No one enjoys sitting around waiting for a website to load. Most visitors will move on to the competition’s site instead of patiently waiting.
In fact, a KISSmetrics study when a site takes more than four seconds to load, the site is losing 1 in 4 visitors.
The faster your client’s WordPress website loads, the lower the bounce rate, leading to more readers and a higher search engine rank.
From plug-ins and themes to coding and hosting, WordPress site owners have a variety of ways to drastically speed up their sites.
Only Use The Plug-Ins You Need
WordPress is easy to customise, but that’s also one of the main reasons many WordPress sites run slowly. The temptation to use numerous plug-ins to add as many features as possible bogs down page loading times. Another problem is many site owners grab plug-ins at random. These plug-ins might not be optimised for faster loading or they may be outdated for the version of WordPress your client’s running.
To solve this problem, site owners must choose their WordPress plug-ins carefully. They have to limit the number of overall plug-ins and also only use high-quality, optimised plug-ins. The result is a feature rich site with incredibly fast loading times.
Takeaway: For the best plug-ins for your client’s WordPress site, use a professional WordPress developer. They can customise plug-ins to handle specific tasks while optimising them for the best site performance possible.
Skip The Free Or Cheap Themes
For extremely budget conscious clients, their desire to trim their website costs could actually cost them visitors. The theme a client uses affects how fast the entire site loads. Poorly coded themes often have excess elements that bog down loading times. Plus, some free themes also include viruses which not only slow things down, but threaten the safety of site visitors. Either way, saving money isn’t worth it in this case.
WordPress themes aren’t outrageous. Considering they serve as the template for the entire site, it’s worth investing a little extra for a theme that looks great, functions well, loads fast and doesn’t transfer viruses to visitors’ computers.
Takeaway: Buy a professionally developed WordPress theme or have a custom theme developed for your business. WordPress developers are able to design custom themes that best reflect a company’s brand and personality. With custom themes, clients never have to settle for pre-designed templates or pages they’ll never use either.
Use Caching Plug-ins
One of the easiest ways to speed up a WordPress site is through caching. With a caching plug-in, visitors don’t have to reload every single element of the site with each page load. For instance, instead of loading the same header image for each page, caching allows the image to be stored on the visitors computer. The next time the visitor opens a page on the site, the image is loaded from their computer, drastically reducing loading time and improving the visitor’s overall experience.
Depending on the plug-in used, your client can customise the level of caching and how the cache is flushed or refreshed. They can also choose between server and client side caching options.
Takeaway: Tell clients to install and configure a caching plug-in of their choice. The three most popular options are W3 Total Cache, Quick Cache, Hyper Cache Extended and WP Super Cache. Depending on your client’s technical knowledge, a professional WordPress developer may be necessary to optimise the plug-ins for optimal site performance.
WordPress doesn’t release updates just for the fun of it. Every update is essential for ensuring a site has the latest security and performance enhancements for the WordPress platform. Since these updates are free, there isn’t a single reason not to run them. However, many site owners never update simply because they don’t notice the updates are available or they’re uncertain how to install them.
Your clients don’t have to handle the updates themselves. A WordPress developer is always ready to install updates to sites. They’ll can even run checks on any installed plug-ins and themes to ensure the entire site is up to date.
Takeaway: Encourage clients to install all available updates to their sites. If they aren’t comfortable doing it themselves, suggest hiring a WordPress developer to maintain updates.
Avoid Large, Bulky Images
While images are ideal for grabbing a visitor’s attention, they can also hinder the site’s performance. Clients using an abundance of images should optimise the image files so they load faster. Image compression or smaller original file sizes go a long way towards improving performance. They can even install plug-ins to help boost image load times.
Some themes are even designed specifically to tackle image heavy sites and ensure they load as quickly as possible. If clients prefer their existing themes, they can add special coding to use image sprites, which load images in groups versus individually. Using this approach drastically reduces the overall site loading times.
Takeaway: Odds are, most clients won’t know how to best optimise their sites for faster loading images. WordPress developers already understand the issue and can resolve it quickly and easily with a few coding changes or a custom theme.
With all the various plug-in, theme and other coding customisations, there is no reason for a WordPress site to load slowly. Using updated, optimised plug-ins and themes along with the latest version of WordPress is a great start to getting a faster site. For the fastest site possible, a WordPress developer is crucial. They understand every tweak necessary for optimal site performance.
Have a slow loading WordPress site and feel helpless to stop the flow of visitors leaving for the competition? Look no further than StuartMedia for all your WordPress needs.
Image: John Talbot