As WordPress is an affordable, rich and user-friendly solution, it can quickly become fun and immersive to design your own website. With over 49,000 plugins and over 4,500 themes, you just feel like a kid in a candy store! No wonder why WordPress is so popular.
Having said that, there are still a few precautions to take while building your website. Why? Because UX (user experience) is not only about design, it’s also about performance. That is to say how fast your website is able to load its pages.
Following kissmetrics, which quotes surveys made by Akamai and Gomez.com, almost 50% of web users would expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less. As a result, 80% of them would not return to a website which was too slow and 40% would even tell one of their friends how bad their experience was. So let’s make it clear, for a few seconds you can lose a considerable number of potential customers! Not to forget that the loading speed of your pages also affects your ranking in the search results.
Therefore, if WordPress allows you a nearly infinite number of customization possibilities that are very tempting, don’t forget that your website’s performance is crucial too. So let’s explore ways to make your website work rocket-fast!
1. Before doing anything
The first thing you have to think about is to pick a relevant host. It all depends on your website’s needs. If you are about to begin with WordPress, shared WordPress hosting is for sure the most cost-effective and efficient solution. Since you are sharing a server with other websites, hosting providers can offer rather cheap rates.
Yet, you should bear in mind that the service provider won’t be perfect in terms of navigation speed, maintenance, and technical support. Especially in case you cumulate heavy content (videos, images, etc), a high number of plugins and high traffic.
Therefore, if you realize that your website is receiving an increasing amount of traffic, you may as well consider selecting a WordPress dedicated server hosting which will be more suitable in order to maintain your website’s performance. You will not be slowed down by the traffic from other websites and your users will be able to navigate more easily.
This is a huge advantage but be ready to level up your budget as this solution is a bit more costly. You should also take into account that installing, updating, and repairing this kind of server can be a real hassle for website owners.
That leads us to our last suggested option which is managed WordPress hosting. If you do not want to focus on all the technical and security aspects regarding WordPress, this solution is just the right one for you. Moreover, you will be benefiting from fast browsing (servers are specifically dedicated to WordPress websites!) as well as expert support. Yes, you got it: everything is “managed” for you!
You have a large choice of hosting solutions, none of them is worse or better, it all depends on your needs!
2. While you are building your website
Choose appropriate themes
Following the various visual features that a theme can include, it can take more or less time for a page to load. Check out Wiredelta®’s theme directory, where we gathered all the most beautiful and advanced themes. There we have more themes than Wix, Weebly and Squarespace combined!
Use Gzip compression
Do not overuse plugins
With so many accessible and attractive plugins, you could be easily tempted to download them all. Nonetheless, you should bear in mind that every plugin installed will require an extra server request when loading a particular section of your website. Theoretically, the more server requests there are, the more time your web pages need in order to appear on the user’s screen.
Even though it is not necessarily true to state that too many plugins affect your website’s performance (some WordPress websites have over hundreds of plugins and work, so to speak, perfectly fine), it is generally admitted that if you are not an advanced WordPress user, around twenty plugins seem like a reasonable number. In this case, less is definitely more!
With access to so many plugins, you could easily feel like a kid in a candy shop but beware of not downloading too many!
Reduce the size of your images
You want a fancy and graphic website and therefore would like to insert many pictures? No problem, but do take into account that heavy images can significantly slow the loading pace of your pages. As a consequence, make sure as a first step that you compress all of your pictures. This can be done without any quality loss! As a second step, scale them as to make them fit for the pixel dimensions indicated in your HTML code.
Compressing is about reducing the size not the quality
Use a caching plugin
Caching plugins can be quite of time-savers in terms of page loading. This is how they work: for every page which is loaded, the page cache will create static files including images, CSS sheets etc., that will be saved in a temporary folder. The next time a user will visit your website, his browser will be able to display the pages much faster as it will show a cached copy. A very popular cache plugin is W3 Total Cache.
3. Once your website is online
At last! Your website is running live and you took all the precautions required to eliminate any kind of frustration related to the loading speed. Your visitors will appreciate that for sure!
As for now, you just need to regularly make sure that your website does not underperform. This can be made easy thanks to a speed tester. PageSpeed Insights edited by Google is one of them. Not only will it provide you with you a graded assessment of your performance (the tool scores between 0 and 100), it will also give you relevant suggestions on how to improve it and what you should focus on as a priority.
PageSpeed Insights is a good analytical tool when it comes to assessing your website’s performance
So here is a brief recap. Pick a relevant host, implement recommendations from this list and make regular speed checks. With these few tips in mind, you should be able to considerably speed up the loading pace of your website. You just need to get started!