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How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site: A Step-by-step Guide

 

(December 7, 2020)--Slow-loading websites are the source of many negative emotions of the customers, which directly affects the effectiveness of your WordPress site. After all, site speed affects not only the position in the search results but also the usability and user experience. Therefore, many webmasters would like to improve the loading speed of their sites, but most of them do not have enough technical knowledge and experience. If this story is familiar to you, then this detailed speed-optimization guide will be useful for you.

How to Reduce the Loading Time of the Website?

What happens when a user clicks on a link to your site? Before he or she opens it, the browser sends a request for that page to your server and completely downloads it. This means that if you have a “heavy” site, then it will take more time to load and display the page for the browser. In such a case, you could either ask the beetroot.co team for help or take a few steps to optimize the website loading speed yourself.

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1) Check the WP Theme of the Site

Regularly check your site’s theme design for unnecessary elements and remove them. It makes no sense to fill the side menu with a lot of information - the user is only interested in the content. Here are some of the items you can remove:

  • Extra visual effects (sliding, animations, etc.).
  • Various widgets in the side menu.
  • Advertising (if there is too much of it on the site). In some cases, you can earn more with fewer ads.

2) Delete Unnecessary Plugins

There are two main types of WordPress plugins: the first type only affects the admin area, and the second allows you to add content on the site. As for the second type, such plugins are always accompanied by additional Javascript and CSS files that affect site loading speed. Look at the list of plugins and disable any that are no longer in use. If the plugin has not been updated for a long time, then you can look for alternative options that can do this job more efficiently.

3) Reduce the Size of HTML, CSS, and Javascript Files

There are two ways to reduce the overall site size:

  • to merge different styles and Javascript files;
  • to reduce the size of the files.

In this case, reducing means removing unnecessary spaces, comments, and combining numerous duplicate codes into one. For this purpose, you can use the W3 Total Cache plugin.

4)     Optimize Images

As a rule, images take the most space on the site, so it is very important to optimize them and try to reduce the size of such files as much as possible. WP Smush.it is a great plugin that optimizes images when they are uploaded to the site. Besides, there is an option to optimize all previously uploaded images in one step.

Finally, here is a list of methods that can also help you increase the site’s loading speed:

  • Add caching;
  • Switch to jquery from Google;
  • Use Javascript lazy loading;
  • Utilize asynchronous Javascript;
  • Use CDN.

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List of Useful Plugins That Will Help Speed up a WP Site

If you are ready to take all the above steps, here are the plugins that will do all the work described above for you:

1.      W3 Total Cache

What makes this plugin special is the caching module. Just enable the “Page Cache” module in the “General Settings” section. Scroll down the page to the “Browser Cache” section and activate it. These settings will apply to both browser and site cache. The page cache is just static HTML that will be saved instead of the dynamic PHP page. The browser cache will save it for future visits by users.

2.      WP Deferred Script

Most Javascript files block fast content loading. This phenomenon is also known as synchronous loading. One of the ways to combat this feature is to place Javascript files at the bottom of the page. In this case, they will be loaded only after the content download is complete (asynchronous loading).

3.      Jetpack Photon

Another good way to increase speed is to download all images via CDN. If you already have this plugin installed, activate the Photon module, which will automatically enable the CDN for images on your site.

If you follow all the above steps, the site will run faster than before, even if you are using shared hosting. Enjoy!

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