Websites have become digital storefronts for businesses of all shapes and sizes. In fact, 55 percent of small businesses operate a website. But how many of these are optimized for speed and functionality?
The truth is, not many.
In a fast-paced world punctuated by instant gratification, the speed of your WordPress website is a pivotal component to its success. But if fast loading times are so important, why is WordPress so slow? Probably because you aren’t using it right.
Thankfully, WordPress performance tuning can be done in a matter of hours. Here is everything you need to know about slow WordPress website speeds and how to speed them up.
Why WordPress Website Speed Matters
In a push to speed up the internet, Google started including page speeds as a factor in its ranking algorithm. While it’s far from the only factor, it could be the difference between your website landing on the front page of the SERPs or fading into obscurity on the second page and beyond.
Is your business currently happy with its search engine optimization? Then let’s talk sales.
About 50 percent of consumers expect web pages to load within two seconds. And at three seconds, 40 percent of these users will grow impatient and look elsewhere. If your WordPress website struggles to load in a timely fashion, it’s costing you traffic and the conversions that come with it.
When Amazon lowered its page loading time by one second, conversions increased by seven percent. For a major company like Amazon, trimming that second earns the company $1.6 billion annually.
Your small business will see modest but calculable gains by increasing page load speeds. If you know your conversion value, see what you stand to gain by increasing conversions by seven percent. Extremely slow websites can trim off additional seconds and thus enjoy larger benefits.
This is all to say your company has a vested interest in running a streamlined, efficient WordPress website. There’s plenty to gain, whether it’s more traffic, increased conversions, or superior customer satisfaction.
How To Measure WordPress Website Speed
According to Google, an ideal page loading speed is below three seconds. But that’s not always possible. If you take a look at Google’s average speed index, most websites take a little over six seconds to load.
At the very least, aim for the six-second mark. If you have room to improve, it’s worth the effort.
But how do you find out your current loading speed?
Google makes it easy. Feed your URL into the PageSpeed Insights application. In addition to desktop and mobile speeds, Insights will give you a list of suggested actions to improve loading times.
It makes sense to stick with the Google-specific app since they are the ones behind the algorithm. That said, third-party avenues are available.
Of them, Pingdom is the most popular. It offers similar functionality, though it may not be as accurate. Still, it’s worth a look.
Why Is WordPress So Slow?
Is your WordPress site loading slow? You don’t have to be a network engineer to speed things up. These basics should get you started.
1. Reconsider Your Website Hosting Provider
Small businesses have to rely on third-party hosts to keep their websites online. Your choice of host will have a large impact on your website uptime as well as its load speeds. If the host’s physical servers are weak or spotty, it may be time for an upgrade.
For example, as your daily traffic increases, so too does your website’s power requirements. On a shared hosting plan, your website has to contend with dozens of others to get the server resources it needs. When this happens, page speeds can suffer.
Consider changing hosting providers or upgrading to a dedicated website hosting plan to speed things up.
2. Optimize Website Images
Images are usually the biggest culprit when it comes to bloated webpage data. The more data on a page, the longer it will take your users to access the website.
But trimming is easy.
Most major web design tools, such as Adobe Photoshop, give you the ability to save an image for the web. With the help of a slider, you can adjust image quality and size simultaneously. Try to find a sweet spot between low file sizes and crisp image quality.
Other website tools such as Canva and GIMP are available, though more finicky.
3. Change Your WordPress Theme
If you purchased your WordPress theme, you’re probably good to go. But some themes from inexperienced coders can be sluggish. The more features, the longer it will take for your website to load.
Look for a WordPress theme that’s lightweight and streamlined. Already running a theme you’re happy with?
Then check out its list of features and disable everything you aren’t using. This can lead to some serious speed improvements, especially if you’re using a feature-laden theme.
4. Stay Up-To-Date
Even basic WordPress websites take advantage of plenty of plugins and themes, not to mention the WordPress content management system itself. The creators of these different components put out updates from time to time. Whether it’s a security or speed improvement, it’s imperative you update these critical services right away.
Running on an old theme or plugin, especially if WordPress recently had a big update, can cause significant loading slowdowns and page instability.
Improving Your WordPress Website Speed
While these basic tips are sure to increase your loading speeds, they may not be enough to reach the benchmark you’re looking for. Why is WordPress so slow after all this? Because networking is complex.
That’s why you need outside help. Our services offer performance improvements as well as additional security and maintenance. Contact us to get the most out of your business website.