Increasing your WordPress site speed for customer retention
Site speed and performance are critical components in attracting customers to your business and keeping them happy.
Because of that, we’re often asked how small businesses on a budget can ensure their website loads quickly across various devices with heavy user-traffic. Keeping your website running fast and functioning as it should be to serve your customers is an ongoing process, however, you can start your site with speed in mind.
As developers, here are our top tips to consider as you build your fastest website yet.
WordPress Theme Choice
We love Divi by Elegant Themes. They took the common speed bottlenecks of WordPress sites head-on for a better customer experience and we’ve leveraged those traits to build some of the fastest sites for our clients.
A while back, Divi had a bad rap among developers as being too bulky and slow. Since then, they have made a multitude of improvements making it much more capable of competing against other themes when it comes to speed.
In most cases, this is going to be the biggest player in site speed. Think of it this way: when you go to a website you are loading everything that you see from a server somewhere. This content and information can only be delivered to you as fast as it’s host allows.
You’ll see godaddy blanketing the web with ads for inexpensive hosting and they become the norm. However, there are many other options out there that are better suited for speed.
This brings us to cloud hosting. Whenever we switch a site from godaddy to a cloud-based server like Cloudways first thing we see is a reduction in monthly fees and in page load time.
Aside from cost, cloud hosting is one of the best options because it stores your content and website on a bunch of different servers. That way, when it is loading, if a server is running slow it won’t affect the website as much as it would if it were all loading from the same spot.
You can have the best hosting and best theme, but if you don’t build with speed in mind, you’re not going to get the results you want.
Here are our top development considerations for a fast site.
Plugins: Plugins are files that you are plugging into your website that load when your website is being pulled up. If there are a bunch of things you don’t need or that you’re not using they are still loading with the site. Before downloading and installing a plugin look at the last update date and the reviews. Make sure it’s updated and doesn’t have a bunch of reviews complaining about it.
Ask yourself, how many plugins am I using and what am I using them for? Is there something I can custom code to avoid using a plugin? With plugins there is no magic number that a site should have or shouldn’t.
Images: One mistaken belief with images is that you can run an image optimization plugin when you’re done with the site and call it ‘good.’ Although it’s better than doing nothing, it is not a magical fix to image optimization.
You’ll need to look at how the image is going to appear on the page and different screen widths. For example, you might have an image on the computer 1800px by 1200px and you’ll have to ask yourself, “do I need that full-size image loading on someone’s phone?” The answer is, “no.” You’ll want to create a specific image to load only on mobile.
Think about how the image scales. Is it a image that is one size but scales down to half the size on the actual page? If that’s the case you need to make the dimensions as it would appear, especially in an online retail scenario.
Another image optimization tip to increase speed is resolution. Yes, you have that beautiful 300dpi raw photo of your team but you’re only viewing things in the quality your screen is. Tip: we stick with the standard of 72dpi and typically drop the quality down to 60% without losing any of the quality on the website.
Integrations: Did you know things like google integrations, adroll, facebook pixel, maps, and even youtube videos slow your site down? When you have these integrations loading on pages you can not control them with the cache. Integrations are actually loading things and calling to different sources. For example, if you have a google map on a page it calls to google maps and loads them as their host loads them.
Caching: This is a fairly simple thing that can be done to improve your website. How caching works is when you go to a website and it loads it will save “cache” the items and content on that page. When the user visits it again it will load faster, great for customer retention! Check out a Cache Plugin like Breeze and get started on increasing your website’s speed asap.
Want a fast WordPress site that keeps your customers coming back for more?
You can’t focus on one element of the process – your theme, hosting and development choices all play a part in performance. Stay tuned for more Airglow Digital tips on maintaining a fast WordPress site.
Considering a new website design? Now is the time. Airglow Digital offers great options for website design and development at an affordable rate.To learn more about how we can help you reach your target audience with an exciting website, get in touch.