If you've been paying attention to search engine optimization news over the past year you've surely heard that website speed is an important ranking factor. This is especially true for Google, and since Google is such a huge traffic source we want to be sure to please it (in a technical way). If you're looking for a Wordpress speed up solution...I have 7 of them for you! These 7 steps can be implemented with very little time and effort on your part, but they will have a huge impact on the amount of time it takes your site to load. I've used these 7 steps to get some of my blogs to load in as little as 1.2 seconds. That's fast!! Links to all of the plugins I mention can be found in the resource box at the end of the article. Let's begin.
You'll want to remove any plugins that you're not currently using. If you've owned your blog for a while like me you might be surprised how many useless plugins you have installed. I went through and got rid of at least 6 plugins that weren't being used on one of my blogs.
It surprises me how many people don't update their Wordpress versions on a regular basis. Any time that you see the little reminder in your dashboard that says there is a new version available make sure to install it. It only takes a few seconds. Each new version of Wordpress comes with security and general code updates that help keep your site running smoothly.
CSS code can get kind of messy and long at times. This can lead to longer page loads and delays that your visitors will have to sit through. The best way to get around this problem is to compress your code. Compressing will allow the browser to load your CSS much more quickly. To do this, simply install the WP CSS plugin.
Some of the worst culprits in terms of slowing down site speed are image files. Image files can be HUGE, and this is bad news for anyone with a slow internet connection. It's also bad news for your search engine rankings since speed is now such a huge ranking factor. In order to reduce the impact that image files can have on your site speed you'll need to decrease the quality of your images a bit. Note that decreasing the quality will not create a visual difference in your image. It will simply make the image file smaller. To do this, install the WP Smush.it plugin.
A cache is basically a storage area for a representation of your website. Caching your files will allow your users to browse your site without having to reload pages all the time. Instead, the browser will simply load the cache file which saves a ton of time. After going through this step you'll start to notice a huge improvement in your site performance. Setting up a cache can be a pain if you don't know how to code. However, since we're speeding up Wordpress...there's a plugin for that! You'll want to download and install WP Super Cache. This is the by far the best cache plugin I've found, and it will really improve the speed of your site.
CloudFlare is a content delivery network, or CDN. A CDN is a collection of servers that are distributed across the world. These servers allow your site to be delivered more quickly to users who might not live near your current server. Not only that, a CDN like CloudFlare offers security protection from spammers, spambots, and ddos attacks. After adding my blogs to the CloudFlare network I noticed that my page load times were nearly cut in half. The best part about all of this? It's free!
The setup process is very easy. Actually, it's pretty much automatic. You just need to go through a couple of very simple steps. Once you've added your site to the CloudFlare network your site will be flying along at light speed! Also, the CloudFlare servers will handle a lot of the grunt-work which will lower the amount of bandwidth your server uses. You can't beat a service that is free and saves you money at the same time by reducing your bandwidth costs.
Check out this introductory CloudFlare video for more information.
I hope you've enjoyed this article on speeding up your Wordpress site. Here are the links to the plugins I've mentioned.
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