It’s necessary that your website loads faster because studies found out that a 2-3 seconds delay can increase the abandonment rates of up to 87% for your visitors.
it can also hurt your ranking in search engines and it is a poor user’s experience for your visitors.
In this article, we will look at how to make your website load faster – especially for those that use WordPress( I’m sure one can apply it on pretty much any type of CMS).
This is the result of my website’s homepage load time — It was tested on pingdom
note: Focus on the load time, not performance grade because it determines how fast or slow your website load.
Use Faster Hosting
Your website’s hosting(Server) – i.e the company you pay to make sure your site is live – play a huge role in the speed and performance of your website.
The thing is no matter how much you optimize your website but if your host (server) is slow – then your website’s load time won’t improve much.
There are different types of web hosting from shared hosting, VPS hosting to cloud hosting etc.
Shared hosting is a single server, hosting a group of websites. You are basically sharing the resources with hundreds of websites.
Cloud hosting is a cluster of servers, which work as a team to host a group of websites. Your website’s data is stored among several different servers, this means that it allows multiple computers to work together to host your website.
Differences between shared and cloud hosting
The difference between shared and cloud hosting lies in how each is organized. Shared hosting servers are servers with multiple websites on them. … Cloud hosting is a service that exists on multiple servers. Instead of on one shared server, your site is hosted in the cloud.
Cloud hosting is like you in your private car and shared hosting is like you on a bus with other people – which will go fast?
Your need and budget should determine the hosting you go for. For example, if you are just starting and you don’t have much visitors and users you can go for shared hosting because it’s cheaper and less technical.
Your budget, Purpose and goal for creating a website will determine the hosting platform you should use. check out this article for things to consider.
But you can start small and scale up when you get more traffic or when your situation demands it.
Another method to make your website load faster is also to always keep your WordPress website up to date
There are always updates like 2 to 3 times a year in WordPress. The updates give your site security and make it run smoothly – increasing speed.
Reduce Image Sizes and use the proper format
I was guilty of this when I started creating and designing websites.
This is probably one of the biggest mistakes websites designers and owners make.
Big images slow and reduce the speed of a website.
It’s what makes the size of the webpages huge and ultimately slows down the speed – especially if you are using shared hosting.
Big companies’ websites and big websites have a lot of huge images but they utilise fast hosting just as we talked about in the first point.
And also you should use the right format of images. For example, the format of your images should be jpeg unless it’s the logo and banner for your homepage – jpeg is lower in size.
Below are the estimate and sizes of images I use
good guidelines to follow:
- Hero Image – Approx 1800px width x 1000px height (Less than 500kb)
- Blog Featured Images – Approx 1000px width x 600px height (Less than 200-250kb)
- Product Images – Approx 800px width x 800px height (Less than 100-150kb)
For other images used, try to look at the visual area it will cover and then resize it accordingly based on the initial hero image size.
Essential to know
For an e-commerce website where the products are to be displayed, it’s important to note that the images with no background are better and will also load faster than images with background.
Because of the fewer details.
For example, take a look at the image below:
It makes it look professional and consistent. Big e-commerce companies like Amazon implement this on their website – you can check their website for yourself.
I screenshotted this from Amazon’s website – so you can see for yourself and implement the same idea in your product pages to help make your website load faster.
Delete unused themes and plugins
So you want a new functionality in your WordPress website and you installed a plugin and realized you don’t need it anymore for it has served its purpose, but you still have the plugin activated.
I’ve also been guilty of this; for example, I installed an under construction plugin when I was designing a website and I forgot to deactivate and delete it when the site was live.
To make your site load faster and smoothly you should keep it light by discarding themes and plugins that you don’t need.
Imagine a car with too many unnecessary loads and a car with little load – which will run faster?
Just make sure you use a light WordPress theme and good plugins.
Pro Tip: check the reviews and when last a plugin was updated in wordpress.org(plugin section) before installing it to make sure you are not installing an outdated plugin – that can also slow down your website
Use Caching plugin
A cache is like temporary storage.
When you visit a website for the first time, your web browser stores some files from the website so that when next you fit the site it does not need to absolutely reload again.
So a cache plugin provides that functionality and your site will load faster.
I use wp fastest cache but there are tons of free cache plugins and paid ones also
Reduce unnecessary Effects
Don’t use some animations and effects just because they look cool.
If the brand or company website you are designing requires animations and some other effects then you can use it but if you absolutely don’t need it then don’t use it.
Because the more effects you add the more plugins or code are required to perform those functions and the slower your website.
For example: If you are creating a website for an event centre or a disco club then you can use all those effects.
But If you are creating a blog that will focus mainly on contents you probably don’t need all those effects. So just keep it simple
Simplicity is the highest sophistication
Use the latest PHP version
PHP is a programming language that is used to build websites. Wordpress also uses PHP.
Just like the second point ensures that you are using the latest PHP version, PHP 7.4 is significantly faster than the previous versions, and with faster execution times and less memory usage.
PHP versions are in the control panel(Cpanel) of your web hosting – depending on the hosting package you use but it’s always included.
Please note: Sometimes updating may break your site, since some older plugins/themes which haven’t been updated may cause a conflict. So try to update everything before you update. You can see this in your Cpanel
Advanced methods to make your website load faster
change Server location
The closer the server to your visitors the faster your website will be to them.
You should choose a server that’s closer to your audience.
Although not all hosting has this feature because some servers are in the USA – if your hosting has this ability you should check out where your audience is from through google analytic and change your servers closer to that place.
Use a Content Delivery Network
A CDN is basically a network of servers around the world that can store your website’s data so it can make your website load faster for the end-user. It brings the server closer to them – this is like a sibling to the previous point.
To make your website load faster is very important for a nice user’s experience and with all the tips above you should have your website load faster than it was before and if you have any other tips that I missed out or a question please comment in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and I hope you found it helpful and make your website load faster.