How to improve your slow WordPress site

How to improve your slow WordPress site or WordPress blog? In this post I am going to show you how to do it . Trust me, it is easy and you don’t need any coding knowledge.

If you are reading this post, you know that Google loves fast loading times and from May 2021, Google will also be paying special attention to the Core Web Vitals of your website or blog.

Now you may be wondering: what do I do first? The loading time or the Core Web Vitals?

Let me tell you that you don’t have to worry about it. If you improve the loading time of your website or blog, you will also be improving its Core Web Vitals.

It is a win-win situation.

Note: this review contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you end up signing up to Cloudways, GeneratePress, Schema Theme or WP Rocket, at no extra cost to you.

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Do you need to know coding to know how to improve your slow WordPress site?

No, you don’t need to know coding to know how to improve your slow WordPress site.

I am not a developer so I don’t know how to code. All the work that I have done on my blog to improve the loading time was with the help of plugins and the right hosting solution.

Right now, the loading time of my blog is 0.9 seconds and all the Core Web Vitals are green.

the technology savvy loading time gt metrix

What I am going to show you is the step by step process that I did to improve the loading time of my blog. I with share with you all my knowledge to know how to improve your slow WordPress site

Also, I want to tell you that I have already written the complete reviews of all the plugins that I use and in those posts you will find my complete setup and how to do it.

How to Speed Up WordPress Performance (UPDATED)

The blueprint to know how to improve your slow WordPress site is:

Choose the right hosting solution for your website or blog

The first and most important part to know how to improve your slow WordPress site is to choose the right hosting solution for your WordPress website or WordPress blog.

My recommendation is to choose a cloud hosting solution for your WordPress website or WordPress blog.

A cloud hosting solution gives your website or blog fast loading times  from the very beginning.

If you want to know what a cloud hosting solution is, you can read this post: Shared Hosting vs Cloud Hosting: 1 winner.

My recommendation for a cloud hosting solution is Cloudways.

Cloudways is perfect for non-developers because the installation is just a couple of clicks.

Now, with Cloudways, you have five hosting solutions to choose from.

Right now I am using Cloudways with Digital Ocean, and I am happy with that.

You can read my complete review and setup about Cloudways in this post: A Cloudways Review. 6 reasons to use the best hosting service.

The first step to know How to improve your slow WordPress site is choosing the perfect hosting solution.

Pick the right theme for your website or blog

The second step to know How to improve your slow WordPress site is to pick the theme for your blog or website.

The theme for your website or blog must help you with the loading time and with search engine optimization.

That is why it is important for you to see all the details of the theme that you want to pick for your website or blog.

The theme that I am using for my blog is the Schema Theme by My Theme Shop.

This is how my blog looks right now:

the technology savvy schema theme my theme shop

This theme is a light theme that helps me with the loading time and with the Core Web Vitals.

You can read the full review about it and my setup of the Schema Theme here: Schema Theme Review: A Fast and SEO Friendly Theme for You.

It is important to choose a light theme because when you upload content to your website or blog, your site will weigh more.

Another theme that I can recommend is the free theme by GeneratePress. That theme will help you with both the loading time and the Core Web Vitals for your blog.

You must choose the theme for your website or blog wisely.

Well, you can tell me: why not use a WordPress website builder?

Because a WordPress website builder will hurt the loading time for your website or blog.

You have to know that the main purpose of a WordPress website builder is to give you a pretty site and be super easy for you to use it. I think every WordPress website builder is drag and drop.

For that reason, when you build a website with a WordPress website builder, your site is fully loaded with unnecessary CSS and JavaScript code.

The CSS and JavaScript code is what makes your website look pretty but it hurts the loading time.

My advice for now is to not use WordPress website builders to create a whole website or a whole blog.

For now, you can use it to create specific landing pages for your Facebook Ads campaigns or Google Ads campaigns.

Choosing the right theme for your website or blog is important to know how to improve your slow WordPress site.

You will need a content delivery network (CDN)

An important step to know how to improve your slow WordPress site is the CDN

I want to explain very simply what a content delivery network is.

Imagine that you have your website hosting in New York. If a visitor is in Sydney, Australia, the loading time of your website could be more than 3 seconds.

What a content delivery network does is distribute your content across several servers globally.

So when your visitor from Sydney, Australia finds your site in the search engines and clicks it, the content will come to the visitor from the nearest server, so the loading time will be faster.

Right now I am using Bunny CDN. Bunny CDN is cheap and fast.

Trust me to choose the right CDN is important to know how to improve your slow WordPress site

You will need WP Rocket

WP Rocket is a cache plugin and is the secret to know how to improve your slow WordPress site.

What is a cache?

A cache is when your browser keeps the data of a web page so the next time you visit that web page the loading time will be faster, because your browser already has the important files for that web page.

So caching is reusing data from previous requests to speed up subsequent requests.

WP Rocket will be in charge of the cache for your WordPress site or blog.

Trust me, WP Rocket is a powerful plugin and will also help you with the performance of your site.

I know that you have to pay to use WP Rocket but trust me, it is worth it.

You can read my complete review of WP Rocket and my setup in this post: WP Rocket Review: The right tool to speed up your site.

WP Rocket is the secret to know how to improve your slow WordPress site

Perfmatters for performance

Perfmatters is a good complement to WP Rocket and will help you with the performance of your website or blog.

Perfmatters is easy to use and has a good amount of options for you to try.

What I did with Perfmatters is test every one of the options to see which one helped the performance of my blog.

So in this complete review of Perfmatters, you will see my setup: Perfmatters review. Make your WordPress site even faster.

You can use my setup as a kick off for yours. I am telling you this because your blog is different to mine.

Choosing the right cache and performance plugin for your website or blog is important to know how to improve your slow WordPress site.

Perfmatters is the other secret to know how to improve your slow WordPress site

Imagify for your images

We are used to exporting the photos that we are going to use in JPEG or PNG. That is good, but Google has a new extension for the photos called WebP.

According to Google, WebP is a modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Using WebP, webmasters and web developers can create smaller, richer images that make the web faster.

If you are using Canva or Photoshop to edit your images, you won’t have the option to export your images in WebP.

What I do is use the Imagify plugin.

Imagify belongs to the same company as WP Rocket.

Imagify is easy to use. You only need to download the plugin and select the best settings for your blog or website.

My settings are:

the technology savvy imagify settings

And I select the option for WebP.

the technology savvy imagify settings webp

My recommendation for you is to use Imagify. Please don’t forget to optimize your images, is an important step to know how to improve your slow WordPress site.

OMGF | Optimize My Google Fonts

All the themes use Google Fonts, and that is good.

But the not-so-good part is that the fonts are in the cloud, so every time a user clicks on your website or blog, the theme makes a call to the cloud to use the fonts.

So, the more calls there are to the cloud, the more the loading time of your website or blog increases.

What OMGF does is host the Google Fonts locally so there won’t be any call to the cloud, and that is good for the loading time of your website or blog.

The good thing about this plugin too is that you only need to install and activate the plugin.

If you see that your theme does not allow OMGF to host the fonts locally, you will need to buy the PRO version.

I am using the PRO version and it is worth it because this plugin is vital to know how to improve your slow WordPress site.

Why is site speed important?

Website speed has never been so important to your WordPress site. This is the case for all businesses, but it’s particularly important for ecommerce websites. 

A few seconds could make the difference between a sale and a lost customer, so, if you have slow WordPress sites, this could be an issue.

Whilst there are many ranking factors to consider, site speed is certainly worth some attention if you’re trying to improve SEO performance. Whilst page load time won’t earn you a top spot in the SERPs on its own, a slow site can hold you back if left unresolved. Again, it all comes down to user experience – search engines favor websites that offer the best experience to visitors. Everything works hand in hand when it comes to SEO – there’s no point writing good quality content if you’re neglecting other primary ranking factors.

Site speed will make a difference when it comes to SEO, both now and in the future, because Google is prioritizing user experience (UX).

WordPress websites are perfect for a good user experience.

WordPress site speed

Before I give you actionable tips on how to improve your loading speed for your WordPress site, let’s look at the factors that slow down your site:

  • Images are the primary cause for reduced loading speeds. Large images in particular take a long time to load.
  • Hosting issues.
  • Plugins, applications, widgets and all third party scripts could reduce your website’s loading speed.
  • Badly optimized themes.
  • Multiple redirects are also impactful in terms of your website’s loading speed.
  • The way your embedded JavaScript codes are written is also an important factor.

If we consider all these to be present on your website then this chain effect will significantly reduce your website’s speed. 

So, these tips are for everybody. You don’t need to learn how to code, but you might want to consider finding a web developer to boost a slow website.

Improving a slow WordPress site

The way to improve your site’s slow performance is by doing the following.

Optimizing JavaScript Codes

You can easily optimize and compress codes or other resources. Familiarizing yourself with the process will help you when you’re compressing the code, but this might get a bit technical.

Imagine having very SEO-friendly content with multiple backlinks, but it not helping improve your Google ranking.

You might suspect that it’s due to your website’s loading speed, but everything looks fine once you run it through a speed test website. In this case it’s best to hire a developer to take a look at your code.

Website optimization sometimes gets a bit tricky, leaving you no other choice than to seek professional help. Similar to how you sought help for SEO, you’ll need the help of a developer to figure out why your website is slow or whether your code is written sloppily.

There may be variables that are not easily detectable or on the surface for someone with no technical expertise. At the same time, there are things you can do to improve your website speed without the need for specialization.

Pay Attention to How Fast Google Ads Load

If you run ads on your website then it’s worth noting that it may also reduce your website speed to a certain degree, but obviously since it contributes to your income it is essential.

Loading an ad on a badly optimized website could add around five seconds at most to your total loading time.

To solve this you could ask the hosting provider you use for your ads to make some changes in how their ads are displayed. Or, you could use Lazy Load plugin. This way ads will only show once the user scrolls near them.

Reduce the Number of Redirects

Redirecting to external sources would slow the loading process. This will increase the amount of time it takes for the user to load your website.

One way you could reduce the number of redirects is to shorten your URLs and not use HTTPS or WWW in the link. This move prevents the redirects from chaining together.

Choose the Right Image Resolution

“Most admins unfamiliar with these principles simply copy an image from Unsplash and upload it on their website.

These kinds of images usually have a higher resolution than what is needed on your website; probably fit for printing even. Their resolution is 300 DPI so keep in mind that you only need 72 DPI when uploading images on a website.”

If you use an image that acts as your website banner, it doesn’t need to be any more than 1500 pixels or higher than 72 in terms of resolution. If you upload a 300 DPI image it will be around 4000 pixels, and that’s when your website speed will go down.

Once you’ve optimized all your website’s images, you’ve most likely freed up a significant amount of space while also having increased your website’s speed.

Choose a certain resolution for your images in different sections and stay consistent with it. There are different tools you could utilize to change your image size, from Photoshop to GIMP. It’s worth noting that GIMP is free to use.

Sources for Downloading Suitable Images

Very often you can choose the size of the image you’re about to download. I recommend downloading the web version, or at least downloading the largest one and then saving it as WebP .

Choose the Right Image Format

The format of your images has a direct impact on how long it would take to load.

When downloading an image from Shutterstock, you can choose the web version, which has a 72 DPI resolution rather than the standard 300 DPI, or you can reduce their DPIs and image sizes if your image is sourced elsewhere.

Make sure the image format is in PNG or JPEG. This will help speed up WordPress.

The format of your website’s photos is important.

Remove Unnecessary Slides, Videos & Images

Another option to speed up WordPress would be to remove images and videos that you deem unnecessary from key pages.

These elements increase the time it takes to load the first meaningful color pixel (the amount of time it takes for the content in the first section of your website to load), so you can bypass this by simply removing them and significantly improving your website’s speed.

An efficient way to do this is to take a look at all your images and remove the ones that aren’t necessary. A great tool for this purpose is SEMrush, which analyzes your website’s status.

This website provides a great overview on possible issues with your website and suggests unnecessary media that needs to be removed.

WordPress is the perfect platform for those who are not as hands-on when it comes to improving their website speed.

Every little thing contributes to it, from image compression to having a theme with neatly written code. This is because there are also themes that are incredibly hard to use.

These will run numerous scripts and fonts and requests that create issues when you try to load the website.

Make sure you choose a theme that doesn’t take up much space, and also ask your web developer to use code specific to your needs. Even though this might end up costing more it will be worth it since your website will load faster in the long run.

It is worth noting that public themes commonly found on WordPress come with loads of features that you might never use.

All of those unnecessary features slow down your website speed and decrease the server response time. So try not to use free themes, or if you do you should turn off the unnecessary widgets.

Let’s talk more about the hosting solution because you need to know what managed WordPress hosting is.           

What is managed WordPress hosting?

According to Kinsta, a managed WordPress hosting is “a service that comes with a multitude of features and support, to help websites run efficiently, securely and quickly, leaving the technical know-how to the experts, so you can focus on running your business.”

In other words, when you buy this type of hosting you only have to make a few clicks to have your hosting up and running.

If something happens to your hosting you approach the client service to report the failure, and the responsibility is on them to fix it.

Another definition by WPforms says that “managed WordPress hosting is a type of hosting service that provides the most powerful technologies for your WordPress site to make sure your website is both secure and fast.

Such companies take care of the hosting related issues like backups, security checks, updating WordPress, and much more. They also provide premium customer service and solve your problems as quickly as possible.”

To be honest, I don’t use a managed WordPress hosting service. Instead, I use a cloud hosting service and my page load times are good.

A managed WordPress hosting is good for your site speed, but you have to be careful when choosing a good hosting provider.

How to choose a good WordPress hosting service for your blog or site

Choosing a good WordPress hosting service is one of the most important things you need to do for your website or blog.

I know there are a lot of options to choose from, but let’s look at how to choose the best WordPress hosting service for your needs.

According to 10web you should focus on these things when choosing a good WordPress hosting service:

  • Type—you should try to get yourself a managed WordPress hosting solution.
  • Speed—make sure your hosting provider uses all the latest technologies for maximum website speed.
  • Support—a hosting company that provides you with a dedicated customer care team will save you hassle down the road.
  • Additional services—you just can’t afford not to get your hands on a whole bunch of free services that make managing your website a piece of cake.
  • Cost—you really can’t afford to be cheap with such a crucial component for your website, so invest in managed WordPress hosting and save yourself the trouble.

Like I told you before, Google is all about speed and I think it’s an important ranking factor these days.

A good hosting service can boost your WordPress site

I recommend looking for a managed WordPress hosting service in the cloud to get the fastest loading speed for your blog or page.

I know it can be expensive (the cheapest is $10 per month), but it is worth it to have the best performance for your website or blog.

Another thing you need to take into account is the support. 

Now all hosting companies try to have the best support team for their clients, but sometimes that isn’t enough.

What I want to say is that, for example, if you have a technical problem and the person in the customer support team is not a developer, you won’t get the answer to your question.

It’s difficult to hire a developer as part of the customer support team, but in those cases you need to request a developer to answer your question. 

It’s very important that you choose a hosting company that has a good support team. As I said before, hosting companies are prioritizing the support team because providing a good customer experience is very important.

A good hosting provider isn’t cheap. Good hosting companies bill per month. For example, I pay $10 for my hosting and I have a cloud host. It’s not cheap but if you want to make your blog or website look professional, you will need a very good hosting provider. That’s all. You need good hosting if you want to rank in the first positions on Google.

Now you know how to choose a good hosting for your blog or website, but my recommendation as always is a cloud hosting solution because you will still have a good loading time for your site.

Improving a website takes time. If your WordPress site is slow, it might take a month or two months to improve. 

For example, my WordPress site is a blog. It took me two months to learn which plugins to use to speed up my website. It was not an easy task.

I am not a developer, but I watched YouTube videos to find out what to do with my blog.

Use these tips for your blog to make it look professional.

Tips to speed up your WordPress site

Hubspot lists these tips to boost your WordPress site:

  • Run performance tests
  • Choose a reliable hosting provider
  • Update everything
  • Use the latest version of PHP
  • Delete unused plugins
  • Install high-quality plugins only
  • Use a lightweight theme
  • Optimize images
  • Try lazy loading your content
  • Don’t host videos on your server
  • Reduce CSS and JavaScript file sizes
  • Install a WordPress caching plugin
  • Simplify your page designs and content
  • Tidy up your WordPress database
  • Limit or disable post revisions
  • Avoid redirects
  • Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks
  • Use a CDN
  • Compress files with GZIP
  • Limit external scripts
  • Don’t fall victim to hotlinking
  • Schedule tasks for low-traffic periods
  • Split long posts into multiple parts
  • Paginate posts
  • Paginate comments

From these tips I want to talk to you about a mistake many people make which slows your website down.

Don’t host videos on your server

Notice how I didn’t say “videos” above, but “video embeds”.That’s because, out of all the files you could store on your web hosting server, videos are one of the most resource intensive. They consume space and can majorly slow down your page when loaded. Storing even one video on your server can hurt its performance.

Still, videos are a great way to engage visitors, so you shouldn’t ditch them altogether. Instead of putting videos in your media library, use a third-party video hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia. These services handle the storage for you, so all you need to do is place the video on your page with an embedded code. It makes no difference to visitors (they’ll still see the same video), but your user experience will greatly improve.

Simplify your page design and content

Here’s a tip that applies to any website—if you want to reduce loading time, provide less content for browsers to load. In other words, simplify your design.

Over the last ten years or so, web design has seen a push toward more minimal designs. This makes sense for several reasons, including the fact that simpler pages consume fewer resources and will load more quickly across browsers.

Minimal web pages are also better for UX, since they’re less likely to overwhelm visitors, compared to the cluttered designs that were once popular. Plus, simple pages are much easier to make responsive, meaning the page looks good across many different screen sizes, from desktop monitors to smartphones.

Starting with your homepage, take some time to evaluate the content on each of your pages, and trim anything that isn’t absolutely essential. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve invested a lot in your current design, but it can make a noticeable difference in performance.

Tidy up your WordPress database

If you’ve had your WordPress site for a while, chances are you’ve accumulated some old, unused files in your database. These files might be comment spam, leftover data from unused themes and plugins, old users, unpublished content, and old media, all of which take up valuable storage space and make for unnecessary loading for your server.

Plugins like WP Optimize and Advanced Database Cleaner will conduct an audit of your files and scrap any non-essentials. This is a much faster and safer alternative to deleting the files off your server yourself. It’s also safe to manually delete unused media files directly in your WordPress media library.

Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks

Pingbacks and trackbacks are two WordPress technologies that alert external websites when you link to them in your site’s content.

For example, if your blog post contains a link to hubspot.com, you can configure WordPress to notify the owners of hubspot.com that you’ve linked to their website. This also works the other way around—if someone links to your site, you can be notified.

Pingbacks and trackbacks can be great for marketing efforts, since you’re letting other sites know that you value their content, and you may receive backlinks in return.

Even so, many WordPress experts agree that the cons outweigh the pros here. Namely, they use server resources unnecessarily and open the door for spammers and DDoS attacks. If you want to track backlinks, you can do so with an external analysis tool, and there are plenty of other effective methods to earn backlinks to your site.

Long story short, I recommend you disable pingbacks and trackbacks. To do so, go to Settings > Discussion in your dashboard and uncheck the first two options, Attempt to notify… and Allow link notifications…

Conclusions for how to improve your slow WordPress site

As you can see I keep everything simple to know how to improve your slow WordPress site.

For me, the most important thing is that you choose the right hosting solution for your website or blog.

If you want a fast loading time your blog must be in the cloud.

Also, choose a good theme for your blog or website, don’t use a website builder; for me that is a mistake.

If you are going to hire a developer, tell the developer to keep your website light and that you can update your WordPress website with the latest version of the CMS.

If your developer tells you that you don’t have to update your website with the latest version of WordPress, that is wrong.

And above all keep everything simple. You just need a good theme and a cloud hosting solution to start blogging.

Then you can test which plugins are best suited for your needs.

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