According to insights from Google, if your site speed takes up to 5 seconds to load, the probability of visitors abandoning your page increases by up to 90 percent. At ten seconds, the chance of people bouncing off your page jumps to 123 percent.
From these numbers, it is clear that we live in a world of instant gratification.
So, about that page speed…
It is key to the success of any website, and even of any business.
Oh, the dire question: “How do I make my WordPress site load faster?”
If you do not pay attention to the speed of your site and how to optimize it, you will likely get lost among the web galaxy.
Fortunately, there is a solution to optimize your page for lighting fast speeds. Want to know what it is?
Start With Good Hosting to Increase Your Site Speed
For starters, you need to choose the right hosting. Do not fall for ‘too good to be true’ bargains. Also, do not be tempted by shared hosting.
Shared hosting packages are marketed very attractively, with promises like “unlimited page views.” While this sounds good on paper (or more correctly, onscreen), these packages come with a high price: reduced load times.
If you are using shared or dubiously cheap hosting, there is not much you can do to increase page speed, as the provider itself can not be sped up.
Instead, ensure that you go with one of the fastest hosting services you can find, and skip the shared hosting, especially if you are planning on having a broad audience.
When vetting potential hosting providers, here is a list of questions you can ask them to make sure that their services and speed levels are right for your needs.
Choose a Fast WordPress Theme
The next integral step to optimizing your site’s speed is choosing a fast WordPress theme. Overly big themes with lots of unnecessary features will bog down your site and reduce load times to a snail’s pace.
Instead, opt for lightweight themes that supply only what you require.
Some of the fastest WordPress themes include:
- Ocean WP
- The Gem
- X Theme
- Genesis Framework
Besides these examples, there are many other speedy themes out there. When selecting your site’s theme, do your research, and single out the ones that are proven to have the fastest load times.
Optimize Your Site's Images
The next step to getting a lighting fast site is optimizing your site’s images. There are many ways to do this, such as in Photoshop.
However, one of the most efficient ways to optimize all of your site’s images is to use put them through Squoosh Ap.
Squoosh automatically optimizes all images before you upload them onto your WordPress site. Compared to manually optimizing each image yourself, this saves vast amounts of time.
Enable LazyLoad on Images
Another way to soften the blow that images deal with page speed is to enable LazyLoad.
When LazyLoad is enabled, only the images above the fold—the ones that visitors see on their screen—will load. As the user scrolls down the screen, the rest of the pictures will load.
This significantly cuts down server demand, and can also decrease the bandwidth used.
The reason for this is that some visitors may not make it down to the bottom of a page. In this case, no bandwidth will be wasted, as images that were not viewed are left unloaded.
Tweak Your Home Page for Increased Speed
Your entire site needs to yield good page load speeds. However, there is one page, in particular, that should be optimized for fast load times.
Can you guess which page?
You got it right, galactic star: the home base.
Optimizing your home page will contribute to the overall speed of your site.
It will also mean that the ‘front’ of your website is engineered to impress by loading as fast as possible.
There are several ways you can optimize your home page for increased speed. These include:
- Remove unnecessary social widgets (keep these for individual posts)
- Limit the number of posts displayed (5 to 7 is a conservative choice)
- Shorten post excerpts
- Keep widgets to a minimum, using only what you need
- Clean up inactive and non-useful plugins and widgets
By cleaning up your homepage and inadvertently simplifying it, not only will you increase the load speed, but you will also end up with brighter and less cluttered user experience.
Put a Stop to Hotlinking
Hotlinking occurs when other websites direct links to images on your site.
This is common if you create unique media and images, and can result in a significant amount of bandwidth being stolen from you.
To stop this, you can either edit the root .htaccess file on your site, install a security plugin such as All In One WP Security And Firewall, or disable hotlinking using a CDN.
In general, it is best to deal with hotlinking at a CDN level. While you don’t want people hotlinking your images, you also want to keep them visible and available to Google.
Utilize a CDN Service to Optimize your Website Speed
A slow site is a traffic killer. A fast site will give you an edge over the interwebs get your business visible within the endless internet galaxy.
Now that you know the answer to “how do I make my WordPress site load faster,” all that remains is to get started on optimizing your site.
If you do not have the time or patience for this process, we offer a WordPress site speed optimization service.
If, on the other hand, you have not built your site yet, and are wishing to optimize it for speed from the start, you can also take advantage of our range of prebuilt websites.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our services.