Several studies have shown that if a page fails to load within a few seconds, many of the users will go running for the back button before they even take a look at your site. WordPress is an amazing tool, but many WordPress blogs run much slower than they need to because there is unnecessary bloat on the page. Here are a few simple things that you can do to speed up your site’s loading time.
Delete Unnecessary Plugins
Have you installed any plugins that you aren’t using any more? If it’s been a while, and there’s no reason to expect that you will ever use the plugin again, then it’s not worth the waste of space. Even though these plugins aren’t doing anything on the page, they may still be loading and slowing down the user experience.
Deleting these plugins will often result in a cleaner and more responsive site. This is one of the primary reasons why sites get bogged down, so start with this one before moving on to anything else.
Updates to WordPress, and to your plugins, might not seem to do anything, but they are there for a reason. Many of these updates exist because a new, more secure, cleaner, more efficient version of the program has been created. It doesn’t matter if it is an update to your plugins, your themes, or to WordPress itself. Whatever it is, make sure that you download the update as soon as you notice it is available.
At the same time, make sure that you backup your files before you update. It doesn’t happen very often, but there are cases where an update can go wrong and you can end up losing data. Make sure to back everything up beforehand, just in case.
Remove or Alter Images
Consider removing unnecessary images from your site. This one can be hit or miss, because images do a lot to improve the readability and attractiveness of a site. Avoid using images as text or using images for solid blocks of color that can be created with HTML.
More importantly, pay attention to whether images are unnecessarily large. Don’t waste resources by resizing images in the WordPress visual editor. When you do this, the image appears smaller on the page but the site still needs to load the entire image. Instead, resize the image itself in Photoshop or whatever image editor you are using. Upload the smaller picture. This way you don’t waste time downloading a larger image that won’t even be displayed on screen.
This is true even if the image is a thumbnail, and especially if the page is a list of a large number of thumbnails. Use a small version of the image as the thumbnail, and use it to link to a different page with the full size image. If you simply resize the image in WordPress, the entire image loads even though it is just displayed as a small thumbnail on the page.
It may sound like uploading two versions of the same image is wasteful, and when it comes to server memory this is true. But for site loading time this is much faster and a better use of resources.
Minimize Your PHP Queries
If you are familiar enough with coding, this one can be very helpful. There are many cases where you can either use HTML code or query your PHP database in order to display something on the site. Every time that WordPress needs to access your database, this puts strain on your server. If the browser can load this information directly from the HTML on the page, this can do a lot to decrease load time. Other than excessive plugins, this is likely the most common issue that unnecessarily bogs down a site.
Instead of using a “?php bloginfo” query, it’s often possible to achieve the same results with a link or static text. It can take a lot of time to go through and change these values, but the end result is often a much faster site.