Why WordPress speed is so important and what actually slows down your website ?
These two are extremely important questions, the resolution of which determines the course of your success. Depending on these elements, you may get more or less traffic, increased bounce rate, low conversion rate and ultimately little to no profit. In this guide we are going to learn what causes slow wordpress speed.
Now let’s look at the second question and see what slows down your wordpress. Well, that is not that hard to be determined. While developing your website, you add more and more data, plugins and themes to extend its functionality and data of course. This causes WordPress to grow over the time, the stored data needs more time to the called or updated in the database and overall makes the entire website slowly acting and less efficient. To some extent, this could be accepted as normal, but a good website developer should keep an eye on this and take actions on time.
Slow WordPress speed – why does it really matter ?
We are leaving in ages of technology in which the internet people are impatient. A recently performed study says that almost half of the users expect the website to be loaded in no more than 2 seconds. Almost 30% would not wait more than 3 seconds. Those who would not visit a slowly working website are over 80%, no matter how good and interesting is the content. So the conclusion – wordpress speed matter and your success depends on it.
Speed and security – these two are important ranking factors. In other words, the faster website, the better ranking. Of course, this is a bit general conclusion, which may not be true in all cases, but if we compare two websites with equal content, then the faster one will be ranked higher.
So, how to achieve better speed and be more secure ? The answer here is easy – these two depends on your hosting environment. Speaking generally, there are three types of hosting account the users count on:
- Shared hosting account – the meaning of shared hosting account is that your own account sits on a server and shares it resource with other users. This goes for disk space, CPU,RAM, network interfaces and so on.
- Cloud servers – these are next generation hosting accounts. Usually one reseller has access to a main control panel and eventually has ability to control the resources, create new accounts, terminate old ones and apply other restrictions.
- Dedicated servers – these are hardware machines and all the resources are at disposal of the owner. The price could be quite high, so usually only well established websites use such environments.
Following the natural course of growth, the developers usually start with shared hosting environment and depending on the budget, they upgrade to more powerful hosting solutions.
WordPress complexity and performance connection
Let’s say we have a good shared hosting account. The next step is to think about our WordPress, its components and themes. This is important because WordPress generates its pages dynamically. This means there are PHP files that connect the database and put, get or update some data there. So, to avoid additional slowness caused by extensions, we need to carefully choose them. This is important. WordPress is not “fire and forget” application. Careful management and regular maintenance should be part of your daily tasks. Here are a few proven suggestions:
- Choose or develop a simple, reliable and fast theme
- Think of the features you need
- You definitely do not need 50 plugins on your website
- Measure the speed
- Keep the things always up-to-date
Think of your website from visitor’s point of view. The layout should fit your brand and the website orientation. The same goes for colours, menus and other features. If you are developer, think of all those images, gifs and animations that nobody wants and on the top of that, they slow down the performance.
Consider the features you really need. According to the well known wordpress convention, the theme gives the layout and the rest (meaning features ) depends on the plugins. In other words, every feature requires a plugin, which extends the standard functionality of your website, but also slows it down. The practice says, that usually 7-10 plugins are enough for every website. If you use more than that, then something is definitely wrong.
Measuring the website speed is another easy task. Pingdom and GtMetrix and quite handy tools, that give great idea of the speed and its eventual issues. Each one of them provides options and suggestions that would help you identify and resolve the speed problems.
Clean the house and keep it up-to-date. This is important part of the website development. Of course, that is not complex. WordPress supports one-click upgrades and removals. The good news here is that none of these processes requires technical skills and even person with little to no knowledge would perform it easily. Of course taking a backup is recommended.
Keep an eye on WordPress database
Maintaining WordPress database is important part of the development in the long run. Generally speaking it accumulates more and more data and at some point it starts working slowly. To avoid this and ensure the normal functionality and speed of your website, you have to check and clean it regularly. WP-OPtimize is a good plugin that would do the job for you. Its interface is quite intuitive and makes the cleaning process very easy.
Monitor the uptime
This is another important part that needs to be monitored closely. If you aim to achieve better position in Google, then your website needs to be up and running all the time. GtMetrix and PingDom are quite useful tools. They have free and paid versions and would help to monitor the uptime and speed.