Written by Noah Britton on 12/21/2019

People nowadays take the movie title “need for speed” quite literally in their lives. It takes barely 3 seconds for most people to decide whether they want to stay on a website or hit the back button. 

I guarantee that a customer won’t learn that your service is a perfect fit for them if they don’t stick around to find out. Common sense, right?

Not only do you lose that customer, but Google monitors how much time people spend on your website and adjusts traffic to your website accordingly. After all… Google’s job is to give people the answers they seek. If you are too slow to capture their attention, why should they keep sending you traffic?

According to statistics, 40% of people said that they leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. These figures are in line with a 7% reduction in conversions and an 11% loss in page views. You are losing leads and potential conversions before they even reach your page!

Bottom line is your website loading time can make or break the effectiveness of your website.

To put things in perspective, both page loading speed in addition to server response time plays an instrumental role in how Google ranks your website. So, if you don’t want your website to be taken down, then it’s high time that you start working on improving its speed. 

How to check your site’s speed?

You must check your website’s speed regularly to know what you can improve on to satisfy customer needs. There are plenty of software and sites that let you check your site’s speed for free, for instance:

  • GTMetrix – Try this speed testing program for an in-depth review report about your site’s performance. 
  • WebPageTest – Type in your page’s URL and select a browser to find out your site’s speed. There are other options like “Advanced Testing” and “Visual Comparison” that you can explore at your leisure. 
  • Pingdom Tools – You can check your site’s speed for any place in the world. 

Let’s also delve as to what are the elements contributing to WordPress sites’ low performance. 

Why is your site running slow?

Once you know how slow your website is, you can work on the metrics that are slowing it down. To make things easier, we have compiled a list of potential culprits that might be affecting your site’s performance. Read below to find out!

Signing Up to Cheap Hosting Plan

Your site’s host is where it resides and uses resources to deal with traffic. If you use a shared hosting server or a cheap hosting plan, then your site is bound to run slow. You can improve on everything we discuss below, but your website won’t be any faster because of server limitations. 

A lot of it depends on the site’s host. It determines at what speed information is processed and delivered to your viewers. Which is why investing in a good hosting plan is one way to maximize your site’s revenue. 

Compromising on “Caching” Data

Caching is a site upgrade that saves a version of your site to show when the same source visits your site. By doing this, your website will use fewer resources and won’t have to extract files from the server directly.

Unfortunately, this means you’ll have to purge your caching history frequently to ensure your audience is not viewing an outdated page on your site. You can use WordPress’s cache tool plugin with Varnish to get rid off this minor hitch. 

Use of “Large” Image files

Images certainly add value to your website! It makes your website look professional, but we don’t want to slow down your loading time. Large image files take up too much space and slow down server performance exponentially. 

Even with all these inconveniences, you can’t free their presence from a website entirely, especially when they are a necessary part of most business website like e-commerce and shopping sites. 

 Moreover, It is challenging to scale images to a smaller size without affecting their quality. Conventional editing tools might prove to be ineffective for image optimization, but tools like ImageOptim and Optimole have proved their worth. 

Absence of Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Does your audience live outside of the US?

If you want your website to reach any place in the world without compromising on its speed, then use any Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Multiple versions of your site are made available on several proxy servers, and a visitor can retrieve your site’s copy from the server nearest to them.  

Minify CSS, HTML, JS & Other Files

Computers work faster when they don’t have to read extensive and complicated codes. You can speed up your site’s loading time by minifying CSS, HTML, and JS files. There are plenty of plugins that can help you achieve just that, namely Minify and Autoptimize. 

Cluttered WordPress Database 

You need to get rid off all the unnecessary clutter from your WordPress database regularly to keep it running at an optimal speed. Spam comments, unused data, and content are the few things that you should delete every other day.

You can use plugins to get this done efficiently without wasting hours to do it by yourself.  

Outdated Themes, Plugins & WordPress

If you’ve been ignoring system and plugin updates, then it’s time you correct your actions. Obsolete themes burden your servers and expose them to advanced threats. 

Low Quality or Heavyweight Themes & Framework 

Just like large files and images slow down your site’s aptitude, using elaborate or low-quality themes, and the framework does the same. You don’t have to use fewer plugins to maximize your site’s efficiency; instead, you have to invest in their quality!

Accumulation of Unwanted Themes & Plugins

Whenever you update your website, you must clear all deactivated themes you don’t use anymore. This lowers the strain that your server must be bearing because of supporting unwanted plugins and themes. 

An abundance of External Links 

Including relevant external links in your site’s content is a way to optimize it as per SEO norms. However, if you use too many of those external links, your server will struggle to retrieve all the related data in due time. 

Try to include only those links that are necessary to improve the ranking of your site!

Wrapping Up:

There is no one solution to speed up your websites because of the uniqueness of themes, frameworks, content, etc. That is why you must find out about the reasons that are slowing down your website before devising a plan to improve on them. Handoff these performance reports to a trusted support team so that they can optimize your website.

If you are in the market for a new website, be sure to review the portfolio of the company you are thinking of hiring. Take those websites through GTMetrix to see if they rank well on performance. It will take you 1 minute and could save you thousands on a wasted project.

For more information about site performance and how we can help, please visit Thrive

Noah Britton

Noah Britton is the founder of Thrive with 18 years of experience in the web industry and 10 years with WordPress.