Every second count. Speed is a killer.
In every minute, more than 2.5 million content are shared on Facebook, more than 72-hours-long video content are uploaded to the Youtube. Billions of information and data are coming to life in every second by making the attention one of the most important scarce goods today.
According to behavioural studies, we tend to make snap judgements. The first few seconds spent in front of a particular website will affect the entire period of interaction. If that website does not load within 3 seconds, users are likely to leave.
You can have the greatest and most innovative idea and content to offer, once your page is too slow to access, you are a non-existent category.
The importance of a certain moment can be increased further by causing changes in the experience of another moment. Once the loading time itself is too long, it is not necessarily enough to have a website with novel content, because it has become depreciated and the users will probably leave. Users will leave right before your website even loads.
The following steps will help you to minimize the loading time, to maximize the attention and experience of users.
STEP 1. Measuring the current performance
The loading time depends on a good deal of factors (even from the geographical location), this is why so important to check the user experience in this regard. To do that, 2 tools are of key importance (of course, keep in mind that DNS lookup at first time will usually be slower):
- Pingdom: it allows you to map the speed of your page from different geographical locations.
- GTmetrix: another excellent speed tester which is also allows you to get insights about the responsiveness of a web server (measured as Time to First Byte)
STEP 2. Identifying the major bottlenecks of speed
The accessibility of your WordPress website depends on a set of factors that can be major bottlenecks as well.
- First, if your server is not well-configured, web hosting will be one of your most important obstacles to a faster website. For example, prefer professional hosting provider like Siteground that is to optimize your speed.
- Second, the WordPress itself can be ill-calibrated that overloads your server (at this point, the famous Cache Me If You Can enters). For example, use WP Super Cache Plugin.
- Third, the number of sizable images shall be limited and optimised to the page.
- Fourth, check the availability of updates to plugins that are to improve their speed performance too.
- Fifth, be aware of what kinds of external scripts you are using (ads, font loaders, etc.) that also can become a stranglehold to your website.
STEP 3. The realm of one-size-fits-all principle – Optimising image sizes
Only a small share of companies are keen on further developing their websites’ performance (21% of the surveyed companies). What does it mean? You can enhance your competitiveness by increasing the speed of your website to a great extent by starting with sizeable images. Before uploading a picture, make sure that its size is optimized to the website. Photo editor softwares are at our disposal to do this (prefer JPG in case of colorful pictures, otherwise prefer PNG file format).
You can increase your professional layout if your images used mirrors some consistency. This is why it is worth preferring images with the same size and resolution.
STEP 4. Excerpts & Splits are your friend
Shortening the way you display your full content by using excerpts can significantly increase the speed of the loading time. In the dashboard, settings » Reading and select “For each article in a feed, show: Summary” instead of “Full Text.”
In case you are using longer posts, just consider splitting up them into multiple pages. Simply add the
<!––nextpage––> tag in your article where you want to split it into next page.
STEP 5. Upgrading your web hosting package
Nowadays cloud hosting and even a VPS (Virtual Private Servers) are so affordable that you should forget shared hosting packages. Choose something more robust and make sure that you pick quality hosting providers that excel at speed, up-time and customer service.
We use and recommend Siteground hosting that is not only beating most of the competitors but also have great prices.
STEP 6. Choose a Content Delivery Network
STEP 7. Embed Not Upload
Never say never. But, really, never upload a video. Instead, embed youtube videos into the main text. It will save you tremendous costs regarding bandwidth and of course time.
STEP 8. Seek Professional and Responsive WordPress Themes
Simpler, more robust but still elegant themes are available for your purposes. We also shed lights on such templates, visit theme here.
STEP 9. Engage in Faster Plugins
For example, slider plugins are in blossom, but recent reviews and tests proved the salient effectiveness of Soliloquy. Of course, Revolution Slider is also highly recommended especially in templates that are speed optimized by scratch.
As for gallery plugins, Envira Gallery is a good way forward. It allows you to provide stunning image galleries that are lightning fast to load.
STEP 10. Optimize WordPress Database
After a while, your WP is getting bigger and bigger in terms of its size and its complexity. To avoid too much complexity and speed-limiting size, use WP-Sweep plugin to clean your WP database by deleting things in trash, revisions, unused tags, etc. It will also optimize your database’s structure with just a click.