Website speed is an important consideration for your blog. Faster loading blog pages not only provide a better and more enjoyable experience for your audience, but speed is also a factor for your search engine rankings. While I (and many others) consider WordPress as the best blogging platform, it isn’t always fast—especially out of the box. However, there are a number of things you can do to speed up your page loading times.
Select the Proper Theme
One of the great things about an open source platform like WordPress is that there are many free themes and plugins available for your use. The downside is that sometimes those themes and plugins aren’t the most efficiently coded. In WordPress, your theme can make a big difference with your site loading times depending on how well they are constructed. Using a properly coded theme can definitely help improve your site speed.
If you’re not a developer, how can you tell if a theme is efficient or bloated? First, if you’re using free themes, stick to the ones found in the WordPress.org repository. Or even better, you can opt for a premium theme from a company such as StudioPress. Their themes are built on the Genesis Framework and are highly regarded in the WordPress community.
Use a Caching Plugin
Since WordPress out of the box isn’t that fast, one of the first steps you can take is to install and activate a caching plugin. The two most popular plugins are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Using a caching plugin will reduce the amount of hits to your web server when a request is made for one of your blog’s pages—thereby reducing load times.
Compress Your Images
Photos and images are often the biggest culprits of slow loading pages. So, one of the most important things you can do to speed up your blog is to make sure you compress your images. You can use a plugin such as EWWW Image Optimizer, Smush Image Compression and Optimization, or Imagify Image Optimizer.
Use a CDN
And while we’re on the subject of images and static content, you should also consider using a content delivery network (or CDN) with your blog—especially if your website contains a lot of photos. With a CDN, your static content can be stored on different servers around the world. Then when someone visits your blog, the static content can be retrieved from a server closer to that person’s location—which usually results in much faster page loading. Cloudflare and MaxCDN are two of the most popular content delivery networks. And these days, many web hosting companies are including Cloudflare for free with their hosting plans.
Choose the Right Web Hosting
And finally, when it comes to website speed and page loading, your web hosting is often the most critical factor. Web hosting involves your data center location, hardware, networks, cache technology, and other resources. And while you might think that all web hosting is the same, believe me, a quality web host can make a big difference on how fast your blog loads. For more info on choosing the right web hosting for your blog, check out my article here.