A slowed loading WordPress site is annoying and will negatively impact the way viewers respond to your site. It will lead to slower conversion rates, it will lead to viewers leaving your site and checking out the competition, and it will lead to lost revenue.
In a recent study by Aussie Hosting testing major hosting company uptimes and downtimes, we saw that one of the biggest performance indicators for quality hosting was the number of downtime incidents per week. Anything over 3 downtime instances a week was predictive of bad overall bandwidth.
Let’s review a few of these tools, and then we will look at some steps you can take to speed up your WordPress site.
This is WordPress’s most popular speed test tool. It makes it possible for developers and users to test the speed of the desktop version of their site with Pingdom.
- Pingdom does a great job of making the results easy for beginners to understand
- Pingdom provides valuable advice to users as well as data if they want to read it
- Using Pingdom simply requires you to copy and paste your site’s URL
- Then you can select the location you want the test to be run from
- Click start test
The Pingdom tool will start. You may need to wait for a few minutes if there are other people who are trying to run the test at the same time. Once the test is complete, you will see a Summary box that has important information about your site, including:
- Load Time
- Performance Grade
This information is perfect for beginners who are looking to get an overall feel for the status of their site.
Next, you’re going to get an itemized list of what your site does well and where there is room for improvement. If you scroll down, you will be able to read more specific information. Further down, you will find information pertaining to specific requests on your site and will see a waterfall analysis.
This is a powerful tool in helping you break down the basics of your site’s performance. The more advanced information will require some technical knowledge for you to benefit from it.
Google PageSpeed Insights
This tool helps you analyze the content of your web page. It will give you suggestions to make your page run faster. If you are able to lower your WordPress site’s load time, you’ll be able to minimize bounce rates and improve conversion rates.
- PageSpeed will analyze the back end elements of your website, making determinations on how different components impact your site’s speed
- PageSpeed will evaluate the primary on page elements of your site. Specific grades are assigned to each component. The score is between zero and 100. You can also see a generic score of Good, Medium, and Low
- PageSpeed will identify ways to optimize particular elements on your page.
This tool allows you to carefully analyze your site. While using this tool on its own does not impact your website speed, it gives you suggestions that you can use at your discretion to improve the speed of your site.
When you use GTmetrix to evaluate your WordPress website, you will be given a performance report that includes:
- Page Speed Score
- YSlow Score
- Total Page Size
- Fully Loaded Time
- Number of Requests on Your Website
In addition to ranking different parameters on your site from a score of 0 to 100, you will be given recommendations on how you can improve your site’s loading speed. GTmetrix allows you to look at reports from the past and then make a side-by-side comparison to current tests.
This is a good tool as it allows you to see if optimizations are truly making improvements on your site. It will also help you see if you are over-optimizing your site.
How to Fix a Slow WordPress Site
Now that we know how to speed test our site, let’s take a few minutes and look at things we can do to make it faster.
Replace or Delete Slow Plug-Ins
Plug-ins for WordPress are amazing as they add versatility to your site. They can also be what is making your site run so slow. It’s not necessarily the number of plug-ins you’re using but how complex they are. A good way to determine which plugins are causing you problems is to disable them one by one and do a speed test again. This could take a little bit of time, but in the long run, it’s worth it.
Optimizing Your Images
You need images to have attractive content. However, if your images are too large or are too high quality, they’re going to take a long time to load. The good news is that you do not have to trade quality for load times. You just need to optimize your images. There are a number of plug-ins available on WordPress that allow you to do this.
Once these plug-ins are installed, they will compress or optimize your images. You’re not going to notice any changes to your images, but they will likely take up a lot less space, so your site will load faster.
Take Advantage of Lazy Loading
This is a cool tool as it prioritizes when certain content on your screen is loaded. So the images and text that are going to appear on your browser screen first are what load first. Then, as the person visiting your site scrolls down, the rest of the site will load automatically.
Lazy loading doesn’t impact the usability of your site. If your site uses a lot of images, you will likely notice an improvement in its performance with lazy loading. A good plug-in to try is a3 Lazy Load.
Unfortunately, it’s common for WordPress sites to have long loading times. There are a number of reasons why you may be dealing with this, ranging from optimization issues to sub-par servers. This is why a methodical investigation is required to determine what’s causing your WordPress site to run slow. Go through the issues one at a time and see how they improve or detract from your site’s performance.
What tips do you have for improving long load times on WordPress sites? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below.