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How to reduce page-load time in WordPress

Guide
by James Brown Agency Partnership Manager

You may think that a few seconds here and there doesn’t matter, but the truth is: every second counts. A website’s page-load speed is one of the factors taken into consideration for search rankings; by running a slow-loading site you are risking lowering your visibility and resulting traffic to your site from people searching for your services.

Even those who make their way onto your website are more likely to abandon it if page-loading speed is slow, with 75% of mobile users leaving a site if it takes more than 5 seconds to load. Ultimately, if your website is slow-loading, you are inviting fewer visitors, higher bounce rates, and reduced conversions.

Factors affecting page-load speed

Server & hosting technology

Cheap or shared hosting plans may be able to cope with your web traffic initially, but keep an eye on your page views and move your site to a better server when it increases. If you are a small-to-medium business then it is worth considering a VPS or managed hosting instead of using a dedicated server.

Redirects

Some redirects are necessary however, in general they slow your site down as they create HTTP requests (more on this below)

HTTP requests

When you us external resources (e.g. a web font), you make HTTP requests. The more of these you make, the more your loading time suffers.

Themes & plugins

Everything that extends your website can also slow it down and, the more plugins you install, the more resources are required to run them. There’s also potential for unknown malware to sneak in via these.

Media file size

Large files naturally take longer to load. If you have high-quality images or videos on your page, this can all add up and drastically reduce page-load speed.

How to increase page-load speed

  • Minimise number of plugins
  • Move your site to a better host & avoid shared hosting
  • Use content delivery networks (CDNs) to distribute your site to multiple servers in various locations to speed up delivery to site users
  • Enable caching (there are a few plugins you can use for this, here’s the one we use)
  • Remove non-essential redirects
  • Optimise the size of images and other media files
  • Limit the use of external resources including web fonts
  • Scan your database for malware and only install plugins and themes from trusted sources
  • Keep your website updated, including any installed plugins. Updates usually fix bugs and issues that could have been slowing your site down.
  • Use up-to-date WordPress themes. Themes with a large amount of code can slow down your site. If you are a beginner and must use a ready-made theme, choose one that is lightweight to keep your sight speedy. In general, pre-existing themes wont optimise for SEO as well as custom-builds, (you can read more about templates vs. custom themes here.)
  • You can also use plugins to optimise your site such as this one that we use which concatenates all scripts and styles and minifies HTML code.

Need help with some development work? We are a white label agency specialising in WordPress, Magento, and HTML. Get in touch for a quote.