In this article, you are going to learn about all possible tools and techniques to speed up WordPress. Speed is a very important factor for any blog or site. Various research’s show that if a site doesn’t load within 4 seconds then the visitor leaves the site. So you loose a valuable visitor. More over, no one likes a web page that loads slower than a snail crossing the road. Speed is a very important factor for user experience and engagement. But the most important factor is still left. As Matt Cutts told, Speed is a very important metric in SEO now-a-days. Google and other search engine’s do not love slow sites. It will never like to put a web site in the top 10, whose page load time is very slow.
So, it is very much clear to any one that we need to speed up WordPress blogs or sites. But the million dollar question is how? In this article, I am going to show you all possible tools and techniques to accomplish your goal. So after you read the entire article, I can guarantee that you will be able to speed up your WordPress blog and will be having a much faster blog, which will help you to grab more visitors, ensure user experience and engagement, and outrank massive competition in the Search Engine’s.
Check Your Speed Before Your Start
This is very important. You need to check your speed before you start to apply these tips and tricks, so that you can understand what your speed was before and after reading this article. This will show you how authentic and genuine my research over this topic is.
You can use any speed checker tool, like, Google Page Speed, YSlow, GTMetrix, and many more. But I personally prefer to use Google products moe than anything, so I have used Google Page Speed. You can also go for GTMetrix, as it combines results of both Google Page Speed and YSlow, and shows it to you in a very interactive way.
Now go to any of these, and check your page speed score. Note it down carefully, and also note down the high and medium priority elements that need optimization according to these sites. Now read this article, very carefully and use all the techniques mentioned. Check your page speed again. You will see a huge increase in the page speed score, and will also find that the high and medium priority have all been optimized. Party time, you are having a blazing fast website form now.
I have personally used Google Page Speed and checked the Page Speed Score of daPazze.com and found it to be 93 out of 100. It is a very good score, and it is beating many other popular blogs and websites in terms of score. Google.com has a Page Speed Score of 98 and Facebook.com has 99. Now you only do the maths, daPazze is just a few points below the two most popular websites in the planet.
I have used my research to speed up my website and now am going to show all the methods and techniques so that you can speed up your WordPress site too. And my screenshot’s, proves that these techniques work well, and can speed up any WordPress site.
So, lets start.
1) Free Theme vs Premium theme
This is the question that first strikes in any one’s mind before starting a blog. I can give you the most simple answer to this question. Always go for a Premium Theme, as the developer’s of free themes, never work hard to optimize their theme for speed. So its obvious you will have a buggy and a slow site. So even if you work hard to grab visitors and rank higher in the search engines, you will never be able to do so because of this simple mistake.So, this becomes the first and the foremost thing that you must remember to optimize your WordPress site.
daPazze recommends you to go for, Elegant Themes and Themes Junkie, for Clean, SEO and Speed optimized themes.
2) Premium Theme vs Custom Theme
Now you can ask me, whether to go for a Premium Theme or a Custom Theme. Then I will tell you to go for a Custom Theme. There are hundreds of highly priced premium themes in the market that a tremendously slow. But a Custom Theme ensures everything, the “Pride of Exclusivity”, Speed, Navigation, SEO optimization and many more. You just need to have a bit of designing knowledge. That’s it. Always go for a Custom Theme over Free and Premium themes, if you want to speed up WordPress.
3) CSS Sprites
CSS Sprites is a technique to combine multiple image into a single image thereby decreasing the page load time and saving valuable bandwidth. It is highly recommended to use CSS Sprites in your theme. Using this simple technique can drastically optimize your WordPress site within seconds. You can go to SpriteMe and use this technique in the most easy way.
Ask yourself a question, is it easier to load a single image than multiple images. The answer will obviously be, Yes. Though the concept is simple, but it is a vital technique to speed WordPress sites. So don’t forget to use this technique in your theme. Most of the developer’s don’t understand it’s importance. But listen to my words, use it, you will see a huge boost in loading your theme.
4) Ensure Smallest Theme Size
Always try to keep the files size of your theme as small as possible. It is very simple, the less the file size or the weight of the theme is, the faster it loads up. Use less images in designing a theme, ensure that the images are highly compressed, use CSS sprites, and other CSS Tips and Tricks to ensure that your site load up fast.
An intelligent designer will use CSS to create shadows of images and texts, rather than using images to implement these shadows. The more you use images in designing your theme, the more its gets slowed down. So think intelligently, and design better.
5) Use Less External Scripts
External scripts refer to scripts that you use in your site form external sources or websites. For example, Facebook Widgets, Facebook Social recommendations Plugin, Google Analytics Code, Twitter Widget, e.t.c. But these scripts can be a big reason to slow down site. Suppose the external server is slow then your site will also become slow.
It is true, that every body wants to use various features form various external sources in their site for better functions. But don’t do anything by compromising speed. No one likes glossy features in a site that is slower than a snail. Always keep this thing well-placed in your mind, speeding up your WordPress site should be your first and foremost priority.
For example, daPazze uses very less external scripts, it only uses scripts like Google Analytics and Facebook Like Plugin to reduce its page loading time.
6) Use Scaled Images
We all know that images are the biggest enemy of speed of any website. So as to have a faster WordPress site, we should consider optimizing the site for images. You should never use high quality, heavy images in your blog, because this can drastically slow down your site inspite of whatever optimization you do. Keep this in mind.
This is the problem that I faced with my previous blog. I did all kinds of possible optimization’s, but used many high resolution and heavy images. The result was nothing but an extremely slow loading website. So as to optimize your WordPress for speed, always remember to scale down the images that you use. Scale them down to 30-40% of their original size. This can solve your problem in a better way.
7) Make Effective Use of Yahoo! Smush.it Tool
This is a very effective tool by Yahoo that compresses any image losslessly. This means that any image that you upload gets compresses without any loss in quality, but the size of the images gets drastically reduced to even 50% of its original size thereby speeding up WordPress.
Install Yahoo! Smush.it and your image compression headache is over. It will automatically compress any image that you upload and reduce its size and thereby speeding up Wordpress with only a single click.
8) Use Few Images to Speed Up WordPress
You can argue with me by saying that “A picture is worth a thousand words”, but I will defend my statement by saying that “This is not applicable to blogging, at least”. Though more images can help you site to look more attractive to readers, but in the same time it will drastically increase your page load time and slow down your site. If you own a Photo Blog, or a Photo Magazine, then the scenario is different. But if not, never use too many images in your site, as it can drastically increase the page load time.
So remember the THUMB Rule, ” The more images you use, the more you downgrade your site’s speed, and vice-versa”. This simple, yet fantastic tip, can show you huge improvements in your site’s speed.
9) Use Lazy Load Plugin
This plugin is a must have for everyone out there who want to speed up WordPress. It is a simple plugin yet a very effective one. It loads only those image that are in the viewing range of the visitor, in simple words it loads the images on demand, postponing the loading of other images. As the user scrolls down the rest of the images are loaded.
This simple technique can drastically boost your website’s speed. So definitely go for it. You can see Lazy Load in live action in daPazze.com itself.
Web Hosting Optimization
10) Choose a Fast Web Host
The Web Host that you choose is very important in speeding up your WordPress site. So decide wisely and judiciously. Your server is the place where you store all your files, images, databases. If your server is slow in serving the files to your visitors, then your whole optimization is finished. You will never be able to speed up WordPress, with a slow server.
There have been many cases where I have seen, that the website, in spite of having all speed optimization’s
daPazze recommends you to go for RubyRingTech.com which is a very cheap and a very fast server and can help you a lot to optimize your WordPress blog for speed and performance.
11) Use a CDN
A CDN is a Content Delivery Network which stores copies of your files and distributes it to its huge network. The idea of CDN is simple yet very effective. It tries to serve your files to your visitor from the closest possible place, so that the file travels through less “hops” and thereby speeding up your WordPress site.
Years back, using a CDN was only for the elite web developers. But now-a-days, it has become available to the masses and some are even free. The most popular CDN’s according to me are CloudFlare, MaxCDN, etc. If you can afford to pay then go for a Premium CDN, other wise go for ClodFlare, which though being free is spectacular, so I have included a different section for it.
12) Use CloudFlare
It is a free CDN service and probably nothing less as compared to any premium CDN service. CloudFlare can do nothing other than accelerating, protecting and optimizing your site for free. It drastically improves site’s page load time. And the most important thing, it does everything for you for free. So there is no reason not to choose this as your CDN and start to optimizing you site for free.
Personally, I can say, it is as good as premium CDN’s, so go for it. You don’t need to pay a single penny to avail its loads of services.
Database And Plugin Optimization
13) Install a Database Management Plugins
This is very much essential. You definitely need to install a Database Management Plugin for optimizing, repairing, and backing up your database. There are many good plugins out there in the WordPress Plugin Directory for free. Grad any one of them that suits you.
Database’s grow in size, the more you use your WordPress blog, like installing plugins,and using them. And everytime your WordPress blog is loaded, the database’s also need to be loaded, thereby slowing down the site and increasing the page load time. So, you need to ensure that you have a descent Database Management Plugin installed in your WordPress, to optimize the database tables and records and backup them.
A list of the Top 3 DataBase Management Plugins:
- WP-DBManager (Recommended) - daPazze is using this and is highly satisfied with its performance.
14) Use Caching Plugins
This is a very important factor that you must remember and implement if you want speed and performance. You need a Caching plugim, like W3 Total Cache,that can cache the static files in your site, minify the CSS, HTML and JS, cache the databases and optimize then. These caching plugins can also seemleesly connect your WordPress site with CDN like CloudFlare.
These caching plugins can boost the performance of any WordPress site by upto 10x and increase speed and performance drastically.
Top 3 Caching Plugins recommended by daPazze are:-
- W3 Total Cache - This is so far the best possible caching plugin one can have. It does everything that is necessary in speeding up WordPress.
- WP Super Cache
15) Use Less Plugins
Last but not the least, this is also an important thing to remember in this topic. Try to use only those plugins that you need the most. Dont go on installing unnecessary plugins and dump you site like a garbage. I can understand that it is quite difficult to restrict oneself for those cool and nifty plugins out there in the plugin market, both free and premium, and any one can easily get addicted to installing plugins and trying them out one by one.
But please dont do this mistake, try to get things professional. Your site is your dream and hard work, it is not the place to play with. So remember this thing, not to install too many plugins and remove any if you don’t have a need of it.
Check Your Speed Again
After reading this article and applying, you will definitely be able to speed up Wordpress drastically. But why listen to my words, if you can see how much were you able to reach your goal, by your own hands. Just go to the same speed checking tool, that you used before and check your speed score. You will see a drastic increase in the scores, which means that now you are having a much faster WordPress blog. Hurray! Party time.
So, I think I have made its clear throughout the article why and how to speed up WordPress. These tips and techniques are a result of my huge research in this topic and have proven to work not only in my site but also in many other’s site who have implemented them. So, don’t wait for anything, go through this topic once more and start implementing them one by one. I can guarantee you a faster WordPress site for now on.