According to Kissmetrics, a business loses roughly 25% of its online visitors if its site takes more than 4 seconds to load. Optimizing your WordPress website can make a significant difference in user experience and meeting goals like capturing new leads. However, if your site lacks in performance, you will lose a chunk of people due to slow speeds.
You see, in a digital age where consumers are looking for answers fast, page loading issues can seriously frustrate readers and keep people from coming back to your site. Even by publishing remarkable content that resonates with your market and offers solutions, if your website is not up to par, you will disengage your audience and hurt in SEO rankings. So implementing WordPress optimization tactics is vital to keep your site performance stellar!
Here are three simple tips and tricks to improve your website speed and bolster user experience.
#1 Choose Your Plugins Wisely
The incredible advantage to WordPress plugins is the flexibility it gives in customizing your site in a way that exudes your brand personality and appeals to your target audience. This freedom yields the sheer excitement of downloading various plugins because they “seem necessary” at the moment. But, did you know that plugins are one of the biggest causes of slow speeds?
Certain plugins actually weigh down on your site, impacting performance. The questions you must ask when installing plugins is whether or not it’s needed and does it align with your website objectives. Answering this question will help gauge which plugins are serving you, and which ones to dismiss.
P3 Profiler is a valuable plugin that will tell you exactly how much load time your plugins are adding so you can eliminate the ones that are not enriching website experience.
Here are a few WordPress plugins I use on every site I build:
All in One SEO Pack – Better your WordPress SEO to get your content in front of your target audience with proper keywords
WP Super Cache – Publish static HTML files instead of dynamic files, substantially reducing the time a page takes to load
Wordfence – Secure and protect your website
Google XML Sitemaps – Helps search engines to index your blog better
Don’t overwhelm your site with a plethora of plugins. Choose them wisely so that it enhances your site and gives visitors a reason to come back for more.
#2 Optimize Your Images
Adding visuals to your website increases engagement and keeps visitors on your page longer, both key elements to improving SEO ranking. In fact, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without corresponding images (Source: Hubspot). So visuals enrich the experience and have an impact on visibility. With that said, however, images tend to bog down page load speeds because of their relatively large size.
You can easily fix this by optimizing your images before uploading them to your site. Either “save them for the web” when utilizing image editing tools or use plugins like WP Smush.it that optimizes JPEG images.
#3 Use a Content Delivery Network
The use of Content Delivery Networks (CDN) has increased dramatically in the past several years. Rather than hosting your site using a traditional single server or data center, a CDN allows you to distribute files over multiple servers all over the world.
CDNs take the heavy lifting away from your hosting company by storing your static content (i.e. images, CSS, and JS files) on all of these servers and networks.
This tip alone will significantly improve your page loading times. Popular CDNs to research include MaxCDN, Amazon CloudFront, and CloudFlare which pricing it typically based on bandwidth speeds.
One last trick to mention is ensuring that you’re choosing the right hosting plan that meets the demands of your business. Especially as you grow in web presence, brand awareness, and increase traffic, you want to make sure that your hosting is growing along with your business, so your website performance remains intact.
Using these tips will help to optimize your WordPress website to improve user’s experience with your content. The more proactive you are in keeping your site running smoothly, the more engaged and receptive your readers will be to your brand and content.