Launching a great looking website these days is easy enough for even the most novice of website owners.
After all, anyone can access the affordable content management system WordPress and the free resources circulating the web — all of which aim to help people build stellar websites.
In fact, these resources let you build a bigger email list, complete with an email signature at the end of each campaign, brand yourself on social media, and even manage your editorial calendar.
But, when it comes to building a successful website that loads fast and performs well, however, a distinct line is drawn between those that know what they’re doing – and those that don’t.
If you built your WordPress website yourself, chances are high that you are missing out on ways to maximize the speed and performance of your website.
And when you miss out on those opportunities, you risk giving users a less than perfect user experience, hurting your search engine rankings, and decreasing your conversion rates.
With 40% of people abandoning websites that don’t load within 3 seconds or less, it’s important you take a look at these ways to maximize your website’s performance.
Whether you’re an aspiring freelancer that just launched a business, or an established business, focusing on site speed and performance will only help you succeed.
So, let’s get started.
1. Monitor Site Speed and Performance
It’s not enough to focus on your content marketing tactics to drive traffic to your website and get people to convert.
You have to make sure your site loads quickly and is always up and running.
To make sure you’re maximizing your site’s speed and performance, you need to first find out where your website stands at this very moment.
If you ask a web developer or independent SEO consultant, chances are they’ll tell you to use Google PageSpeed Insights to see how fast both your desktop and mobile sites are running.
This will give you a baseline speed and performance grade for your website that you can use in the future as you begin to optimize your site.
You can then see how well your optimizations are working and where on your website you can make more changes.
2. Invest in Reliable Hosting
The hosting provider you choose plays a significant role in how well your site performs. After all, if your web host’s servers go down, you can expect your website to go down too.
That’s because web hosts store your site’s data on their servers and are responsible for delivering your site’s content to site visitors.
There are hundreds of hosting providers on the market to choose from. And the truth is, picking the right one can be challenging.
Take a look at some of the features you should look for in a reliable web host that will ensure your site performs at its best:
- 24/7 support
- Automatic backups and one-click restores
- Accessibility to the server settings, email accounts, and more
- An easy to use cPanel
- Scalability so your site can grow without experiencing downtime
- Plenty of bandwidth and storage
- Support for PHP 7 and over
- Easy, one-click installs of CMS platforms such as WordPress
- Built-in security measures
If you’re looking for hosting, we can help you by hosting your website(s) in our premium server.
Lastly, it’s important you look into buying a unique domain name from a third-party company if your new web host doesn’t offer domain name registrations.
Your site’s domain name is important since that’s the first thing people will see in search results. But, spending a lot of money on a domain name doesn’t have to happen.
Take the time to find a company that lets you search for available domain names easily, doesn’t charge you too much each year to renew, and can help with the domain name transfer process.
3. Optimize Your Images
According to Google, the images on your website often account for the most downloaded bytes on a web page.
And, while images do make your site look more visually appealing, they tend to drag down your page loading speeds and performance.
One of the best ways to optimize your images is to use a free online tool such as TinyPNG. All you have to do is drop your image into the tool and let it compress it into a smaller file.
You are then free to upload the optimized image to your WordPress website.
If you prefer to use a WordPress plugin to help you optimize your images, you can use one of the following:
- reSmush.it Image Optimizer
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Many of these plugins offer website owners the ability to upload and compress multiple images at once.
They also let you optimize images previously uploaded to your site, use their own servers to save your site’s resources, and work with multiple image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF.
4. Keep WordPress Updated
The reason the WordPress core, plugins, and themes are regularly updated is not just because new features have been introduced, but because bugs and security issues have been addressed.
If you want your website loading fast, running at all times, and safe from malicious activity, you’ll want to make sure to keep WordPress itself and all themes and plugins updated at all times.
To make sure your software is always up to date, all you have to do is go to Dashboard > Updates in the WordPress dashboard.
Here you’ll see any available updates for your website.
In addition, you can also reduce the number of post revisions stored on your site’s database, delete all spam comments taking up extra space, and run regular malware scans to keep your site secure.
5. Enable Browser Caching
Browser caching is a smart way to deliver static content (or content that rarely, if ever, changes) to your site visitors.
In fact, enabling browser caching on your website is one of the best ways to speed up your website and provide a seamless user experience.
Not only does this save on site resources, but it also delivers site content to users in the quickest way possible.
The easiest way to enable browser caching on your WordPress website, without having to deal with code, is to use a caching plugin such as WP Super Cache or WP Fastest Cache.
With a simple settings selection, you can turn on browser caching for your website.
From there, your site will start delivering static content that is stored in the cache and saved for repeat site visitors, and both you and your users will reap the benefits of faster page loading.
To help the performance of your website even more, you might also consider using a CDN to take the load off your web server.
A CDN, or a content delivery network, stores your website’s content on multiple servers spanning the earth.
Then, when someone clicks on your website, the CDN server geographically closest to your site visitor will deliver the content, resulting in the fastest, most reliable delivery of site content possible.
Some web hosting providers include CDN services in their hosting plans. However, if your host doesn’t, you can always look into CDN networks such as:
- Amazon S3
- Free CDN
- Media Temple CDN
These CDN networks will pair seamlessly with most caching plugins, making your site performance that much better for site visitors.
There’s really not a lot to maintaining your site’s speed and performance; so long as you know what you’re doing.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get wrapped up in running a successful online business.
Focusing on generating sales, building a bigger email list, solidifying a social media presence, and more can detract you from the basics.
That’s why you should always set aside some time to focus on how well your site is functioning and how fast it’s loading.
After all, these two things will affect the user experience and ultimately your success as a website owner.