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Why Speeding Up your WordPress Site Matters

Why Speeding Up your WordPress Site Matters

A slow loading WordPress site can cause serious issues for any online business which will result in loosing visitors and customers. It will also cause your whole “image” to appear slow and give an appearance of not quite running properly. It can have a strong affect on potential clients visiting your site. There are several steps involved that can easily determine why your site may be loading slowly including simple things such as images that are too large, to more complicated issues that may involve process of elimination in order to determine what is slowing down your site or a few important pages.

There can be a tendency for WordPress sites to use too many plugins because of their easy installation and setup process, large number of features and added functionality of a site. However, it is easy to end up with too many plugins and many are known to slow down a site, even those that are running on some pretty beefy hosting plans. A plugin can easily provide a snazzy feature to a site here and there, but it can quickly ad up causing the user experience as a whole to diminish significantly.

The most important part of any site design is speedy load times and ease of visitor navigation.

It’s important to decide what plugins are essential and if there are similar plugins that can accomplish the same features you need, but that are better coded or less feature packed resulting in a WordPress plugin that is less taxing on system resources. Because of the plethora of plugins available, many times there is another plugin available that can be used. WordPress plugin code quality plays a big factor in keeping your WordPress site running swiftly but code is not just written for plugins. WordPress itself is made up of php code and CSS and JavaScript is frequently embedded in websites a well. The slowness of a site where code is the culprit is not necessarily only with plugins but other bits of code throughout a site.

Process of elimination can help in determining what part of a site’s code is slowing down the site. Disabling a plugin one at a time and testing the site’s speed can determine if a plugin is slowing things down. This is also one of the main reasons why it is very important to make sure you use a plugin that is from a trusted and reputable source.

A good online tool for testing website speed is WebPageTest.org which tests the speed and performance of your WordPress site. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can also analyze your web page and offers suggestions to improve page load times. W3 Total Cache is a good plugin for improving website speed and download times.

Many scripts are placed towards the top of a pages and the browser a visitor uses reads the top of the page and works it’s way down. Adding several scripts at the top of a page results in nothing else getting loaded such as text and images, until the scripts are done loading. Visitors want to see visual content first, and everything else can come shortly after.

In addition, social media scripts can easily slow down a site, again depending also on where the script was obtained. There may be a faster and simpler script you can use.

As mentioned previously, simply uploading large images can certainly slow down a page load times, especially if a visitor’s internet connection is slow. This can be especially problematic if your visitors are using a smartphone over a cellular connection.   WordPress does automatically compress images but the compression ration may not be optimal, efficient or may cause images to look too compressed. It’s generally better to use image editing software to handle the compression first before WordPress attempts to. If for some reason no compression is desired, the PNG format can be used and WordPress will not compress the file. This may be important if a particular image needs to have a high quality look to impress visitors. If this is the case however, bear in mind that the other images on the same page certainly need to be optimized for faster page loads. The GIF format is ideal for images with lot’s of text or all text. Like PNG, the GIF format also allows for transparency.

A simple method to lower image size is to simply resize the image. Many times, images are much much larger than they really need to be. There is no need for several very large images on websites that are then simply scaled down.

Last but not least, your hosting provider may the the reason for slow performance regardless of how much you are optimizing your site. If your host is slow your WordPress site will be slow as well. Moving to a new host should not be difficult and good web hosting providers will be able to provide this service for you.

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