It seems that “need for speed” isn’t just a movie title, but a general way of life these days. Not only do people expect speed, but they make decisions at lightning speed as well. Did you know, it takes less than 3 seconds for a person to decide if they like your website? So if you want people to stick around and buy your service, you better not be wasting those 3 precious seconds on a slow loading site. In fact, a whopping 40% of people surveyed say they instantly leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
A combination of slow loading speed and a high bounce rate from turned-off customers also cause search engines like Google to penalize your site, which further restricts your traffic. All this to say, your website loading speed can either make or break your website’s chances of success. So isn’t it time you start working on improving it? Here’s how to check your current speed, along with some possible issues that could be slowing down your WordPress website.
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Is your site moving as fast as it could?
How to check your site’s speed.
It’s important to stay on top of your website’s speed so you can constantly work on improving your customer experience. There are plenty of sites and software that let you monitor the speed of your site for free. Here are some examples:
- GTMetrix – This program not only tests your site speed, but also gives you an in-depth review and report about your site’s performance.
- WebPageTest – Simply 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 – This tool lets you check your site’s speed for any place in the world.
Why is my site running slow?
If you find that your site speed is less than optimal, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of potential culprits that might be affecting your loading speed.
1. Cheap hosting plan
Your site’s host is where your website resides and accesses 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. Your host determines the speed at which your information travels and is delivered to your viewers. If you’re dealing with server limitations, none of the fixes listed below will make your site run any faster. This is why investing in a good hosting plan is crucial in maximizing your site’s success.
2. “Caching” data
Caching is an upgrade that saves a version of your site to show when the same source visits multiple times. By doing this, your website uses fewer resources by not having to extract files directly from the server. Unfortunately, this also means you have to purge your caching history often to ensure your audience is not viewing an outdated version of your site. Thankfully, you can use WordPress’s cache tool plugin with Varnish to get rid of this minor hitch.
3. Using large image files
High-quality images certainly add appeal to your site, but they can also significantly slow down your loading time. You obviously can’t get rid of all images on your website, and it’s often difficult to alter image size without affecting its quality with conventional editing software. That’s why we recommend tools such as ImageOptim and Optimole, which have proven their worth many times over.
4. No content delivery network (CDN)
Does your audience reside outside of the United States? If the answer is yes, you should be using a CDN, which lets you reach your audience anywhere in the world without compromising on site speed. With this system, multiple versions of your site are made available on several proxy servers, which your visitors can retrieve from the server nearest to them.
5. Minify CSS, HTML, JS, & other files
Computers work faster when they don’t have to read extensive complicated codes. You can speed up your site’s loading time by minifying all CSS, HTML, and JS files. There are plenty of plugins that can help you do this, namely Minify and Autoptimize.
6. Cluttered WordPress database
To keep your WordPress site running on optimal speed, you need to regularly get rid off all the unnecessary clutter from your database. Spam comments, unused data, and content are just a few things you should delete every other day. You can use plugins to get this done efficiently without wasting hours on it yourself.
7. Outdated themes, plugins, & WordPress
If you’ve been ignoring system and plugin updates, now’s the time to make corrections. Obsolete themes burden your servers and expose them to advanced threats.
8. Low quality or bulky themes & framework
Just like large images and files slow down your site, so does using elaborate or low-quality themes and frameworks. You don’t have to use fewer plugins to maximize your site’s efficiency, just invest in their quality!
9. Unwanted themes & plugins
Whenever you update your website, you should clear all deactivated themes you don’t use anymore. This lowers the strain on your server and boosts your speed as a result.
10. Too many external links
Including relevant external links within your content is a good way to optimize it as per SEO norms. However, use too many external links and your server will struggle to retrieve all the related data in a timely manner. Review your links and only include those that are necessary for your SEO ranking.
Related reading: SEO Seattle
Each website is unique, which is why there is no single solution when it comes to speed. One (or) many of these issues may be slowing down your site, so it’s important that you conduct a thorough review before you try to fix any problems. Rather than doing all the work yourself, you can also hand your performance reports to a trusted support team so that they can optimize your website. Here at Thrive, we would be happy to help or offer you more information about your site performance.