WordPress is one of the most popular website CMS’ in use today. Sadly a WordPress site left unoptimised can end up being heavier and slower than some of us would like. With Google favouring faster websites and users becoming more aware of ‘slow’ websites, it’s important that your site is as quick as possible. Not only can it be good for SEO, but most importantly it creates a good user experience. That’s why this week we’ve decided to take a look at some fairly quick and simple ways to help speed up your WordPress website.
- Install a cache plugin – There are plenty of great cache plugins out there. These help to compress your website files so that they load faster when a user visits your site. This is one of the easiest ways to improve your website’s speed. We’ve had experience with a number of different plugins, but some certainly stand out – WP Fastest Cache is a fairly new caching plugin with a very active developer who’s constantly listening to feedback and regularly rolling out new features. W3 Total Cache is probably the most popular WordPress caching plugin, with a large number of features and users. Finally, WP Super Cache is a fairly quick caching plugin which works great when combined with Autoptimize (more on this later).
- Keep your WordPress Database optimised – Your WordPress database can start to get clogged up over time with things such as spam comments, post revisions and post drafts. You can quite easily clean these up with a number of plugins, these will ensure your Database is kept as lean as possible. Our personal favourite plugin is WP-Optimize – with just the default settings and a single button press you can quickly shave a few megabytes off of your database. For more advanced users you can schedule weekly automatic clean ups, meaning you don’t have to worry about anything!
- Compress your images – People often upload huge images to websites when there’s no need for it. These can seriously slow down your website. There’s a variety of tools out there which will compress your images whilst still retaining their image quality – often cutting image sizes in half, if not more. TinyPNG is definitely one of the best online tools out there for PNG files, with Kraken.io being a great option for other image formats. You can also automate this process with a couple of plugins – we recommend first installing WP Smush.it, this uses the Smush.it API to automatically compress your images as you upload them to the site, great for JPEGs. We can’t recommend Compress PNG for WP enough, this plugin requires a TinyPNG Developer API key that you can easily get for free here, which you then input into the Compress PNG for WP options in WordPress; you can find these in Settings > Media. Any PNG files which are uploaded via the standard WordPress image upload tool will then be automatically compressed, allowing you to use your site as normal with the peace of mind that your images are as small as possible. We install WP Smush.it and Compress PNG for WP by default on all of our WordPress websites, they’re just simply too useful not to have.
We hope these options help some of you out there to speed up your WordPress website. You can use Pingdom’s Speed Test tool to easily check just how quick your site is, along with the size of your pages and the number of requests. See if you can get these numbers as low as possible using the techniques mentioned above, we guarantee they’ll help speed up your site! If you have any other ways to speed up WordPress websites which you recommend then leave them in the comments below, we love hearing new suggestions. If you need any help with optimising and speeding up your WordPress website then don’t hesitate get in touch!
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