How to diagnose and fix common issues that slow down WordPress sites
We’ve previously spoken about how a slow website can negatively impact the way Facebook values your content, now it’s time to look at how to improve glacial WordPress websites.
Not convinced a slow website is all that bad? A delay of even one second can result in a 7% loss in conversions, according to a study from StrangeLoop Networks.
If your WordPress site is running poorly it can also negatively impact your SEO score, so making improvements to speed can help increase your page views and drive your business’ online presence.
How do you know if your site is slow?
This might sound like a no brainer, surely if your website isn’t taking a while to load it means it’s fine – but that’s not always the case.
There’s much more to the speed of your website than just how it loads for you. With modern browsers such as Chrome, you’ll find that your website loads significantly faster for you than it will for others, as the browser caches data.
To find out how your site is truly performing you can use Pingdom, which is a free website speed test.
This handy tool will tell you how your website stacks up and provides insights on areas where you can improve.
Common issues and how to fix them
Assuming your website is running slow, there are a number of areas that could be holding it back. Some of the most common issues include:
Poorly optimised images – Images that are too large will slow website load times significantly. You will likely have experienced this yourself when visiting pages with large images, as areas of the page won’t load in completely. To fix this you can compress images to optimise them better. For example, in Photoshop you can save an image for web, which compresses it but keeps the quality high. Optimising the images can reduce the file size significantly, allowing your page to load quicker.
Bad hosting – If your page has hosting issues, your speed will be impacted. There are a number of reasons that this could be the case, however one of the most common is using a shared hosting provider. If your neighbours are experiencing high traffic or have poorly optimised websites themselves, it can impact your site. Switching to a dedicated WordPress host could be beneficial, as this offers a more stable experience, automatic updates and more. Dedicated cloud hosting is another great option when looking for new a new host.
Too many plugins – WordPress plugins are a handy feature, but some are unnecessary and don’t need to be installed on your site. Removing surplus plugins and add-ons can significantly reduce the load times of your website. This isn’t necessarily a quantity issue with plugins, it’s also to do with quality. Some plugins will be extremely intensive with the scripts they run, or will try to reach external databases. These are things that you should look out for and actively avoid prior to installing. If you’re not sure if a plugin is right for you, always read the reviews before installing!
There could be more to it
Diagnosing a slow website and fixing it can often be two very different things. Some of the changes we’ve mentioned are easy enough to manage if you’re not an expert, but when it comes to other areas – such as design, reducing bandwidth, cleaning up databases and fixing scripts – things can become more complicated. If you’re serious about utilising and maximising your website for ecommerce, it could be worth investing in an expertly crafted site that is purposely built to convert.
Want to improve the optimisation of your website?
Get in contact with us today and see how we can help.