Did you know that Search Engines now use how fast your website loads as a measurement for where your website ranks on a search? If you have a slow loading site your competition may be getting your share of the business. Not only that but a slow load time is no longer acceptable to consumers who want it now, 3 seconds max! So, how do you get a faster load time?
- One of the fastest ways to improve your load time for your site is to move from a Shared host to a Dedicated Host. Shared resources include CPU and Bandwidth, thus slowing down your load time, especially during peak demand. This is usually when your customers are viewing your site. The additional cost of moving from a shared host to dedicated host is minimal considering that consumers rarely move past the first page of their search, you need to be up there.
- Image size can kill a websites load time, and for no good. Lots of images are often too large and are not compressed. To quicken your website most of the images can be heavily compressed so that they are smaller and lighter to transfer to the end users computer to be viewed. Most screen viewings don’t need to be huge, save that for when your printing only. There are many software programs such as Pixlr Editor that can help change the size of your photos – a free tool that’s super easy to use.
- Remove plugins you don’t need or use. The use of plugins is what makes WordPress awesome, but just be careful of how many plugins you use. By adding extra plugins the server has to scour through your files, including ones that don’t do anything and add time to your site’s performance. After the site is up and running take a careful look at what’s installed, remove the plugins that were put there during development. While we are talking about plugins, make sure they are up to date. An out of date plugin could be a security threat.
- WP Super Cache is one of the most popular WordPress plugins and one that I always use. It’s amazing at creating pages of your static site so that the server doesn’t have to go through all the code again to serve the same data over and over to your repeat visitors. It then compresses the pages into smaller packets. The smaller the info to be transferred, the faster the site loads.
WP Super Cache also includes a Content Delivery Network feature that basically copies some of the information from your website such as photos, video, text, downloadable objects and applications and distributes them to dedicated locations over the world. So, a customer in Sweden will get your page’s data from a server in Europe rather than connecting to the server in Seattle, halfway around the world. A closer connection is a faster connection.
- If you’re looking to test how fast your site is currently, try pingdom.com for tools that will show you what is taking time to load and suggestions on how to improve your site’s performance. If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you may have some work to do.