Load time greatly effects how visitors interact with your website. Fast load times make your visitors happy, and slow load times frustrate users and cause them to leave. Duh. Everyone knows that. In fact, just a one second delay in page-load can cause 7% loss in customer conversions. With ever increasing internet speeds and mobile browsing being more and more popular, it’s even more important than ever.
The general rule of thumb is having a load time of 2-3 seconds.
Here’s a list of quick tips on how to speed up your WordPress site.
- Use a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache.
- Compress your CSS and JS files.
- If you can do it with CSS rather than an image, do it.
- Call your CSS at the “top” of the site and your JS at the bottom.
- Don’t use flash.
- Use a quality web host.
- If you can afford it, have a dedicated server instead of shared hosting.
- Remove spam comments.
- Use as few WordPress plugins as possible. Figure out which plugins are slowing down your site, and deactivate them or use alternatives.
- Compress your images. Apps like ImageOptim can compress your images without sacrificing the quality. In my personal experience I experience a 25% reduction in file size.
- Use a quality theme. May seem ambiguous or basic, but a well coded theme can make a huge difference in your site’s load time.
- Use sprites to reduce the number of files loaded, speeding up your site.
- Use a CDN like Amazon CloudFront or Max CDN.
- Don’t use inline CSS.
- Have a favicon.
- Use a trailing slash on your urls. For example, don’t use http://yourdomain.com, instead use http://yourdomain.com/ – unless there’s a file extension, naturally.
- Use gzip. Many web hosts do this automatically, but if it doesn’t, check out the WP HTTP Compression plugin.
- Minimize redirects, be they meta, 301, or otherwise.
- Specify a character set.
- Specify image dimensions.
- Don’t have images larger than they appear on the site. If an image on the site displays as 100px wide, don’t have the actual image 200px wide. The larger image takes longer to load and increases the processing demand on your browser.
- Reduce cookie size. More info.
- Try and keep your components smaller than 25k.
- Optimize your database. A plugin like WP-DBManager can make a difference.
- Use the latest version of WordPress. WordPress is constantly optimized, so likely a simple update will make your WordPress site faster, and more secure at that.
- Use Feedburner.
- Use Lazy Load to only load images that are actually viewed.
- Use excerpts.
- Limit the number of post revisions stored. Revision Control can do that for you.
- Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks.
- Replace PHP with static HTML when possible.
Give them a go and see how much you can speed up your WordPress website!