How to Speed Up WordPress Blog: 9 Easy Steps

What’s worse than a slow website? Nothing.  Not you, not me, not anyone likes to visit to a site that takes much time to load.

Visitors won’t hesitate to hit the ‘back’ button if your site is loading very slowly. Besides, Google considers this as a small factor in ranking.

So not only it is important for user experience but also it is important for Search engines.

Speed Up WordPress

Before taking steps to speed up your WordPress site, you need to know how your site is performing. Several tools can be used to check site speed and performance.

Check out my post Top 3 Tools to Check Your Website Speed and Performance

Assuming you have checked your WordPress sites’ speed and performance, it’s time to take some necessary steps to make your site drastically fast.

1. Pick the Right Web Host

The first and foremost requirement for a Super Fast site is the Hosting provider you choose. Choosing the correct Web-host can benefit you with many things.

You can have a fast site, face less downtimes etc. If you are using a cheap quality Hosting, surely you are losing traffic, sales and money.  Don’t try to save a few bucks and compromise quality.

Pay those few bucks and get a better host Today.

I have been using HostGator Baby Plan for a long time and I am pretty happy with this. Even though it’s a shared hosting, I never faced slow response from server and I managed to optimize it for the best performance.

So for an affordable price HostGator can offer you a good service. Use the coupon code “RTBHOSTING25” to get 25% OFF on your purchase.

Change your Web Host today!

2. Choose Your Theme Wisely

One of the amazing facts about WordPress is, there are thousands of themes available to use.

Varieties of themes are available to choose from. You can either go with free themes or you can pay a little cash for premium themes and frameworks.

My advice – go for a premium theme. Premium themes are bundled with hundreds of features and yet optimized for site speed. Of course not all of them are top notch. That’s why you need to choose wisely.

Few things you should consider while choosing a theme – Responsive, Functional yet Lightweight. Read how to Choose the Right WordPress Theme.

We are using Genesis in RTB and it’s been great performance-wise. If you can spend the money go on, get Genesis. You won’t regret. But if your budget is low then go with MyThemeShop ($35/theme).

3. Use an effective Caching Plugin

Caching is the process of using data from previous requests to speed up future requests.

WordPress loads bunch off files and does a lot on the back-end everytime you visit your blog. With caching, this process gets simplified. That means every time you visit your blog WordPress won’t have to do a lot and load a lot on the back-end.

With caching enabled, your contents are served without being generated over and over again. Caching can improve load time dramatically for returning visitors.

In WordPress sites, caching can be enabled using plugins.

Now, there are lots of options to go with. But I would suggest you to use W3 Total Cache. It has all the features you need in a caching plugin. It’s easy to install and use.

4. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

content delivery network (CDN) is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers. CDN helps to deliver your content, images and also CSS & JavaScript files from different locations across the globe.

While using a CDN, your blog contents will be served from a location that is closest to your visitor. That way it is served quickly making your blog fast.

Many premium and free CDNs are available. For blogs with higher traffic, you can go for premium CDN service like MaxCDN. For starters, you can choose a free one.

IMO, CloudFlare is the best free CDN service available. Read our post on how to use CloudFlare with WordPress blog.

5. Optimize Images

Images are essential parts of a blog post. You’ll hardly see any blog posts without images. But what if they caused your blogs’ load time? And they will, because they are larger in size than stylesheets or JavaScripts.

So your target here is to make them lower in size for faster loading. You can achieve that by re-sizing the images or change their formats- that can jeopardize image quality.

But how awesome it would be if you could make your images lower in size without losing quality? Pretty awesome, right?

Here’s what you gotta do. Use a WordPress Plugin called WP Smush.it. Learn more about the plugin here.

You can also use online services like TinyPNG to compress your images but that’s time consuming. So I suggest you to use the plugin instead.

6. Reduce the number of Plugins

It’s quite exciting to use WordPress plugins to get all sort of features in your blog. But having too many of them can cause you a slower blog.

Now, not all the plugins are essential for your blog. Go through the whole plugin list and determine which are essential for your blog.

Surely, you’ll find a few which are not that important yet you have them activated. Deactivate them and delete them. Remember, having plugins that are deactivated can still slow down your blog and leave you open to security vulnerabilities.

Carefully choose your plugins and use only the ones you need for your blog. And don’t forget to update them regularly.

7. Optimize Your blogs’ Database

Database is the place where all information about your WordPress blog is stored. It’s not like other files and uploaded media files. Database is used to store information of posts, pages, comments, settings and plugins.

Database is read every time you load a page. So if your database is cluttered with numerous useless information, it will take more time to load.

While writing a post, WordPress saves every change as a revision in database. It’s a good thing if you want to revert back to a older version of your post. But it can be a problem too cause your database is also getting piled with these revisions.

Spam comments is a similar case. You don’t need them, but they are saved in your database.

Here’s how you can clean up post revisions and spam comments easily. Use WP-DBManager. With this plugin you can do almost everything need to optimize your database.

8. Homepage Optimization

This is another important step. Your homepage should be fast as well as other pages. You can easily optimize your blogs’ Homepage by taking some simple steps.  You can follow these :

  1. Instead of showing full posts, just show the summery(excerpt) of posts. Full posts will take much time to load as they contain images, videos etc. If people wanna read any of the posts they will open that post. They don’t have to read it from Homepage.
  2. Reduce the number of posts shown on the Homepage. Instead of showing too many posts on homepage, use pagination and show not more than 6-7 posts on Homepage. More posts means more loading time.
  3. Hide widgets that are not important on Homepage. For example, if your blog has a ‘Recent Posts Widget’, hide it on homepage. You don’t need it there cause recent posts are already shown there. Learn how to control widgets visibility.

9. Keep WordPress updated

Always keep your WordPress updated.  With every WordPress update, WordPress becomes more secure, more efficient. Plus there are new features.

Keeping your WordPress updated ensures the best performance WordPress can provide. Don’t forget to backup your site before updating just in case anything goes wrong.

Over to You

Now go on, do these steps and make your blog faster. Let us know through comments if these tips worked for you. Also let us know if you have other tips to speed up WordPress blog.

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Imtiaz Rayhan
 

Co-Founder of RoadToBlogging. Music addict, The Beatles fan. WordPress lover. Add me on Facebook, Google+

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