How to improve WordPress speed

How to improve WordPress speed

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The page load time of your WordPress site has a great importance, of that every internet user knows. But what few know is that if the site is slow, it will increase your bounce rate in Google Analytics and decrease your conversion rate – after all, who today has the patience to buy something on a slow site or even to register for a quote? This leaves the user with a terrible experience, and for this reason I will show you in this post how to improve the speed of WordPress.

We should always make our site pleasing to Google, because they take the speed of your site into account when positioning it well in organic searches, which means that if your site is slow, it can harm your SEO strategy.

For this reason, it is necessary to dedicate time to make improvements to your site. Think of it as an investment, because if you don’t start reviewing these concepts today, tomorrow your competitor may be many steps ahead of you.

It will demand effort, of course! But all efforts are rewarded. Our site is an example of that. But I’m not going to talk about our site, today we will focus on improving yours.

In this post we will give very valuable tips, those that, if this were a YouTube video, I would be at this moment asking you to like, activate the notifications and subscribe to the page (laughs). But nothing stops you from sharing, if you find it interesting, or even tell us here in the comments if, after following the step by step, you got any results.
See the topics we will talk about next:

  • How to measure the speed of your website;
  • How to improve WordPress speed in 5 steps:
    1. Choose a high performance hosting;
    2. Choose a good WordPress Theme;
    3. Optimize your images;
    4. Implement Cache storage;
    5. Use a CDN;
  • Get started now!

How to measure the speed of your WordPress site?

There are several tools and sites for you to analyze your site’s loading time and also analyze which are the files or codes that are taking longer to load, disturbing WordPress’ performance.

There is Google PageSpeed, which you can access through your own panel after installing and activating the Site Kit by Google plugin. This plugin allows you to connect your WordPress to Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Adsense, Google Search Console, Google Optimize and PageSpeed Insights with one click.

But I particularly still prefer to use and recommend GTmetrix.
In it you just need to access the site by clicking on the link above and enter the URL you want to analyse. See the example:

Above, we have a print of the analysis of our main site, at the time of the print still at the address agxww.com, today redirects to the current main domain agx.digital. In this site, we used to the letter all the tips that we will pass to you here in this post. We can see that the site took 1.1 seconds to load completely and 0.6 seconds for the client to see the images.

But I know what you must be asking yourself: “How long does my site have to load in order to be considered fast?”.

Data says that Google considers that a site needs to load in up to 3 seconds, and that this is totally related to what I talked about at the beginning of the post, the Rejection Rate. The longer the loading time, naturally the user will not wait for the site to load.

How to improve WordPress speed in 5 steps

Now that you know how long your site takes to load, let’s see what we’ll need to do to improve its performance and get more benefits.

1. Choose a high performance hosting service

We talk about WordPress hosting first because it is the most important step of all. It’s no use executing all the tips if your hosting doesn’t have high performance.

I always recommend using cloud hosting (click on the previous link if you want to know all the advantages of cloud hosting). Better it be dedicated, but if it can’t be due to financial factors, the shared cloud is easy to expand if there is a need to increase disk, or memory or even bandwidth.

I will give today 2 cloud server alternatives:

Google Cloud Platform

WordPress can be deployed on Google Cloud in several ways. The best option depends on the amount of traffic your site can receive and also the control you want to exercise over deployment and maintenance. Each option includes all the security, cost and performance benefits of GCP.

You can create a scalable instance in either the Kubernets Engine or the APP Engine. If your site has a low or moderate traffic expectation, Compute Engine is a good option.

If you want to learn how to install and configure WordPress on Google Cloud, click on the previous link and see how you can create an instance and host your site there yourself.

Now, if you don’t want to worry about configuration, the next topic might be more interesting.

My Site Area

Our other option also hosts your site in the Google Cloud, but in a managed way. In other words, you have all the advantages of Google servers, but with no configuration required. You choose your plan, and they deliver the resources in a panel where you have from a file manager to an integration with Git. Another advantage is that with a few clicks you can install and configure applications like WordPress, Magento, emails with your domain, all in an automated way. My Site Area takes care of all the technical configuration for you.

On this server you can opt for Dedicated Server, which are from 29€ per month, or Shared Hosting, where they partition a vCPU for your users from 9€ per month.

This Managed Google Cloud Hosting also has a migrator that transfers your WordPress site from your current hosting to your cloud for free.

2. Choose a good WordPress theme

The theme of your site has a relevant role in the loading time of the site. So I always advise to use a theme that is not free, because they will have a bigger team taking care of the performance, improvements and even giving support in what you need.

Here in the agency, we use a lot the Astra Theme. It has less than 50kb and has a differential for not having JQuery dependencies that hinder the loading time of your page. The updates are constant and get along very well with Elementor, and other tools that I will mention below.

Besides that, when I buy the Astra Agency Plan I get the Ultimate Add Ons for Elementor, Schema Pro, WP Convert, WP Portfolio, among others that are from the same company.

We already built institutional sites, ecommerces and marketplaces with Astra, and for never having had problems I recommend it.

3. Optimise your images

Did you know that images represent about 50% or more of the page size of a website? Thinking about it, imagine you reduce the size of your images by 1/4, you would have at least 50% less effort for your page to load. That’s a good tip isn’t it?

This is because many people upload images with any size, sometimes without even noticing it. We’ve seen sites that ran with 5MB images, just because they downloaded from the image bank and didn’t know that it was necessary or that it could be made smaller without losing quality.

At this stage you have 2 options. The first is of course, you resize the images on your site. It’s worth going in and evaluating everything from the size of your logo, to that image that sits at the bottom of the page.

The second option is to use an image compressor. This will make it reduce the file size without changing the dimensions. There are lossy compression options, which drastically reduce the file size, but also decrease the image quality. And there are the lossless ones, which do a small reduction, but also do not lose quality.

4. Implement Cache storage

If you already know what page caching is, move on to the next step. If you don’t know yet, I will try to explain it in a practical way.

Every time a user accesses a website, a request is made to your server, which is where the HTML of your website is stored. The server then has the job of presenting this code in the user’s browser. In WordPress your site has almost two parts, the code which is PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and the other part is the database, where your content like postblog, or products, if it’s WooCommerce, for example, are stored.

When they visit your site, the server runs PHP and sends queries to the database to assemble the HTML. With this, it may take a while for the server to present the HTML, because it assembles it when requested, and your server works all the time going there in the database making queries and presenting it every time it is requested.

That’s when the page cache acts. It stores the ready HTML or static HTML for a period of time that you can determine yourself. Some use hours, others who do not update the site daily, use even longer.
When the cache delivers to visitors without going through that process I mentioned, loading is faster and improves site performance, especially when there is high traffic, because your server is not overloaded.

“What about that tip from the plugin? Calm down! I will not forget about that, after all, that was the reason I told you before how the Cache works. But before talking about the plugin I have to alert that some hosting already have this service at the server level. So it is good to know if your service already offers it.

Here at the agency we use WP Rocket on WordPress sites for Cache storage. I’ve used some of the market, but none compares. First because its basic configuration already optimizes your site. I mean, when you install and activate it, it’s already working. That is a positive point.

Besides that, you can run some manual optimizations like Lazy Load, Gzip Compression, Database Optimization, Google Analytics Optimization and Google Fonts. Isn’t that great?

5. Use CDN

CDN is the acronym for Content Delivery Network. As the name implies, it is a content delivery network whose aim is to speed up the loading time of your website. This is because it delivers the static content of the site from the server closest to where the request is made.

It is very natural that people do not take into consideration the location of your data center when hiring, but this is extremely relevant. Understand how:

You have a website that people in Brazil, the United States and Australia access. Your server is in the United States. Who is closer to the server, can load the site much faster than who is in Australia. This is because the distance influences the time in which the server receives and responds to data from your site.

The CDN has solved this problem. Usually the CDN companies have high end servers around the world where the replicas of the sites are stored. In other words with the CDN if I have a point in Australia, I minimize the loading time because it will not be necessary to make the request for static files in the USA.

My last and very important WordPress CDN tip is Bunny.net. It now has 53 data centers on 6 continents and 35 countries. But its main advantage is that its installation is very easy and practical: Sign up on the site and create an account. Add your URL in Bunny and then install the BunnyCDN plugin to complete the configuration. And the good news is that you can test it for 15 days and compare the speeds before and after activation.

Start optimizing your WordPress speed now

After these golden tips, don’t waste any time and improve your WordPress speed right now. You will notice the before and after of your site, not only in loading but in the advancement of positions in keywords, among others.

Ps: If you want a faster option to have all the benefits of a WordPress platform running on a robust server like Google Cloud, you can hire our Website Development and Ecommerce service, SiteXpress ( sitexpress.org ).

Did you get a lot of questions on this topic? Or did you follow the step-by-step and got results? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Until next time.

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