5 Quick Tips for Boosting WordPress Performance

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If your website performs poorly, it’s probably causing more harm than you realize. Data indicates that slow load times and sluggish website performance don’t just cause frustration — they actually impact major business metrics like conversion rates and SEO.

In the worst cases, a slow site may actually drive customers to the competition. 

So, what do you do if you find your website performing less than optimally? Fortunately, WordPress is a highly configurable platform, and as such, there are tons of options for fixing nearly any problem — performance included. Let’s dig in.

Why WordPress Performance Is Important

Ensuring your WordPress site performs well might seem obvious, but not everyone spends enough time thinking about it (the huge number of slow, cumbersome websites out there is evidence of that!).

There are several reasons why performance should be a top priority:

  • User experience. First and foremost, a speedy site is just a better experience for visitors. People don’t want to use a slow site these days, and may not stick around to wait for it to load. Instead, they’ll try a competing site and may not be back. 
  • Accessibility. Not everyone has access to the same internet speeds. A page that loads quickly on a Gigabit connection may take forever on a mobile hotspot or dial-up connection. Unfortunately, some people are working with those slower speeds all the time, so you have to consider that when you’re building your site.
  • Conversion rates. Faster sites convert better. Period. This is partially related to losing users due to poor experience, but there may be more to it than that. Studies consistently show that the longer a page takes to load, the lower the conversion rate.
  • SEO. Finally, page speed is one of the biggest factors in most search engine algorithms, including Google. If your site doesn’t perform well, you’re not using SEO to its full potential.

5 Quick Tips for Boosting WordPress Performance

The exact steps you need to take to correct poor WordPress performance can vary based on the cause. However, there are a few general steps you can take with nearly any site to greatly improve page loading times. 

01. Use a caching plugin

One of the simplest things you can do to drastically improve page load time is by installing a caching plugin on your WordPress site.

These plugins basically store pre-loaded copies of your website and load them when a visitor arrives. The advantage of this is that the entire page doesn’t have to load every single time someone visits. 

There are a number of excellent caching plugins available for WordPress. Two of the most popular are WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache. Both are straightforward to set up and use. 

02. Optimize Images and Other Media

After setting up a caching plugin, the next thing you should do is spend some time optimizing the images and other media files on your site. These are often the largest files on a given page, and as such, can have a huge impact on loading times and performance in general. 

There are a couple of different ways to approach image optimization. Since this is WordPress, the most common method is typically to use a plugin. There are a number of useful options, but one of the most popular and highest-rated is Smush. Smush enables you to resize and optimize image files that already exist on your site, as well as new uploads. 

If you’d rather not install yet another plugin, you can also use the TinyPNG tool. TinyPNG is a free tool that optimizes any images you upload, and it’s extremely effective. 

TinyPNG

03. Utilize a CDN

After caching and optimizing media, one of the most impactful things you can do to improve website performance is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This is a system of web servers that distributes cached copies of your site around the world so that visitors always load your page from a server physically close to them. 

The physical distance between a computer and a server has a surprisingly large impact on performance. The actual difference might be on the order of milliseconds, but that’s a really long time when you’re trying to load a website in 2021. 

Cloudflare is one of the most popular CDNs, and it’s generally the one we’d recommend. It’s simple to set up, reliable and works well.

cloudflare

04. Choose a Page Builder That Focuses on Performance

So far, we’ve been discussing ways to optimize performance on an existing website. If you’re still in the process of building your site, though, one of the most powerful things you can do is choose a well-optimized page builder. 

Of the popular page builders on the market, Elementor is one of the best, powering over 8 million websites. It’s also one of the leaders in performance. 

The company has made tremendous strides in this area over the past year, especially with the recent 3.4 release. This new version brings dramatically reduced page loading scores, with server response times improved by up to 23 percent and memory usage reduced by roughly five percent — hefty improvements that should translate directly into more responsive websites.

Performance has been the focus at Elementor for quite a while. The company plans to build on 3.4 with future releases, continuing this trend with the goal of empowering web creators. 

The combination of performance and a large number of modules and templates available make Elementor an excellent choice. It’s really hard to go wrong here.

Elementor Website Builder

05. Leverage Lazy Loading

Finally, if you end up with very long pages or still have a lot of large media files, you can employ Lazy Loading. This technique basically loads images at the top of the page first and puts a hold on items lower down until the user scrolls near them. The result is that the initial page load is much faster. 

As with nearly everything in the WordPress world, you can set up Lazy Loading with a plugin. The previously-mentioned Smush plugin can also do Lazy Loading (in addition to image optimization), so that is probably your best bet here.

Need For Speed

Whether your WordPress site is brand new and you’re trying to get off to a good start, or it’s been around for years and needs a quick tuneup, there are plenty of options to speed things up. Give these five tips a try and watch your website performance improve today.

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