How long do you wait for a site to load before you leave? I bet not very long. Here is a great infographic on how site speed can impact your bottom line. You know it is important to have a fast loading website, but what are some actual steps you can take to improve your loading time on a WordPress site? Your site speed can easily be improved by making the following steps.
In order of importance:
Use a plugin that reduces the amount of data your site loads each time (a caching plugin). The two best are WP Super Cache and WP Total Cache. I recommend using Super Cache as it is a bit easier to setup and does not seem to have as many issues with incompatibilities. To setup WP Super Cache, go to the advanced settings and select all options that end with: (recommended)
Images Too Large
When you see a website that has a large image that crawls open, it is becuase they uploaded a file way too large for web (most likely straight from the camera). Any large images need to be saved in a web friendly file size. Either use Photoshop or Pixlr.com to save your images at a smaller size. Click “File” > “Save for Web (or just “Save” in Pixlr)” > Select “JPG” > Then reduce quality until you see visible degradation of the image, then back it off slightly. You do not want any image on your website that is over 1000px wide. More than that and you are asking for a long load time.
No Raw Camera Files
Never upload images straight from your camera to your website, they are way too big! Go back to step 2 above and reduce your file size.
Minify What!? All you need to know is that this reduces the file size of your crucial site files. Use the plugin: Better WP Minify. One word of caution: this plugin is not compatible with all themes, so make sure it does not break your site styles when activating!
Site is still too slow? You may have an issue with your host or other bad hosting, so make sure you are using a modern host for your website. Use the tool here to test your site speed and get other recommendations on what is slowing down your site.