When you are online, speed is everything. Did you know that a delay of even one second could cost Amazon $1.6 billion in sales? Shocked? According to a recent study, it’s true.No wonder its website is faster than 80% of all tested websites.
Now that we have established the need for speed, let’s talk about WordPress. Many of you may be using WordPress as the backbone for your websites. And, if you ask me, it’s a really great choice! WordPress is an open source software based on PHP and MySQL, and the best part is that it is free!
So WordPress is fast, but is it fast enough? Is there something that can be done to make it faster? Yes, of course! You can definitely optimize your site for greater speed. Here’s how:
Caching means storing common components of the website on your local computer for future visits. Let me explain with an example. Let’s say that you have your company logo on your website that takes time to load. You can opt to cache the logo. When a visitor now accesses your website, the image is saved by the browser/proxy. How does this help? When the visitor now visits subsequent pages of your site which also contain the logo, his browser refers to the locally cached copy instead of sending multiple requests all the way to the server. This means that your logo loads much faster, which in turn increases the speed of your website.
Caching a WordPress site is one of the best ways to quickly and efficiently make it load a lot faster.
Our recommended WordPress plugins to have caching activated are W3 Cache and WP Super Cache.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDN is basically a network of multiple servers located in different geographical locations. When a visitor accesses for your website, the server that is the closest to the visitor’s location sends back the rendered website. Thus the page loads faster. CDN is especially helpful when your website has a lot of images/videos which need high definition output.
There are many free CDN providers out there specialized for WordPress. I recommend CloudFlare.
The size of an image on your website has a direct effect on your page-loading speed. The greater the picture resolution, the bigger its size and the slower your website. Your main aim is to increase your website loading speed without compromising on the image quality.
This is where the next WordPress plugin Smush.it comes into play. The plugin helps reduce image size effectively by removing excess data from JPEG format, or by converting GIF to PNG format.
Understanding the theme
WordPress offers many themes that you can use for your website. But while choosing themes, you need to know what the theme contains so that you can then judge if it will be appropriate for your website. One thing I would like to mention here, be careful when you opt for free themes as they may be infected, that is they may not work smoothly. Hence the theme source plays an important role. You could also check your themes with theme authenticity checker. If you are not very confident, then it’s best that you go for professional themes that you can buy.
Themeforest usually has good themes. You can also check out the default themes like TwentyThirteen which ships with WordPress 3.6 and learn to customize it yourself!
Finally, check WordPress to make sure that you need all the plugins that are active. There may be times when a plugin which is not even required is active, lowering the overall loading speed. In case you find out that some plugin is not required, deactivate it and also delete it from your website. This helps in making your website more sharp in terms of response to requests.
There is no limit to how fast you can make your websites go. You can continue to increase your speed (it may be by a micro millisecond) by optimizing your websites more. But what you need to keep in mind is that continuous optimization becomes a waste of time and resources in the latter stages. Reason? Your profits/ visitor density will increase at a slower rate, which does not make feasible to invest so much. So my last word to you is: Know when to stop. Do not overdo it!
Image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1397111