How To Improve WordPress Load Time

Improve WordPress Loading Time

No one likes waiting.

In today’s gotta-to-have-now society there are no excuses for downtime. People are impatient and very quick to judge. First impressions matter more than ever when it comes to a website, so letting your WordPress load time hold you back can be frustrating and bad for business.

I’m obsessed with speed. I love fast loading websites yet I understand most people won’t go to the same lengths I will to improve it so this article is about five simple quick fixes that will make and immediate impact.

Add W3 Cache or Super Cache Plugin

This is a very easy and common first step to improving WordPress load time. Most hosting companies like Hostgator will go ahead and just include Super Cache with your WordPress installation, but either way Super Cache is my favorite and most trusted cache plugin. It’s simple to set up and greatly improves WordPress loading time. The other most popular cache plugin is W3 Cache Plugin

Cache plugins are used on millions of WordPress sites around the world and are the most basic first step to on how to improve WordPress load time. For tweaking your settings to gain optimal speed check out these great reads that specially talk about each plugin:

Re-size & Compress Images

Compress WordPress ImagesThis is a step you must train yourself to do. Images are the single biggest loading nightmare to a website. Overly large images that are not compressed for the web slow everything down. The best tips are to know the exact size of the feature post image and then crop or re-size the image before you upload it. You can crop the image in Photoshop or some other image editing program to make sure your image isn’t too big. Using the WordPress re-size drag feature in the post editor doesn’t actually crop the photo, it just forces the re-size of the image. So if you uploaded a monster .jpeg then re-sized it to fit the article it will still load at the same time as if it was large.

*Here’s a golden nugget: Compress all your images through this website before you upload them to WordPress. The file size savings can be in the 60 to 70% range and load much faster. The quality does not go down much at all.

Compress Your Stylesheet (style.css): No white space!

Humans need content broken up to be easier to read, but a computer does not. If you string all your code together in one long line there are no pauses and the loading time in greatly improved.

Please note: You need back up all your work in case something goes wrong. Things like forgetting certain commands at the top of your Stylesheet can cause problems.

How do I do this?

  1. Login to your WordPress website. Then go to: Appearance | Editor
  2. Scroll down and click on Stylesheet (Style.css)
  3. Open up Notepad on your computer
  4. Select all and copy to notepad (backup)
  5. Then Select all the code and paste into code box at CSS
  6. Change the file type to css (tab button)
  7. Click Compress
  8. Copy compressed code and paste it back into your style.css. Hit update.

Delete Un-used WordPress Plugins and Themes

Don’t be a Plugin hoarder. Extra junk you’re not using can slow your website down. Adding plugins can be an addictive game yet it can also not only create an easy way to get your website hacked it can slow your WordPress site down to sludge.

Tips:

  1. Go through the things you need and don’t need and streamline the rest.
  2. Research how to add Social Share buttons without using a plugin (a soon to be post I plan to write). It’s quick and easy and saves you from adding an extra plugin.
  3. Delete all the Themes your not using.

Put JavaScript in the Footer

JavaScript is executed and run by a user’s web browser and not by your web server. When you put JavaScript at the top, browsers may execute or process the JavaScript before loading the rest of your page. When JavaScripts are moved to the bottom, your web server would quickly render the page and then the user’s browser would execute JavaScripts. Since all the server side rendering is already done, the JavaScript will load in the background making the overall load faster. There are many different ways you could load a script file to a web page, yet loading scripts at bottom or from your footer of your page have the following advantages.

  1. Will not block any DOM content to be loaded.
  2. All the DOM elements will be available for the scripts that are being loaded.
  3. If you are using third-party libraries such as jQuery, you can skip the $(document).ready(function () {…}); as the DOM is already loaded.
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Mike Patch

Optimize Dude was started with the intention of creating a fun down to earth practical blog to help WordPress users with improving their website. Mike Patch is a long time blogger, SEO and Web Designer.