Are you looking for ways to make your WordPress website faster? Are speed and performance important to you? Then this is an article you won’t want to miss. We’re drilling down and explaining why website performance matters and how to optimize a WordPress website for speed.
Website speed and performance matter for two main reasons:
- Google rankings
- User experience
Performance is one of the primary factors Google uses when determining search engine rankings. This isn’t new. Website speed has been a ranking factor for more than a decade, and it’s been used by Google to determine placement in mobile search since at least 2018.
Website speed and performance figure into Google’s page experience signals, which rolled out in 2021. Page experience signals combine Core Web Vitals with Google’s existing search signals.
Performance is also a ranking factor in search algorithms, since website performance impacts visitor behaviors and conversions. In a study from 2017, Google found that when page load time went from 1 to 3 seconds, bounce rates increased by 32%. An increase of 1 to 10 seconds lead to a bounce rate increase of 123%.
If visitors are leaving your website before they finish reading any articles, they probably aren’t signing up for a paid subscription or engaging in the comments. That tells us all we need to know about the relationship between website speed and user experience.
Improving Website Speed for WordPress Websites
Now that you understand why page speed and performance are so important, it’s time for the good stuff. How can you optimize a WordPress website for speed and performance?
According to Google’s John Mueller, hosting plays a big role in website performance. When too many websites are hosted on a system with limited capacity, the server can become overloaded. That causes page speed to decrease, which makes the page harder for Google’s bots to crawl and leads to a decrease in Google search rankings. To remedy this issue and ensure your website is hosted on the right system, get in contact with a web developer like Web Publisher PRO.
Some self-hosted WordPress websites could benefit from using a caching plugin. A caching plugin takes a snapshot of a website that visitors can access on the server, rather than loading every element on the website each time. WordPress caching plugins lead to faster load times and stronger website performance, since static cached files load faster than dynamic database queries. For more information about caching plugins, click here.
Large, high-resolution images are what makes a website stand out, especially in the digital publishing space. Online magazines are particularly well-known for featuring large photographs on nearly every page. However, those same images can make a website run slowly if they’re not handled in the appropriate way.
As a best practice, digital publishers should make sure they are choosing the right formats for all images and sizing their images appropriately to maximize page speed. For example, JPEG files should be used for photos and screenshots, while a PNG file is best for images with geometric shapes and curves. GIF files should be reserved for animations. Generally speaking, images on most WordPress websites should not be larger than 1280 x 720 pixels for HD quality or 3840 x 2160 for 4K quality.
WordPress plugins are incredibly useful tools, however adding too many plugins to a website can lead to sluggish page load times and other performance issues. Older plugins may lead to additional HTTP requests and database requests, and they may also create security vulnerabilities for digital publishers.
The best way to manage the WordPress plugins on your website is by working directly with a developer, like Web Publisher PRO. Developers that specialize in WordPress websites have the ability to optimize plugins for your version of WordPress.
For a complete list of the best WordPress plugins, widgets, and add-ons to boost website performance, click here.