The Business Owner’s Guide to Speeding Up Your WordPress Site

As a business owner, you know a fast site is essential to keep visitors happy.  You may not know that page speed also factors into your search engine ranking. Google says, “we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed“.  This was back in 2010 and it is even more important today.

What can you do as a business owner to improve your speed yourself?

The first step in improving your site speed is to get a grade of your site speed. My favorite tool is GTMetrix. Use this tool and then follow the steps below to see how much you improve your grade. You want a grade of at least

There are a few things that you can do right now, without much technical know-how. Listed in order of effectiveness:

  1. wp-super-cache-seo-pluginInstall a caching plugin: A caching plugin will reduce the loading time of your site by having the site files ready to load quickly instead of having to look in your site database each time (it reduces the time it takes a page to load). This is the most bang for your buck improvement (it is free after all).
    • Login to your site dashboard.
    • Click on “Plugins”, then “Add New”
    • Search for “wp super cache” and click “Install Now” under  the first result (http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/).
    • After activating the plugin, go to “Settings”, then click “WP Super Cache”.
    • Click the “Advanced” tab to set things up. Check every box that has a “(Recommended)” next to it. Save your changes and you are done!
  2. 490px-Magnifying_glass_iconInstall a minify plugin: A minify plugin simply makes your core site files smaller so they can load faster. These are a bit easier to setup than the caching plugin above.
    • Login to your site dashboard.
    • Click on “Plugins”, then “Add New”
    • Search for “better wp minify” and click “Install Now” under  the first result (http://wordpress.org/plugins/bwp-minify/).
    • After activating the plugin, it will automatically be active, so there is nothing more you have to do.

The two changes above will significantly improve your WordPress site speed. There are also things you can do to proactively moving forward to improve your site speed:

  1. Never upload an image to your site that is bigger that 1000 pixels wide: You should be uploading photos at the size you want them shown on your site. Do not upload a 2000 pixel wide image to just show it at 500 pixels.
  2. If you only have a large image, use a tool like Pixlr to resize it to the correct dimensions: open your image in Pixlr, then go to the menu and click “Image” then “Image Size”. Reduce your image to a good web size (between 200 and 800 pixels) and then click “File” > “Save”.

There are many other ways to speed up your website, but these will give you the best bang for your buck. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments if you are trying this yourself!

 

 

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