WordPress is a great platform that allows you to join for free and set up an online network for your business in no time at all. Millions and millions of people use WordPress for a variety of reasons. If you take a look at the screenshot below, you’ll see what this platform is all about:
Just with a quick glance, you can see that you can create a blog, change the theme of your web page, and even ask the WordPress team for support on crucial matters. At this point, you may think that this is the perfect tool to build an online presence because you can express yourself in a variety of ways (whether you do it by creating a travel blog or by posting your poetry collection, it is entirely up to you). However, I’m here to tell you that not all is what it seems and that even the best blogging platform on the internet is not without a major chink in its armor. Those of you who have used this website before know exactly what I’m talking about i.e. the lag that hosts and visitors experience on WordPress web pages.
To be fair to WordPress, not all websites hosted on its domain or via its servers experience lag. Speaking as the creator and host of a literature blog on WordPress, I can assure you that my entire collection loads within seconds. However, I have seen some of my friends who have web pages that take an eternity to load. After deeply studying my blog and those of my buddies, I was able to find some common problems that they all had made, and considering how they need my assistance in removing these troubling factors from their domain; I decided to highlight these problems publically so that everyone (including you) benefits from this. Before I tell you what you can do to speed up your WordPress blog, let us first address why speed is such a big deal and what are the ramifications of having a very laggy website in an ultrafast digital age.
Why Speed Matters
If you’re new to the internet or simply don’t know why speed could be such a big deal, let me begin by first telling you that every second your online platform takes to load counts. Take a look at the graph below as it explains exactly what it means to have a website that takes too long to load.
You can see from the graph above that if your web page takes more than 3 seconds (for the record, 1000ms = 1 second), you can risk losing 50% of your target audience. That’s half your potential clientele gone – not because you posted something offensive or because your rivals are currently engaging in an aggressive slanderous campaign against you. No, it’s simply because your web page takes way too long to load. You are losing half your audience long before they even get to see what your webpage is all about.
Now you can start to see why I called WordPress’ speed problems a chink in its armor. Thus, if you choose to project your business model on the WordPress platform, you can lose a significant proportion of your customers just because your web page takes too long to load. This is why our current discussion is so important. If you are interested in maintaining or possibly even increasing the number of visitors on your WordPress web page, continue reading below as I state some methods to give your online blog a speed boost and even rank its effectiveness.
1. Compress the Images on Your Web Page
The one thing that people take a long time to come to terms with is the fact that pictures take megabytes and megabytes of your total online presence. Hence, if you are consistently posting 4K images on your web page, your website is naturally going to take an ungodly amount of time to load properly. Now I understand that I cannot ask you to stop posting pictures on your web page because you may have a platform that relies on these images (e.g. travel blogs and product reviews). However, one thing that I highly recommend doing is to compress the images on your web page so that they don’t take as much as they would normally have.
Now I understand that not all of us are experts in image compression, but thanks to WordPress’ great list of extensions, we don’t have to be as there are loads of extensions that can automatically do this for you. The one extension that I personally would like to recommend is the Smush plugin, which prides itself on being one of the best image compressors available online.
The fact that WP Smush.it has been downloaded by more than a million different users and has a high rating of 4.8 stars only goes to proves its effectiveness.
2. Choose a Good Host
Now, this can be quite difficult to grasp at first but stick with me as I try to simplify it for you. I will admit that like everybody else in the WordPress community, I too was lured by the prospects of using hosts when I began blogging. In my defense, the host promised unlimited page views, which was very tempting, to say the least. However, I later came to the conclusion that choosing to share my WordPress blog on shared hosting was holding me back.
After some consideration, I invested in proper hosting and within the space of a few weeks, the results started to show. My views doubled, and I started getting more visitors, which naturally led to more likes on my posts. This meant that my decision to jump to a private hosting service paid dividends in the long run, and that is something I always look back on with fondness.
If you are interested in knowing which host I opted for, the answer to that question is that I chose the WP Engine (pictured below). The biggest reason that convinced me that this was the right choice was that it had a live chat system, which allowed me to communicate with professionals and get solutions to my problems in real-time. Their answers were critical in me choosing their service, and that is why I highly recommend this service to everyone who just can’t seem to get their feet off the ground.
3. Choosing a Light Theme
What I love about the WordPress platform is that it has a great collection of themes. There are hundreds and thousands of themes (as shown in the image below) which can completely change the face of your website.
However, a common flaw that I saw in all my friends’ blogs was that the themes that they had opted for were too extravagant and flashy. Having a lot of features, it was only natural that these themes demanded a significant amount of patience from the visitor as they just sit there waiting for the page to load. Granted that these themes and appearance styles made their web pages look more unique and made them stand out from the crowd, they were also taking a lot of time to load. They demanded a lot from my internet connection and let’s just say that once fully loaded, they weren’t worth the wait. The absolute worst thing about it was that one of these blogs didn’t even load on my iPhone, simply because it wasn’t iOS-friendly.
I then realized that there could be no tradeoff between style and speed as it is massively one-sided. In a world that is obsessed with speed, you just cannot afford to waste your client’s time. Thus, asking them to wait while a useless (albeit pretty) feature on your blog finishes loading is a monumental mistake and should be rectified as soon as possible.
If you want my two cents on the whole blog theme debacle, I recommend opting for WordPress’ Twenty Fifteen theme. Yes, I understand that this is the default WordPress theme and this can make your web page look a lot like your rival’s, but there is a reason why it has the honor of being the default theme. After a quick look into Twenty Fifteen, I was able to conclude that it is one of the most lightweight themes that WordPress has to offer. This means that it can massively reduce the time your web page takes to load every time someone clicks on your website. Also, Twenty Fifteen is available for free, so it is worth a try. I have posted a screenshot of the live demo of the theme so that you can get a better idea of what it would look like on your blog.
4. Use a Caching Plug-In
Plug-ins were created so as to optimize the user’s experience. Whether you are talking about a plug-in on your favorite music player or your preferred internet browser, these plug-ins will make your life easier by giving you a better experience.
When it comes to WordPress, plug-ins are a useful tool in your arsenal that you can use to level the playing field. There are many types of plug-ins and extensions that you can use, but the one that I highly recommend is the W3 Total Cache plug-in (pictured below).
The W3 Total Cache is termed as a caching plug-in. It is better to think of it as a Web Performance Optimizer (WPO). The best feature of the W3 Total Cache is that it can exponentially reduce the time your web page takes to load. This means that your customers and clients won’t have to wait for long to view your online platform which, as we have already discussed before, is crucial to its success.
5. Try Out a Content Delivery Network
There are many strong Content Delivery Networks. However, only a few of these can be classified as great. One such network is Max CDN. Speaking from personal experience, this CDN can load pages faster than any other CDN that I have used thus far. This means that you can reach out to more users and even potentially increase your clientele.
The best thing about Max CDN is that the results are visible right from the get-go, so you don’t have to wait for ages to see the difference. I highly recommend using this CDN as it is very cost-effective and can increase your web page’s ranking on popular search engines. Moreover, the setup for Max CDN is relatively easy, which is a bonus.
By looking at this piece at first glance, you may think that WordPress has a lot of issues, especially when it comes to loading time. This could not be further from the truth because I believe that WordPress is a very promising platform that is only hindered by its ambitions. By trying to cater to the needs of everyone, I believe that WordPress has taken a step in the wrong direction. However, the tips and tricks that I described today should be enough for you to make sure that your online presence keeps on increasing and that you continue to attract more and more clients.