Site speed is now a Google ranking factor for both desktop and mobile sites. If you don’t maintain decent website performance, your site’s visibility on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) may decrease, leading to lower traffic levels.
With your website’s success on the line, speed can’t be ignored. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a smart place to start is by testing to determine where your site stands now. You can run load time tests to see how long your users are waiting and then get to work on decreasing those numbers.
Once you know the current state of your site’s performance, you can start optimizing key factors that influence site speed. Let’s look at 5 of the most common problems that contribute to slow websites and discuss how to resolve them.
You’re Not Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) consists of several servers that are placed in strategic geographic locations. You can store copies of your website on them so its pages can be quickly loaded by users who are located far away from your main server.
There are several CDN options for your WordPress site. Cloudflare is one of the most popular solutions, as is the Jetpack CDN for images and videos. For customers on our DreamPress Plus and Pro plans, you’ll get unlimited CDN usage powered by Jetpack.
Your Site’s CSS Isn’t Optimized
- If you have several external CSS files, combine them into one or a few files.
- Remove external CSS and use inline CSS instead.
- Use ‘media types’ to specify when certain CSS files should be loaded.
Large Media Files Are Increasing Loading Times
Media files, such as images and videos, tend to be quite large. Optimizing them through compression can help to decrease their size and, therefore, improve your loading times.
TinyJPG is a free online tool that compresses images. There are also several plugins you can use to compress media files within WordPress, including Smush Image Compression and
Optimization.Compressing videos is a little trickier, so it’s usually better to host them externally on YouTube or another platform instead. You can then easily embed your videos on pages or posts.
Poorly-Written Scripts Are Conflicting With Other Site Elements
You can then investigate these files more closely to determine how you can improve them. It may also be useful to turn potentially problematic scripts off temporarily, to see how your performance scores change without them enabled.
There’s Excessive Overhead in Your Database
‘Overhead’ refers to extraneous items in your site’s database — things like logs, transients, and other entries from plugins or themes can build up over time. Too much of this ‘overhead’ can cause database queries to take longer than necessary. In some cases, it can even cause your web server to time out while waiting for a response from your database.
Optimizing your database by removing overhead will help prevent this. Most web hosts allow you to access the database management platform phpMyAdmin via your hosting account. If you aren’t able to optimize your tables in phpMyAdmin, you can use the WordPress Command Line interface (WP-CLI).
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