One of the biggest complaints we get from new clients is that their WordPress website is too slow. They come to us because they have been working with other agencies who says there’s nothing they can do about it because “WordPress is just slow”.
This is NONSENSE!
Please feel free to run our own website through speed tests… yes, this website is a WordPress website! Doesn’t look like it, right?
That’s because we specialise in creating bespoke websites that perform.
Unfortunately, the main reasons why WordPress websites are really slow is because they’re built badly in the first place. There’s a lot of techy ways you can speed up a WordPress site, but we thought we’d pick some that are easy enough to do yourself.
At the end of the day, having a custom WordPress website is always going to be a lot quicker and better for the environment, but we understand that a decent budget is required to do this and many do not have the option to do so.
So, here are our top 5 ways to speed up your WordPress website that’s simple to do without a web developer helping you.
Pick a good hosting company
It’s really tempting to just Google “website hosting for WordPress” and then just pick the cheapest option on there, but unfortunately, this could be the downfall to your website performance.
Lots of the cheap website hosting packages don’t offer many resources and you’re sharing the server with thousands of other websites.
If you really want your website to be fast, you can see if there’s room in your budget for a dedicated server, so it’s just your website using that.
We personally use green website hosting as it uses completely renewable energy to power the server.
One of our favourites is Krystal Hosting, and they have some excellent WordPress specialist packages.
Optimise your images
Images can be the key to creating a beautiful website, and professional imagery can be very large! Therefore, if you upload images directly to your website in the format you got from your photographer, or perhaps downloaded from a stock website, then you will end up with a very slow website.
We recommend sizing down your images to the size you need for your website and then running them through a compression service like TinyPNG, which allows for lossless compression – meaning it won’t lose the quality of the image.
Reduce the number of plugins
Another main culprit of a slow WordPress website is having too many plugins! When you first start using WordPress, it can be quite addictive to keep adding plugins. After all, they add so much cool functionality to your website, and you don’t even need to know how to code to do it!
But each one of these plugins have so many files and really bulk down the site. They also come with a whole host of security issues too.
Often, websites will end up crashing, because two plugins don’t work well together and it’s a nightmare to fix.
So, only add plugins if you really have to! We’ve managed to get WordPress sites from less than 10/100 on Google Page Speeds to in the 80s purely from removing plugins!
Add caching to your website
If you’re starting to panic now because things are sounding more technical, please don’t. This is still something you can do on your own!
First up, caching is essentially your website saving the files of your site locally so it doesn’t have to call upon the server to display your website. This way, when someone visits your website, the browser will show the cached version of your website, meaning it’s so much quicker to load.
Now, I know we said not to use too many plugins, but a caching plugin should be helping you speed up your website, so it’s allowed :-).
HubSpot have written a great article on top caching plugins, so you can take a look at their comparisons. W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular because it’s completely FREE! It’s been around a long time, and so you can trust its performance.
Use a CDN
Again, this one isn’t too techy… we promise! A CDN stands for Content Delivery Network and what it does is hold a copy of your website’s files in various data centres around the world. Therefore, whenever someone visits your website, it delivers the content from the closest data centre, making it much quicker for the visitor to receive the content.
Again, you can add one to your website without the need of a developer, but we can also completely understand why you may want one for this stage.
We recommend using CloudFlare if you’re just starting out – it’s free and the team there are really helpful and can help you set it up on your site.