We are expert Wordpress Web designers, and as such we are always looking for ways to improve our websites. Below we have listed 10 steps to increase the speed of your wordpress blog. We have used all of these steps to reduce the overall load time of our Wordpress blog by about 60%. There are a lot of things you can do to reduce the load times of your Wordpress blog, but here are some things we have tried that have actually worked!
There are many factors effecting your wordpress website speed. Everything from the database, to the theme to the images you use effect the overall speed of the website. As Google has started to take website speed into account, and for your own user experience in general, you need to start looking at speed as a factor in the design of your website, as well as something that is a long term issue for your SEO.
One of the major reasons EVERYONE should look at improving their website speed, is that it has been found to be a major factor in improving web conversions. Yahoo and Google have shown that a 1 second increase in speed can mean a 20% increase in conversions!
0 - Backup and Benchmark yourself
The most important thing you can do before you start tweaking Wordpress is to Backup your database. There are plenty of good back up plugins available from the Wordpress website.
The next thing you need to do is set a standard for your website. We use Load Impact to see where we can make savings on our website speed.
1. Install Page Speed from Google There are other plug ins that offer good reporting on website speed and changes you can make. We recommend Page Speed by Google for a few reasons.
2. Choose the right Wordpress Theme Choosing the right theme will make a huge difference in the first place. There are a few criteria you want to go off;
1. Menu bar across the top.
2. Two Column Layout
3. Space for your logo in the top left hand corner.
4. Background colour of the body is white.
5. Stretchable side areas (outside of the body)
6. CSS menu (not images)
We have written two posts on the best theme for business and the best wordpress theme for speed before. These give you a good idea of the free themes you can use that work well for any business, and are lightweight and fast.
3. Do not scale your images Within Wordpress pages it is easy to alter the scale of an image just using the tools available in each post. DO NOT do this! Although it is tempting, for every small tweak of an image, you are actually wasting a HUGE amount of time for page loading.
When you scale your images in a Wordpress page or post, Wordpress uses HTML to adjust the dimensions. This basically means that the browser downloads the full size image, and then shrinks the image to fit the dimensions. As you can imagine, this is a huge waste of resources.
4. Optimise your images (Image type and lossless compression) I am not going to go into what lossless compression is, but choosing the right image type and compression can save you a lot of loading time. Using software like Gimp or Photoshop can help you make the right choices for image type.
1. Use JPGs for images of "scenes" and "people" and try to lower the quality down as much as acceptable.
2. Use PNG 8 for logos and buttons.
All minify really does is it removes spaces and comments from your code, to give browsers only what they want.
By offloading the burden onto Google, you not only get a faster loading time, but you will also always get the latest and greatest version.
We found that our WP_Posts database had reached nearly 15MB, with over 90% of this space taken up by revisions. So we installed Delete Revisions, a plug in that allows you to remove all the post and page revisions.
10. Optimise your blog (remove dead plugins) The last thing you should look at doing is removing redundant plug ins from your Wordpress Web design, and themes, and making sure your code is up to date. At the moment we have not seen any major differences between versions of Wordpress in terms of speed. However plugins do change, and if you are not using one, then you should get rid of it.
Also when you get rid of a plug in, you should have a look at the database and see if there is anything left behind. From time to time we have a look at our database and find tables left by old plugins, which can slow down your blog.