As with all modern websites there is a great emphasis placed on the amount of time taken for a given website to load up, internet users are busier than ever and only the most attractive and quick to load websites reign supreme! It is therefore extremely important to take measures to ensure that your website is loading up in the smallest amount of time possible. Fortunately there are many ways to achieve this so I have selected 5 very simple ways that we use here at Peters Web HQ: -
(To give an example of how well these steps work we recently worked with a client who's website was loading up in around 5 seconds, according to GTmetrix this measured at a low grade (F). Using the simple steps stated below we reduced the load time to just over a second (resulting in a revised GTmetrix grade of A))
1) Use W3 Total Cache - When thinking of the steps we would use for speed/optimisation this one came to mind first off, 'W3 Total Cache' is a free plugin you can add via the plugin section (Wordpress admin area) which has a variety of options available to enable caching and various methods of optimisation - to give an example one of the toggle options allows you to enable 'http/2' push, http/2 push anticipates what files you will ask for along with the original web page request thus reduces the amount of respond/request between the web browser and the web server. When the 'W3' plugin is used correctly it can have the largest effect in terms of the performance of your website. For more information about caching please see our post here.
2) Use Cloudflare - Cloudflare is another free resource that is well worth looking into to help you further streamline your WordPress site. Cloudflare is a reverse proxy and also acts as a content delivery network, you can find more in depth information regarding Cloudflare here. I have placed an example below of a page rule that can be applied within Cloudflare: -
https://example.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/*, Browser Cache TTL: 3 days, Cache Level: Cache Everything, Edge Cache TTL: a month
The above rule states to Cloudflare - "hey you know all of those pretty uploads I have, would you mind holding onto a copy of them for me for a month?" at the same time Cloudflare communicates to the browser something along the lines of "will you keep these pretty images I have here for 3 days?". This operation will dramatically decrease the time it takes to load the affected content as the content can be loaded from the Cloudflare network rather than having to trace the content from the original server. You can think of this another way - if you need something from a particular store but the nearest one was across the other side of the city where you live, every time you wanted to buy something you had to travel quite a distance to get it thus taking a lot of time up. Then a new store opened just around the corner from you and had everything you needed from the original store. You start using the new store and your shopping trip becomes much quicker - this is a loose analogy but roughly explains how Cloudfare works!
3) Lazy load your images - Make images that appear above the fold line a priority when loading the page, images below the fold line are only loaded after the images above the line have completed loading - you can do this by installing 'Lazy Load' by WP Rocket
4) Compress your images - To save on server space and to allow images to load more quickly you can make images smaller, or render them at a lower resolution. Use this method with care as its best to have images or graphics that are in important places (e.g your homepage) to be of as a high a quality as possible. I would advise using this method on images that are placed in other areas of your website - basically areas where the quality of the image can be slightly compromised to allow the page to load up faster.
5) Keep WordPress up to date - As with all software and plugins its best to keep up to date with the latest version that is available to you. This not only protects you in terms of security but provides you with updated versions that may have amendments made to the original coding - fixing any bugs etc that were present in the previous version.
The suggestions we have made above are by no means exhaustive, they are some of the quick and easy methods we use when using Wordpress and seem to have worked well for us in the past! As always please feel free to get in touch with us should you like any more information on this topic. You can contact us by launching a support ticket with our hosting department here - (open a ticket).