We all know that our websites need to be as fast as possible, but sometimes it is tricky knowing where to start to make them faster. That’s the problem this post aims to solve.
The BEFORE Shot
1. Know the Size of the Problem
You need to know how fast (or slow) your website actually is. Relying on your own feeling isn’t a good idea, especially when there are simple to use and free tools that will let you measure site-speed. GTMetrix is one that I use. It’s free, fast and you get detailed reports. You can register (free) and get extra benefits.
GTMetrix reports tell you exactly what the issues are on your site. The company makes its money if you ask their engineers to fix the issues, but you can fix most of them yourself very simply.
My tech ability is not high, I can install WordPress, add plugins and change settings and that’s about it. However I managed to take my site from a C score 76% to an A score 97% by making a few simple changes.
2. Cut the Plugins
Deactivate every plugin you have installed – Every single one. Register for GTMetrix so you can save the results. Test your site speed.
Re-activate the plugins you REALLY need one at a time, testing the speed after installing each one. Plugins are a major cause of WordPress sites being slow.
3. Install a Caching Plugin
There are many free WordPress cache plugins. I use WP Autoptimize because I like its simplicity. This plugin will solve most of the issues that GTMetrix detects.
4. Experiment with Themes
You will find that when you run speed tests on different themes that there are big differences in site load speed. You can always pay a coder to tweak the theme you find is fastest.
5. Consider a Content Delivery Network
Cloudshare’s CDN is free and might make a difference. It didn’t for me, but I have just changed my web host, so I will try using it again.
The AFTER Shot
You can see exactly how easy it is to make a big difference to your site’s speed, even if your technical know-how is limited.
Do these ideas sound simple enough to put into place? Please share your speed experiments results in the comments box below.
Written by Phil Turner who uses his teaching skills from a career in the classroom to pass on his knowledge to others. Communicating is Phil’s passion. His objective is to pass on as much of his own knowledge to as many people as possible, in the hope that one or two will pass it on to people they know.