WordPress How to Guide for Slow Page Load

How To Speed Up WordPress

We finally get our WordPress blog or website working, and make that first blog post, then we realize that it loads so slow!
Well there are so many reasons for slow page speed loading.  I know it can be frustrating or even downright aggravating.

I’ll list the top reasons and some really easy solutions for fixing the lagging page load that anyone can do.

According to Kissmetrics, for every single second of delay in page loading time, the conversion decrease is increased by seven percent!  That is significant.

Research shows that 42 percent of people have an expectation that a page will load in under 2 seconds.  That is reasonable, and I know that for myself, I would like it almost instantaneously.

Something that is more interesting, and in some ways expected, the abandonment rate is 40 percent if it takes longer than 3 seconds for that page to load!  Wow! That is a short attention span!

The bottom line is that indeed speed does indeed matter.  The great aspect of WordPress is that these are easy fixes, and in most cases will get you a fast page load speed.

Helpful tip: If you wanting to get a test of the page load speed, check out the Pingdom Website Speed Test.

Test the Installed Plugins

The first thing that we need to check is to make sure things are set correctly on the WordPress dashboard.
This includes having the correct plugins installed and checking that we don’t have too many extra plugins that we don’t need or use.  You need to understand that more plugins means more WordPress server load time.
Also, the fact that unless you are on top of the plugins, you might run into a situation where the plugin is not compatible with the version of WordPress that you are using.

Some plugins are just not updated in time with the WordPress updates.

So what can you do?

  1. Uninstall all unused plugins.  That is a one of the first items to do.  Just do some research and look up the plugin that you installed to see if it’s been updated
  2. Make sure that the most important plugins are installed.  I’ll provide a quick list of the ones that I use and find of high quality.

Hosting providers do matter!

It is really surprising how much difference in page loading speed the choice of hosting provider really makes.

Some things to keep in mind.  Hosting of a WordPress site is quite different than a simple HTML static page.   There are server resources that most likely are a shared item that must be balanced amongst the users of that server.  Many times the servers used by hosting providers are run as virtual slice and must share the resources of that server box.  This includes CPU time, memory and disk space.  Some have the resources to have less shared resources (Less WordPress sites) per server box.  Those typically are the larger hosting providers.

My experience is that some hosting providers such as:GoDaddy

  1. GoDaddy
  2. InMotion Hosting
  3. HostNine
  4. Dreamhost

Have great service and speed.  It’s important to find out about technical support.  The time will come when something really goes wrong with the WordPress installation and updates and that call will need to be made.

How To Choose A Fast WordPress Theme

This can be a tricky part of speeding up WordPress.  Most writers and editors on WP are not developers and lack PHP programming understanding.  To this avail, it’s necessary to follow some basic guidelines in choosing a theme that gives the balance of performance with features and speed by optimized code.

First step is to understand that you need to plan out the content and audience of the blog.  This will go far in helping to determine what features you need out of the theme.  Keep in mind that you should not go out and purchase a theme based on the notion that a do it all multi-purpose theme will fit the need.  This will not be the most optimized theme and most likely will cost you in performance.  Keep in mind that most of the optimization will be with the choice of plugins.  So start out with a baseline lean theme and customize as you see fit.

It all comes down to the complexity based on the requests made of the hosting server that determines the page load time.  Things like related posts and widget sliders all add up to making a theme full featured and thus in many ways slower to load.  There will be trade-offs in the decision for the proper theme.  If you want super featured design with all the bells and whistles, the performance of your site will most likely suffer a bit.  I believe that part of the decision of the features will be based on the goals of the blog/site and the possible future feature set you need.  It’s all about planning and balancing.


Do you have many Post Revisions?  You need this!

If you are like me, you end up making dozens of revisions of a post before you finally hit that button to Publish.  One of the factors that we don’t think about is that all of these revisions are stored on the server.

The database that houses all this content is designed to serve up the data efficiently and in most cases (unless you have a super huge blog) the amount of time it takes to get that data to the wordpress script is insignificant.

But we are here to help speed things up and optimize… so that being the case, let’s control how many versions we are storing of the revisions.  Do we really need to save 15+ revisions of a post?  Unless you work as a team on a post or article, it’s just not necessary.  There are some good plugin tools to help manage those revisions.  Let’s talk about WP Revisions Control Plugin

Just search and install.  Go to the Settings and mark how many revisions you find comfortable in keeping.

CDN – Content Delivery Networks

This is a more advanced need for blogs that are really needing to speed up the delivery of the content and assets (images) in a more geographically diverse range.  If you are a blogger from say the United States but find that most of your subscribers and visitors are from Asia, as a result, you might need to up the delivery by use of the CDN.  Typically a CDN will have many servers (network) located in various global locations.  Try to choose a CDN that has the options that might be closest to where you have the most visitors.

Some good choices:

  1. MaxCDN
  2. CloudFlare
  3. 5CentsCDN

There are many others but these are some good ones that I have used and can say that seem to be pretty good.

WordPress Image Optimization – Get control of the Image Sizes!

By default, when you upload an image in WordPress, it will create different size files.  These images are saved in the uploads folder and viewable under Media Library from within the dashboard.  Take as an example example you upload a YouTube Thumbnail size image (resolution of 1280×720) for a post.  You really only need this as a constraints 640×360.  WordPress by default will only give you 3 standard sizes to insert into the post.  This just won’t give you sufficient options.  Consequently because of this limitation, it is of utmost importance that you get full control of all aspects of images and other media.

Using the wrong size and compression takes up valuable bandwidth which will lead to slower site response and lower Google page ranking.  These changes will in turn help in optimizing the delivery of the images use a plugin that will compress the file sizes.   Some good choices that I have used:

  1. EWWW Image Optimizer
  2. WP Smush
  3. CW Image Optimizer

The topic of Image Optimization is a rather deep and more complicated topic.  I will delve into with a future article.  For know, just know that having a focus on image and media is ultimately important.

Well that’s it for now.  Sign up on my email list to keep informed about all the latest.



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