Making a site with WordPress is easy. However, making it rank high in search results of Google is not that easy. There are hundreds of factors that affect the ranking of a site in Google’s search results; some are internal, and some are external.
The art of manipulating those factors to achieve a better ranking in search results is called Search Engine Optimization. And in this art, there are few factors that matter as much as your site’s loading speed. If your site is slow to load, you may find that all your other SEO efforts do not yield the best possible results. You can also not optimize the speed of your site in one day or one simple step, because it requires going through a series of steps and procedures.
But do not worry - we have got you covered. We are going to share with you the seven different methods that are the reasons why your WordPress site is slow and corresponding methods that can be implemented to boost your WordPress website speed.
So, without taking any more time, let us dive straight into them!
#1. Too many external elements
If there are too many elements on a page loading from external sources, that may also be a reason behind your site’s slow loading speed. All those widgets, images loading from external URLs and multimedia content hosted on YouTube and other social media platforms collectively add up to the number of HTTP requests on your webpages. They may slow down your site if there are too many of them.
You can easily check all the requests made by any web page on your site by using the Developer Tools included in Google Chrome. Just load the page and right-click anywhere on the page, then select the ‘Inspect’ option. In the panel that appears next, select the Network tab. All the HTTP requests made by your site will be listed under this tab. You can also see them in real-time by refreshing the page. Reduce the number of external requests either by locally hosting the content on your server, or by replacing/eliminating it if not necessary.
#3. No CDN
If you are getting a lot of traffic, it is important to configure a Content Delivery Network (or CDN, as they are popularly known) to ensure that your site loads quickly. However, if you have still not configured it then it may be a key reason why your site loads slowly. A CDN boosts your site speed by hosting copies of your site in various server locations and then serving them from a closest location to your visitors. In the process it cuts downloading time of your site by reducing the distance that data needs to travel. Therefore, you should consider integrating it with your WordPress site.
#4. No SSL
While the primary role of an SSL certificate is related to the security of your site, it can also affect the loading speed of your webpages. You may find it strange, but there is a technical reason behind it. You may know already that SSL makes your site load over HTTPS instead of the default HTTP protocol. Now, HTTPS has been built on HTTP/2, which is the latest version of HTTP and therefore faster than the original HTTP protocol. As a result, when your site loads over HTTPS, it loads faster than it would on HTTP.
In addition to that, if your site is over HTTPS it can also take advantage of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology that makes web pages load even faster on mobile devices. Therefore, you must install a SSL certificate on your server.
#5. Problems with your hosting provider
A problematic hosting provider can also become the speed breaker of your site. Servers of an unreliable hosting company can be slow to load because of outdated hardware and software. In the worst-case scenario they may also crash because your site (or someone else’s site if it’s hosted on the same server) experienced a surge in traffic. Therefore, it is important that you host your site on the servers of a reliable and reputed hosting company.
#6. Unoptimized images
Unoptimized images are another reason why your site may be slow and sluggish to load. Images that are large should be compressed, and if there are too many images in your pages then special features like lazy loading should be implemented to ensure that your site loads swiftly. Fortunately, it is not difficult to implement any of these features and plugins are available to help with all of them. Plugins like Smush, Imagify and WP Optimize can help you with all these tasks.
#7. Old or outdated PHP
Finally, an old and outdated version of PHP may also be problematic for your site’s loading speed. In case you don’t know, PHP is the language in which WordPress has been coded, and from time to time a new version of PHP is released by its developers to boost the performance and security of this robust coding language. As new versions of PHP become available, it’s important for you to update the PHP installation on your server as well to ensure that your site is using the latest version for fast loading speed, better stability and improved security. Finding out when a new version of PHP is available is easy - you get a notification about it in your WordPress dashboard whenever it is available.
A fast loading website is no longer a choice - it is a necessity. Fast loading sites are not only liked by users but also by Google, which rewards them in search rankings. That’s why every website owner needs to optimize the speed of their site. The methods given above will help you with this task, and hopefully you will be able to make your WordPress website speed significantly faster by implementing some or all of them. So, give them a try and share your thoughts in the comments.