Having a website that loads quickly is more important than ever. According to Google, conversions can fall by up to 20% for every second delay in mobile page load. Most users expect a web page to load within 5 seconds.
How fast your website loads depends on several factors. First, there is the content on the page like text and images. Even the fonts used can cause extra load time. Then there is the code from the active theme and plugins installed on your site. WordPress has guidelines for developers and any theme or plugin in the WordPress repo has passed quality checks. Still, each theme and plugin is so unique they each affect page load times differently.
In this article we will show you some tips and tricks to increase page speed on your WordPress website.
Increase Web Page Speed
Both new and existing websites will benefit from the techniques in this article. Start by using a free online tool like PageSpeed Insights to test your page speed. We recommend optimizing the homepage first as it is likely the most visited page on your site. But keep in mind each page on your site will have a different page speed score.
Image Optimization in WordPress
Images are the most common type of website content, other than plain text. Each page and post on your website should contain at least one image. Images and other media are the biggest inhibitors to peak website speed so it’s important to have a plan.
There are plugins available to assist with image optimization, but you can take steps on your own. Less plugins are better for your website, and you may achieve similar results with our advice.
Limit Image Size
You should only use images in the exact size you need as bigger images take longer to load. Before uploading the image to the Media Library, use a service like tinypng.com or imagecompressor.com to decrease the file size.
The biggest images on your website will be background images. The recommended size for background images is 2000px in width and 1080px in height. Images intended to be the full width of the content area (not the full width of the screen) generally do not need to be more than 1500px in width.
Use WebP Images
Since the WordPress 5.8 release, you can upload WebP images into the Media Library. WebP images are on average 26-30% smaller than jpeg or png images in file size, without losing quality. Most modern browsers support WebP, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera. There are many free online tools available for converting images to WebP. If you are converting less than 25 per day, Cloud Convert is a good option.
Lazy Load Images
Before WordPress 5.5, all page content loaded at the same time – on initial page load. This forced the browser to spend unnecessary resources loading images before the user could view them. Lazy loading means the browser only loads images when the user reaches them on the page.
Use Website Caching
When someone visits your website, their browser downloads all page content each visit. Website caching tells the browser to store that content for the future, instead of loading it from the external source each time.
Our WordPress caching plugin W3 Total Cache includes a setup guide to help you enable the right options for your website.
Each setting has several options available to choose from. Each option will show the impact choosing it will have on your site so you can make an informed decision.
Plugins and Website Speed
For best website performance, try and limit the number of plugins installed. Remember to deactivate and delete any plugins you are not actively using. We recommend taking time to re-examining the plugins you have installed on your site. Are they all still necessary? Do you have two plugins doing the same task? Eliminating any excess code from your website will help with load times.
If you think a plugin may be causing performance issues, you can test them one by one. Deactivate all plugins and test the page speed. Then re-enable them one by one, doing a page speed test each time. This will show if one causes a drastic decrease in performance.
Recode and Redirect Links
When a link on your website changes, you should use a redirection tool to automatically take a visitor from the old page to the new one. These redirects take extra time as the browser is loading two unique pages. It’s faster to take them directly to the correct page.
Whenever possible, recode the links in addition to using a redirection plugin. Redirections are still needed for search engines and users who bookmarked the old page.
Thanks for reading – we hope you found this information helpful! Please let us know in the comments below what you’ve personally found to help increase page speed on your site.