Have you ever wondered why your website feels so sluggish, or if it takes a while to load and render everything, here are some tips that you could follow in order to make your website fast and load in under a second, just like mine, (Don’t just take my word for it? See for your self https://gtmetrix.com/reports/jahz.design/FxGHwAlQ/)
Your users aren’t going to sit around and wait forever for your site to load. Google’s going to ding your search engine rankings if you have a slow site. When you get a huge influx of traffic, the inability to load your site quickly could cause your server to crash. A slow website can be caused by any number of things: cheap web hosting, too many scripts and large images, excessive redirects, or just bloat. With WordPress-powered sites, there’s always a chance for bloat.
Minimize the Bloat, What is Bloat?
Yes, we all know WordPress is open source, and there are tons of plugins & themes available for you to download to give your website extra features, In reality, it doesn’t always happen that easily. WordPress plugins give you the ability to add in features you need; but some of them has too much “EXTRA” functionality which could have been just a simple code to your functions.php
It’s also true for WordPress themes from ThemeForest and the Theme Directory give you a quick look-and-feel, but many of them have too many layout and design options you don’t need, right?
Got it, So what should I do?
There’s no one answer to this but here are some of the best things you and your team could do to get your website faster.
Stop Using an Off-the-Shelf Theme. Go Custom.
You’re buying a theme from ThemeForest, or you’re downloading one from the Theme Directory.
- Ask yourself, was that design made for you?
- Are you using everything included with that theme?
- Do you need to install specific plugins in order to use the theme? (Likely you are lol)
Every theme offered in a theme marketplace is developed to serve a large audience. Even if it’s a small business theme and you’re a small business, the theme developer is almost always consider how a wide range of users could use the theme.
If the theme doesn’t include a specific piece of functionality, it may not sell as well. Off-the-shelf themes with template and code for WooCommerce being used on a simple blog site, or BuddyPress functionality added for small business sites. This is bloat.
If you’re not using it, you don’t need it. But if you have it, it’s slowing down your site.
What should you do instead? Use a custom-developed theme. Yes, I understand that means you need to pay a designer and a developer to build it for you, but if your site’s (lack of) speed is affecting your business, then going custom is an investment.
With a custom-developed theme, you’re only including the code you need.
I’ve seen off-the-shelf themes with dozens of template files cut down to 10 or less when re-developed as a custom theme. If your theme only includes the code you need – and not the code you don’t – you’ve cut down on the bloat.
Remove Unnecessary Plugins
The great thing about WordPress is that you can find a plugin for basically anything you want to do. The bad thing about WordPress is that because it’s so easy to add a plugin, you may end up running dozens of plugins on your site when you don’t really need to.
Third-Party Scripts Will Kill Your Site
Even if you have the fastest hosting in the world like Pantheon (My favorite platform btw), with premier caching and load optimization, your website likely has some code that gets pulled from another website. Whether it’s a Facebook Like Box, your Twitter feed, or advertising from your ad network, your site can’t load until these other sites do.
What does that mean? It means that if you’re loading scripts and content from a third-party website, you don’t have total control over how quickly your site loads.
I’ve seen so many websites having very poor load time (or their server has crashed) because their ad network is taking forever to load. And that’s assuming that those ads are coded correctly (which they often are not). The easiest way to tell which third-party scripts are slowing down your site is to run the Pingdom Website Speed Test or use Insights tools like New Relic.
You’ll see the loading time for every element on your site and can determine which script is causing the slowdown. The reality is that it’s almost impossible to remove all third-party scripts from your site, so choose your vendor partners wisely and consider whether or not they’re receptive to your concerns about load time.
Optimize Your Database
If you have a content-heavy site, your WordPress database works hard.
Between storing your posts, information on your attachments and media, comments from your users, and all your site options, your database can get big.
Optimizing your database allows you to remove the bloat you don’t really need: old post revisions, entries noting when posts are locked for editing, WordPress transients, and tables and entries from previously used (and now deleted) plugins, Here’s one awesome plugin I use and would recommend for this task: Plugins Garbage Collector (Database Cleanup), or if you prefer to do this manually, simply login to your Database and drop all unused tables.
Minimize the Bloat, Just do it 🙂
We’ve talked plenty about why having a fast-loading site is important; not just for search engine optimization and your business, but for your users (who matter more than anything else).
Keeping your website lean and mean are all part of ongoing site management.
Remember, your website is never finished, only abandoned. Take care of it. You do backups. You do software updates. Work to keep it running quickly, with as much bloat as possible removed. You’ll be happy you did.
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