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How to Improve Your WordPress Website Speed

Wednesday 15 December 2021

5 minute read

By Sarah Burns

WordPress is the most popular website platform today, but your site may be suffering slower load speeds - so how do you fix them? 

Site speed can impact your traffic levels (new and returning)and that ultimately results in reduced conversions too. By working on maintaining a speedy website you can enjoy improved SEO rankings and a positive user experience - which is a must for the modern website. 

How to measure your website speed

One of the most popular ways is this Google tool which allows you to review the performance of your WordPress site on both mobile and desktop. Once you have a score you should review any urgent issues - usually highlighted in red. After that you shouldn’t worry too much about the score, but more about how your website performs against your core competitors - these are the people that your visitors will switch to if your website performs significantly worse than theirs. 

Another recommended tool would be Pingdom which allows an alternate look at your website’s performance results. Again you should look at your result comparatively to your competitors, rather than focusing too heavily on your specific numbers. 

Now, let’s take a look at some easy ways to improve WordPress website performance… 

How to improve your WordPress website speed

1. Website hosting

Choosing the right provider that specialises in WordPress and offers these three factors is the perfect way to boost your WordPress site speed: 

  • The hosting provider needs to be cloud-based 
  • The hosting provider needs to have a data centre in the region where your customers are located (i.e. UK)
  • The hosting provider needs to have a reliable reputation 
2. WordPress and PHP updates

Just like you update your computer or mobile device, you need to also keep your WordPress website up to date. At Thrive we offer a support package to do this for our customers on a monthly basis. By maintaining your site you can enjoy increased security and speed. You should watch for updates for WordPress and its plugins, as well as PHP (the backend of your WordPress website), and if you have a website agency managing your site you should ask about support packages so they maintain these updates on your behalf. 

3. Image optimisation

Most WordPress websites that we encounter with slow load speeds are due to large file sizes which load on each webpage. There are a number of plugins that you - or your developer - can install to reduce your image and video file sizes - and ultimately decrease your website load time. 

To ensure your images maintain high quality when compressed then you should save the image as a .png file (not a .jpeg file). 

Our preferred choice is Smush Image Compression and Optimization

After you have completed these steps you should then review your website speed performance again and see how they have benefited your site performance. review your site performance every six months as Google releases a number of regular updates that can impact your website’s performance.

If you're looking to embark on a website build project, whether it's completely from scratch or a site refresh, our ebook will give you the knowledge to make your project as stress-free as possible.

The Website Design Handbook for Businesses

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