from having a fast loading website.
As in any experiment, you need to set a baseline before you begin testing.
In other words record the results of the speed test before you optimize your website.
After you have tweaked your website, perform another website speed test.
Observe any performance increase or decrease.
In other words, “does it work?”
The article lists 2 vital steps you should do first:
1. Test Your Site Speed & Performance
These are outstanding tools that I also use, as they provide:
- website load time
- displays an analysis
- recommendations to increase your speed
Another tool I use is for comparison is:
PageSpeed Insights by Google Developers.
2) Backup Your Website
A no-brainer, everyone should have a backup of all the “blood, sweat, and tears” you went through to build your website.
Backup of a website means you are saving a copy of all your files, images, media, posts, plugins, themes, etc.
Everything you need to restore your website back to how it is today, just in case anything happens.
The blog recommends UpdraftPlus, which I also use on some of my websites. You can find this plugin in the WordPress repository or on their website.
The Meat and Potatoes of CloudLiving blog
22 Things You Can Do Right Now To Speed Up Your WordPress Website [by Tran Tung]
1. Choose a fast and reliable web hosting provider
The foundation of any website.
Bottom line, you get what you pay for so cheap is not always a good thing. Tran recommends his choice of web hosts in the article.
2. Use a lightweight WordPress theme/framework
Another great tip, use a well-coded theme that is not bloated with plugins. This combination of a fast hosting server and a fast theme is a great foundation to start with, and themes by Generatepress is recommended.
“Generate press is a fast, lightweight (less than 1MB zipped), mobile responsive WordPress theme built with speed, SEO, and usability in mind.” [WordPress]
If you want to try the free versions, they are available in the WordPress repository [search: themes by tom] or from the Generatepress website.
A WordPress enthusiast had recommended Generatepress to me and I have tried it on my development site.
The theme is clean and well coded.
3. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
This tip is not just for performance, but also for website security.
You will find that some plugins use more resources than others.
There are other plugins that are potential security risks due to bad code or hidden malware.
- Delete inactive plugins
- Don’t use multiple plugins for the same purpose (i.e. 2 or 3 contact form plugins)
4. Avoid using sliders for better speed and conversions
Use a static image instead
“In A/B tests, sliders tend to lose. In fact, one of the easiest ways to grow a page’s conversion rate is to remove the slider, and to replace it with a static image. If you want to be really lazy, you can just test the slider against the static version of each of the slider’s options. The static version usually wins.”
[Karl Blanks, Chairman, and Co-Founder of Conversion Rate Experts]
Enough said on this topic.
5. Optimize your images
This is one of the keys to having a fast loading website.
Some people fear that image optimization or compression may reduce the quality of their photos. This is further from the truth.
“One of the easiest ways to speed up your site and improve your PageSpeed and YSlow scores is image optimization.
Uncompressed and unscaled images carry a lot of extra weight and force your users to download unnecessary data. Optimizing your images reduces the total size of your page, meaning your page loads faster.” [GTmetrix]
6. Use a better social sharing plugin
The author has several recommendations and tips for using social sharing without compromising your website performance.
7. Use clean and minimal homepage design
Many great suggestions for your homepage.
Key point, don’t overwhelm your visitors with so much clutter.
I like to keep things simple myself.
8. Install an effective WordPress caching plugin
One of the most efficient way to immediately give your WordPress site a performance boost is to use a cache plugin. There are many, but not all are equal.
The author recommends WP Rocket, and I have to agree.
It has a higher cost as compared to other cache plugins, but it works very well.
Before we go on, you may be asking, “What is caching?
“When you have a caching plugin, this is responsible for providing those fast answers. The plugin is basically taking snapshots of all your webpages.”
“All of the heavy-lifting that WordPress typically does to display the webpage is done the very first time a page is visited. Once that process has happened the first time, your caching plugin takes a “snapshot” and then, when the next person comes to your site, it whips out the snapshot instead of going through the whole rigmarole again.” [WP Rocket Caching]
9. Enable GZIP compression
A must to help speed your page loads.
More information is found in the article.
What is gzip compression?
When a user hits your website a call is made to your server to deliver the requested files.
The bigger these files are the longer it’s going to take for them to get to your browser and appear on the screen.
Gzip compresses your webpages and style sheets before sending them over to the browser. This drastically reduces transfer time since the files are much smaller.
In terms of cost versus benefit, gzip compression should be near the top of your page speed optimizations if you don’t have it setup already. [GTmetrix Gzip]
10. Optimize your database
There are several plugins available to optimize your database with one click.
Mr. Tung recommends WP Optimize.
I also prefer to use WP Optimize which an be found in the WordPress Plugin Repository, it’s free and works well.
11. Lazy load your images and videos
A must if you have galleries of images and videos.
Read the article for more information.
This tip works well, but as Mr. Tung warns, depending on your setup, it could break your website. So be careful.
See full article for more details.
14. Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
This tip will definitely improve your scores in services like Pingdom, GTmetrix, PageSpeed, and YSlow.
15. Prevent hotlinking and leeching of your content
Key to preventing bandwidth theft!
16. Use a content delivery network (CDN)
Author provides a detailed setup of Cloudflare CDN.
17. Use latest PHP version (7.1)
See article for more information.
18. Fix your broken links
A must for best visitor experience.
19. Disable WordPress features that you don’t need
Tran goes provides more information in his article.
20. Reduce external HTTP requests to a minimum
Another great tip to increase page load speed.
For more information, see this post by Yoast SEO
21. Avoid landing page redirects
The author explains this in a simple and concise manner.
22. Keep your WordPress site updated
A no-brainer, WordPress to so simple to update.
If you want Tran’s complete guide in a PDF format, go to his original blog and download the guide:
22 Things You Can Do Right Now To Speed Up Your WordPress Website
There you go, you now have a plan.
Success is up to you, it just requires some hard work!
All the success to you!