Google says speed is a ranking factor and your readers wait up to 3 seconds while your website is loading on their browser. That means your visitor will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
As page load time goes from:
- 1s to 3s the probability of bounce increases 32%
- 1s to 5s the probability of bounce increases 90%
- 1s to 6s the probability of bounce increases 106%
- 1s to 10s the probability of bounce increases 123%
How to test the speed of your WordPress site?
The loading time of your home page may differ from the loading time of every page of your website. Even the loading time may differ from page to page.
While testing the speed you need to keep in mind the following key points:
- total page size
- the average number of requests
- time to load
- whether the images are compressed or not
- whether the CSS & JS files are minified or not
Popular tools you need to use while testing the speed of your website are:
Proven Tips To Reduce Loading Time of WordPress Site
So let’s discuss how to optimize the WordPress site to reduce the loading time so the bounce rate can be reduced. Here are the 13 tips to improve the loading time for your site.
1. Choose a better web hosting
The major factor that influences the loading time is the hosting of your WordPress website. Instead of choosing a shared web hosting it is better to choose cloud hosting.
In shared hosting, the same server space is shared with many other websites and it tends to deliver poorer performance.
Choose a cloud hosting like Cloudways. Cloudways comes with advanced technology which provides the following benefits for your WordPress site.
- affordable, powerful, & easy-to-set-up
- combine NGINX, Varnish, Memcached & Apache to provide the fastest experience
- their infrastructure is optimized for speed, performance & security
- dedicated resources for all servers that mean other sites can’t influence the performance of your site
- free caching WordPress plugin
- easy to migrate your WordPress site to Cloudways
- 1-click free SSL certificate installation
2. Use a lightweight WordPress theme
WordPress themes with a lot of dynamic & shiny elements, sliders, widgets, social icons will definitely influence the speed of your website.
The best solution here is to use a WordPress theme whose weight is minimal. While choosing a lightweight theme you should consider speed grade, loading time & size of the theme.
To accelerate the loading time of your website on mobile, it is best to choose an AMP ready theme. AMP(Accelerated Mobile Pages) allows you to improve the performance of your website on the mobile web by simplifying the HTML and following streamlined CSS rules.
3. Uninstall plugins
Unnecessary plugins on your WordPress site increases the size of junk files. It is better to remove plugins you don’t use.
Instead of adding a number of plugins, it is better to look for a plugin that has many features. You can use all in one plugin like JetPack that has many features:
- website functionality enhancement,
- traffic growth & statistics,
- automatic social posting,
- improved security,
- downtime monitoring,
- load image faster.
4. Update PHP version
Updating the version of PHP makes your WordPress website faster and more secure.
The latest PHP version of WordPress is 7.3 which improves the performance of your site. To update the PHP version visit the Cpanel of your site, go to the software column → MultiPHP Manager → set PHP version per domain. Then apply the latest PHP version.
But before updating the PHP version, it is recommended to update the plugins and themes installed on your site.
5. Content Compression
Through the cPanel of the website, you can optimize your website by tweaking the way Apache handles requests. Apache allows you to compress content before sending it to the user’s browser.
When I enable the content compression for the first time, it accelerates website speed by 20%.
You can enable content compression in the cPanel → Software → Optimize Website. Then select “Compress All Content” and update the setting.
6. Disable pingbacks
Whenever you write a new blog post and link an old post on it then WordPress sends a pingback automatically.
In some contexts, it might sound useful but keeping a lot of pingbacks can put undesirable burdens on your server. Pingbacks & trackbacks can generate unnecessary requests from WordPress.
You can use No Self Pings plugin to disable pingbacks. You can disable pingbacks & trackbacks manually by turning it off.
You can turn it all off in WP-Admin → Settings → Discussion. Then select “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts” from the default post settings. You will be notified whenever a pingback or trackback is generated, then you can manually delete them.
7. Break comments into pages
Comments are a good indicator of the engaged audience. But loading a huge number of comment impact the loading time of your website.
You can break comments into pages with some manual configuration in WordPress setting. Simply go to WP-Admin→ Setting→ Discussion. Inside Discussion check the “Break comments into pages” option.
8. Reduce external scripts
Adding external scripts like ads, font loaders, and other third parties scripts can influence the loading time of your website. Make minimum usage of such external scripts on your site.
Instead of adding the webmaster tool’s script before the “<body>” tag, it is best to use Yoast SEO webmaster tool verification.
Yoast SEO allows you to enter meta values and verify site ownership on Google search console, Bing & Yandex webmaster tool.
9. Optimize the image size for speed
The image size also influences the loading time of your webpages. You can optimize the image size with photoshop or any other online tool. But it is not sure that this technique will preserve the quality of images.
The LazyLoad feature is the best solution to reduce the image size without compromising the quality.
WP Rocket is the best plugin you should install on your WordPress site. WP Rocket applies the LazyLoad behavior to your images.
10. Use CDN
CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a network of distributed servers in various locations.
If your website is without CDN then the file will always be served from the origin host server. This slower the process between request and response.
If your website is with CDN then the content is delivered from a server location that is nearer to the user. This cuts down the travel time of content between the origin server and the user.
You can use Cloudflare, MaxCDN or a caching plugin like WP Rocket. WP Rocket offers the CDN service along with the caching features.
11. Minify CSS and JS files
When you analyze the site with page speed insights then you can find the suggestions to minify the size of CSS & JS files.
Reducing the size and number of CSS & JS calls, you can optimize your site’s speed. Through minification, WP Rocket can help you in reducing the size of CSS, JS and HTML files of your WP website.
12. GZIP Compression
GZIP compression is an open-source free technique for file compression. It reduces the size of data to save storage space. Similarly, for the web, we can use GZIP compression.
GZIP compression reduces both bandwidth usage & response time by reducing the size of your site’s HTML, CSS & JS.
How does GZIP Compression work?
- When a server receives a request for a web page, it determines if the browser supports GZIP.
- If it does, the server generates the markup for the page & then applies GZIP.
- GZIP converts the markup into a compressed data stream, which is then transferred to the browser.
- When the browser receives the stream, it decompresses it and displays it to the user.
GZIP compression is completely automated in WP Rocket; it is hidden in the plugin’s settings, but quietly works its magic under the hood to make your site faster.
13. Install a WordPress caching plugin
Installing a caching plugin on your WordPress site can optimize the whole site to improve the performance and make your site load faster. There are many caching plugins available in the market but I recommend you to choose WP Rocket.
WP Rocket uses an advanced caching mechanism that benefits your site by accelerating the loading speed.
Most of the tips mentioned here are provided by this caching plugin. Other advantages of using WP Rocket are listed below.
- Reduce the image size with LazyLoad feature
- Enable GZIP compression
- WP Rocket is CDN integrated
The fastest loading time can improve both user experience and performance of your website. These tips work on desktop & mobile devices to load your site fast.
Now it’s your turn to apply these tips to improve the speed of your WordPress site and rank your site higher in SERPs.