Does your website seem like it takes forever to load?
A lot of site speed comes with how a website is built. Heavy premium themes, even ones like Divi and Elementor, add a lot of code weight to your website and functionality that you don’t need. That can in turn make your site super slow to load.
In fact, you’ve only got about 3 seconds for your website to load before your target audience will go elsewhere.
So how do you get there? Let me walk you through a few easy steps.
Caching is Your Friend
Have you ever heard of caching? It’s basically the process of saving your website at a certain point and serving that saved version instead of pulling fresh files every time. This can significantly increase how fast a site loads because it’s working off a version already half loaded. It reduces server response time because it doesn’t have to look and load all of those files completely, thus speeding up your site.
Many WordPress hosts offer some sort of caching service, so check with their support to see what you have before you proceed to the next step.
If you don’t have any caching on your hosting plan or your website is still slow, you might see some help from a caching plugin. If you’re using the Divi theme, they actually have their own caching plugin called Divi Rocket.
If you’re using something else, three high-rated plugins are:
All of these plugins are pretty user friendly and will allow you to get caching started with just a few clicks. WP Rocket is a premium plugin, which means it has an annual fee, but it includes image optimization and other items that make it worth it.
Just note that with a caching plugin installed, if you make changes to your website down the line, you may have to clear the cache to see your changes. Most will refresh cache within 24 hours.
Optimize Your Images
One of the first things that will slow down your site? Images that aren’t properly optimized. I actually wrote a whole blog to walk you through optimizing images. If you follow those steps, you’ll be a lot further ahead.
But what if you need to have larger images on your website or you want to optimize a bunch of images you’ve already loaded? You can use a plugin that bulk optimizes images, then automatically optimizes them as you load more into your site! So much easier! While there’s a lot to choose from, my personal favorite is EWWW Image Optimizer.
Get Rid of Unused Plugins
One thing that can often happen is that over time, you install plugins that maybe you’re not even using. Perhaps you added it to do a quick task or test it out, but decided you didn’t want to use it after all.
Deactivate and delete that! The last thing you want is to have 30 plugins installed in your website when you’re only using 15 of them. All that extra code drains on your resources, making calls to your server that are unnecessary and slows down your website even further.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re using plugins and what can be removed, don’t be afraid to reach out and have a web developer help.
Choose the Right Website Host
Whatever you do above, nothing will help like having your website live in the best possible environment. Imagine a long-distance runner training for an ultra marathon is living in a house where they’re constantly inhaling second-hand smoke. Are they going to be in their best shape for that marathon? Probably not.
Your website is similar. Without the right environment in which to thrive, it’s not going to load quickly no matter what you do. Stay away from budget hosts when you can and choose one that’s higher quality. If you’re not sure what to look for, I walk you through choosing a website host in a previous article.
But in short, you’ll want to make sure you choose a host that offers fast server response time, some kind of caching, and touts how fast your website will load.
Speeding Up WordPress
The great thing about WordPress is that it’s truly built for speed. It’s everything that we do to customize it that can bring that site speed down. But if you work within the parameters and follow some basic steps, you can get your website to load quicker.
Remember, no one likes waiting for a page to load. So before you upload those gallery images or make a bunch of changes, check into the steps above to improve your site speed. And hey, site speed can help improve where you rank on Google, too, so it’s definitely not something to neglect.