With patience at an all-time low for internet browsers, a fast WordPress site is the first step to a successful blog. No matter how great your content, how captivating your photos galleries, or how witty your “about” page copy, if your site runs slow people will turn away before they make it through the virtual door. Fortunately, your WordPress site can easily be tweaked to run faster. Here are some tips for a speedy WordPress site.
Tip #1: Look at your Hosting
Most bloggers don’t need much bandwidth when they first start out and it is easy to opt for share hosting to save money. However, as your traffic grows and your website starts to see large influxes of visitors from social networking sites and more, you may need to consider upgrading to a host that offers faster and more reliable hosting. It may cost more, but the money is worth it because it will help you keep all your new visitors coming back for more great content on your blog.
Tip #2: Plugin the Cache
A cache is simply a place where something is stored. This can be a pile of nuts stored by a squirrel, or data from the internet stored on your computer. A cache plugin installed on your WordPress site will allow visitors’ computers to store information, such as the photo for a certain page, so that if they revisit that site, without clearing their cache, the photo will not have to be retrieved from your far away host and will therefore appear faster. A good cache plugin, W3 Total Cache, is often recommended and will greatly speed up your WordPress site.
Tip #3: Consider Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is when an image or other content will only load on a page when it is in view by the reader. For example, a photo on a blog post will load when it is on the reader’s screen, but all the photos that are further down will not load until the reader has scrolled down to where he or she can see them. There are plugins which will activate this feature on your WordPress site.
Tip #4: Trim the Front Page
Most visitors will enter your blog via the homepage making it important that this landing page runs fast and impeccably every time. One way to do this is by adjusting the WordPress settings to indicate you only want 5-7 posts to show up on the first page (or less depending on your preferences). While it is possible to have upwards of one hundred posts on your home page, it just isn’t necessary and will slow your site down.
Tip #5: Question your Theme
If you have tried a bunch of plugins and adjusted your WordPress settings but your site still is running more slowly than you’d like, your problem might be your theme. Not all themes are created equal. Clean and tight coding, proper use of style sheets, and more are all necessary for a theme which runs efficiently and reliably. The default WordPress theme is actually a great theme for people who want a fast theme, but if you are looking for something a little more unique you can hire a professional to customize your theme to look good and run fast or just search around the web for a prepared theme with good reviews for speed.