What is your instinct when you land on a page that takes forever to load?
Like most normal people you probably leave the website and end up on their competitors website.
Having a slow website can increase your website negatively in the following ways.
· increase bounce rate (visitors who leave your website after viewing 1 page)
· decrease time on site
· affect search rankings
· affect user experience
· lower conversions
Let’s take a look at 5 ways you can boost site performance, improve user experience and search visibility on a WordPress website.
1. Install a caching plugin
WordPress has several caching plugins available such as W3 Total Cache, Super Cache, WP Rocket and if you’re hosted on SiteGround Hosting, SG Optimizer. These plugins all provide similar functionality by instructing the browser to store some files to RAM so that they are loaded from your computer rather than the server when a page is revisited. This decreases demand on the server which as a result increases page loading. These plugins also have a number of other benefits such as script compressing, CDN setup and other technical improvements that can boost site speed as high as 50%.
2. Compress images
Using large images on a website is by far the biggest offense. When you visit a website it needs to load images and the larger they are the more time it can take. GTMetrix.com is a website that provides page speed testing and provides compressed alternative images that can be downloaded and used to replace existing images. By simply replacing all images you can make a drastic difference on your website. For example, I had a client who used a 6000 pixel wide image as their favicon. When I replaced the image the site speed was increased by a whole second.
3. Cleanup Database
WordPress stores drafts, deleted comments, revisions and other data into the database. Unless they are properly cleared from the database they can bloat your website and as a result affect site performance. It is recommended to download a plugin such as WP Optimize or Advanced Database Cleaner to delete any unnecessary data. As a result this can further decrease the size of the database which can come in handy when migrating, backing up and restoring websites.
4. Compress CSS & JS Files
WordPress themes tend to have a large amount of CSS and JS files that contain a substantial amount of white space. Most caching plugins provide methods to handle these 2 types of files by compressing, combining and deferring them to the footer which as a result can increase page loading times, site scores (if you care) and user experience.
5. Get better hosting
Many businesses and site owners end up poor hosting as a result of their web designers choice, looking for the cheapest hosting available or ending up with bad hosting inadvertently. A server is just like a computer. There is a big difference if you’re running software on a ten year old PC vs a brand new computer. Similarly, running WordPress on a poor sever vs one through a quality hosting company can be a huge difference. In fact, I would go as far as saying that your choice in hosting company can have a massive impact on the overall success of your website. If you’re looking for quality hosting for a WordPress website I always recommend SiteGround.
Follow the above steps and you’ll see your page speeds skyrocket and as a result see better results in your analytics from higher traffic, increased dwell time, lower bounce rates and most importantly higher conversions.
If you’re already running WordPress, NexToronto is a Toronto based Web Design company that can help improve your site performance.