Speed is everything. Today’s internet users have much shorter attention spans, with experts stating 8 seconds as the mark to hit. If your website does not load in 8 seconds or less, chances are you will lose visitors. Of course, the easy way to speed up a WordPress site is to move to a faster server, but this costs a lot of money and may not be an option for everyone. Besides, slow-downs aren’t always caused by a slow server.
So how can you squeeze more speed out of WordPress sites? Here are some optimisation tips to help you get started.
The Right Theme for the Job
Themes and plugins are usually the main culprits of a slow loading time. This is why we at WP Daily Themes always stress the importance of choosing the right theme. A well-coded, optimised theme will have no trouble at all loading quickly for your website’s visitors.
An easy way to test whether your theme and plugins are slowing your site down is to use Google’s PageSpeed tool. The tool will try to load your site, analyse the way the site is structured and provide you with recommendations to help speed up the site even further.
Google PageSpeed’s recommendations are also accompanied by optimised CSS and JS files, along with compressed – and stripped – images for maximum speed. If you really want to squeeze as much speed as possible out of your site, these files can be used to replace the existing theme files.
While caching can help speed up a site’s loading time, not setting it up correctly will not only cause a lot of problems but also slow your site down completely. Not all caching plugins are created equal either. Choosing a plugin that you can configure correctly and that suits the kind of hosting you’re using is the way to go.
With shared hosting services, for instance, you wouldn’t want to use Memcache or other unsupported caching techniques. While the plugin will still try to work, the server will not react the way it should and you will get no speed advantage at all.
Some hosting companies also have compression enabled by default. For example, Smart Hosting uses GZIP compression and content caching for all websites hosted in its server, providing performance improvements to customers. By configuring your WordPress caching plugin to work with the server compression, the speed advantage you gain will be even bigger.
Check Your Database
Don’t get so caught up in trying to find a few micro-seconds of performance from codes and design elements that you forget to check your WordPress database. Even when caching is active and running properly, your WordPress site still sends queries to