Your WordPress blog is slow and you have no idea what to do! Do you really have to hire someone? Should you switch hosts? What could the reason possibly be? Websites can experience slow downs over time, just like your own computer or laptop. That doesn’t’ mean you have to sit back an accept it! Remember, site speed is important to keep those visitors on your site and for your search engine rankings, so it’s imperative you do what you can to keep your blog running fast!
Why do WordPress sites run slow?
There can be several reasons your site is running slow. Some might be beyond your control but most aren’t! You can take actionable steps, without hiring anyone or spending any money to speed up your site.
Your Plugins – Plugins are great! So useful! But they can also slow down your site. Using too many plugins can slow down your site, specific plugins may also slow down your site.
Your Theme – Not all themes are created equal! The quality of the code will determine how fast a site is. A well coded site will be created to keep your site speed high. Some themes are bloated with features and code that can slow your site down!
Your Servers/Host – Yes, your host will play a role in your blog’s speed! If you are on shared hosting you can experience slowdowns. This usually isn’t a problem with small blogs, but it can be a huge problem with big blogs!
Your Images – Images are great! But not when they take forever to load. Well optimized images are a must!
How can you speed up your site?
#1 Optimize your Images
To optimize your images for the web you need to do two things: resize them and compress them. Most of the images you take with your digital camera or even cell phone these day are huge! You don’t need to have full sized 3000px by 2000px images on your site. A good size is something more like 1500px by 1000px or so. You should also save your images in the correct format. JPG should be the image format of choice unless you need specific options of .gif or .png file types (transparent backgrounds or movement).
Protip: Using Canva? Select the “save for internet” option to get a smaller .jpg file instead of a larger .png.
#2 Themes & Code
#3 Your Host
Not all hosts are created equal. I have had many issues with GoDaddy sites running slow, even on the higher level plans. As a result I would highly suggest moving hosts to someone better. You can also run into an issue on shared hosting where you might just happen to have heavy traffic at the same time as other sites on your shared server, this means everyone is slowed (or maybe you just have a very traffic heavy site on your server that slows it down, and therefore your blog down) you can contact your host to see if this is the case and if they can switch your site to a different server. If your blog gets high traffic, you will want to move from shared hosting to something that can handle your traffic levels. Talk to your host to see what they recommend, then talk to a few more to get a second opinion.
What host do I recommend?
*The following links are affiliate links. If you purchase using these links I’ll get a bit of monetary compensation.
Interested in Managed WordPress Hosting? Read this first!
Plugins can slow blogs down. Too many plugins can also slow down your blog. As a general rule try to limit your plugins to only those that are essential. If you can do something with code or without using a plugin you should consider going that route, as well as condensing plugins into one. For example using Jetpack for social shares, related posts, CDN, and extra widgets is better than using individual plugins for each of those tasks. Not sure if your plugins are causing problems? Run the P3 Plugin Profiler to test your plugins and find out if they are slowing down your site. If you have plugins you are no longer using be sure to delete them. Don’t just disable them, get rid of them entirely!
#5 Cache Plugin
Cache plugins can significantly speed up your site! You really need to have one installed and activated. They help speed up your site by using a browser’s cache ability to save on the amount of data your blog sends to your visitors. It will only send your visitors new data that has been updated since the last time they went to your blog.
Which do I recommend? Find out here.
Use a CDN, or content delivery network. Basically this will help take some of the load off your sever by using third-party servers like Amazon or whoever you are using to serve your images and other static assets on your blog. Most are paid options with a monthly fee, however, if you use the Jetpack plugin there is an option to use WordPress.com to server your images. It’s completely free and will help speed up your site.
#7 Clean Up Your Files
Do you use your hosting space for saving files that may or may not be related to your blog? Do you have several old, outdated, neglected and forgotten sites also sitting around on your server space? Get rid of it. Use Dropbox or Google Drive for your file sharing or backup needs! All those extra files can slow down your server and make your blog run slowly!
#8 Clean Up Your Database
Overtime your blog’s database may get cluttered with junk. This can take the form of post revisions, spam comments. Either way they are taking up valuable space that could be used for something else or not at all! Try a plugin like WP-Optimize to clean up your blog’s database.
#9 Get Personalized Suggestions
You don’t have to hire anyone to tell you why your site is slow! There are several free tools you can use that will tell you exactly what the issue is and make suggestions to help you improve it. If you are using Google Analytics you already have access to site speed recommendations. Alternately, Quick Sprout, also provides this information as well as tons of useful info on how good your SEO is and how you can improve it!
#10 Clean House
Do you have draft posts you’ll never write? Images you will never use? Get rid of it. Go through and delete all the old, outdated files that you are no longer using. All those drafts, files, and images take up space on your server and in your database, free up that space to speed up your site.