“40% of people abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load” -Neil Patel
Wordpess sites are large and resource intensive by nature. A common misconception is that a WordPress site won’t be resource intensive if it’s a small site. Almost too often, I hear “My website is just a simple 3 page site, there isn’t much to it, why is it slow?”. Well, let’s look at the top reasons why WordPress sites might be sluggish, and see if we can uncover ways to speed them up.
The primary reasons these sites are slow is:
1. The site is bloated, running too many unnecessary scripts and styles from various plugins on your pages. This could be because of too many plugins. You may find situations where even plugins that are deactivated, are still running scripts on your pages.
2. The images are too large. Large images is a major reason for a site to slow down. It is understandable to not want to lose image quality. However, it is not necessary to display every image at its full size. Think about pages with thumbnails
3. The database is too large. This is very common for sites that have been around for a while. As an example, every time you revise a page or post, WordPress stores all your revisions in that database under the wp_postmeta table. Commentsmeta table is another common area that grows too big for its own good. We will talk about ways to clean those up.
5. The hosting is slowing you down. Maybe the hosting you are on is not powerful enough to run your site, or you are with a slow hosting provider.
6. The hosting is not optimized correctly. This is a big one, and many every day people do not understand how this works well enough to make an educated decision about it. An example of this can be running your site on the wrong version of PHP. PHP is the coding language that WordPress is primarily built on. Running the wrong version could set you back countless seconds, as your server needs to log each error. We will discuss the different types, and what might be best for your site.
NexStep 1. Is my site actually slow?
If you are reading this, you most likely believe your site is slow. So what makes a slow site? The quote above reads “40% of people abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load“. How do we test this? There are several ways to test true site speed, including tools.pingdom.com, Pagespeed Insights by Google, gtmetrix.com – just to name a few. I use GTMetrix, because they have a grading system to let you know how you are doing, with tips on how to speed it up, as well as a ‘waterfall’ to let you see each object called on the page, and how long it takes. Let’s use the site GTMetrix to do a speed test.