Note: When trying to increase your website load speed please ensure you have a backup of your website saved before attempting to optimise it. We would advise having both an online and an offline copy saved so that it can be restored should any issues arise. To easily backup your website we would suggest using Updraft as it is an excellent plugin for this.
Table of Contents
How Fast is Your Site at The Moment?
1. Choose Your Hosting Wisely
Choosing your web host is a very important part of the optimising your website load speed. When you choose your web host try to find as many unbiased reviews as you can, an overloaded or poor quality host should be avoided. There are plenty of hosting companies out there to choose from and it can be a little overwhelming at first. You can find many unbiased reviews online for web hosts on sites such as youtube but there are also many biased/ paid reviews out there. If you would like to see our hosting, we offer our clients web hosting and will keep your site online at a very reasonable price.
2. On-Site Optimisation is key
There are many things you can do to optimise your website load speed but before you do anything take a backup of your website – as mentioned above we would recommend Updraft but any decent backup plugin is fine.
There are many ways to improve the on-site optimisation on your website, this can be anything from adjusting the way the code is written using minification, choosing the correct image format, reducing the image file size, using GZip compression, even through to optimising the database and a whole host of other things.
One of the first places you should optimise is the home page as this is often the first page a user will visit on your site. There is a school of thought that reducing the amount of content on the home page will increase the load time. This is true, however, having relevant and important content on your home page will help you rank in Google so having a half-empty page is not always an option.
2.1 Image Optimisation
A good place to start when making changes to your website load speed is to ensure that all the images are optimised as much as possible. A good way to ensure this is to follow these simple steps.
- Make sure the image is the correct pixel size, there is no point adding an image that is 1080×1080 px if it will be displayed on the site at 300×300 px. Reduce the image size to about double that of the display size which will allow for crisp images on a retina display.
- Ensure that the file is saved in the correct format. If it has transparency then PNG, if not then most likely go with JPG.
- Once saved onto your computer I would suggest running it through an image compressor and I find that ILoveImg.com is a fantastic one to use and highly efficient.
- Once the image is ready then you can upload it to your website. You can use plugins to ensure the image is optimised but by using the steps above this should be enough.
2.2 Database Optimisation
Make sure you have a backup of the site and database before making any changes.
WordPress keeps a lot of unnecessary data in the database which can drastically affect your website load speed and this needs to be cleaned up to ensure the correct and efficient operation of the website. For this, we can suggest using a plugin such as LiteSpeed Cache which will allow you to clean out extra revisions of pages, spam comments along with a host of other files.
2.3 Code Optimisation
When the code is created for a website it allows it to be read by a human, adding white space, comments and other things used by the developer. This is not needed to be read by the browser and the code can be put through a process called minification to help the website load speed.
To minify the code on your website, both HTML, CSS and Java we would suggest using LiteSpeed Cache. This plugin allows you to select the options individually and exclude things if they break through the minification process. As with every step, it is important to backup your site. You can check the minification of your website by viewing it in a private or incognito browser as this will clear the browser cache displaying the older version.
Things are liable to break during the minification process, but it is an important step in an optimised website.
3. Cache is King
Caching your web pages is a great way to increase your website load speed. The idea is to reduce the number of requests that your website makes to the host server, therefore reducing the time it takes to load. The cache plugin creates a static HTML file of the web page which means it can achieve this and does not have to make all the requests to the host server each time somebody requests your site, this allows the speed to be drastically increased. We would recommend LiteSpeed Cache for this.
4. Add a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
5. Recheck Website Load Speed
At WPDesigns we would be happy to help you increase your website load speed and optimise your website. This will help with your online conversions and increase the positive aspects of your website in the eyes of your end-user due to the smooth and flowing experience. Contact us today!