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Optimize WordPress pagespeed - 11 immediate measures

Optimize WordPress pagespeed
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WordPress is the world's most popular content management system (CMS) with a market share of over 60 %. Even website newbies now know that pagespeed is playing an increasingly important role on the web. And yet many website operators - even experienced ones - struggle with long loading times. Extensive WordPress projects in particular can cause website loading times to skyrocket. This article is intended to help you optimize WordPress pagespeed. After all, the internet is becoming increasingly fast-paced and your visitors' patience is getting shorter. With the following 11 Immediate measures to the Optimize WordPress pagespeed you will achieve results that have an immediate positive effect on your loading time.

Before we start optimizing WordPress pagespeed, however, you should know why fast pagespeed is so important for the success of your WordPress website. You probably know it from yourself, there is probably nothing worse on the internet than slow websites. Especially when you're on the mobile web and just want to access important information quickly. As a rule, the majority of the Internet community tends to lose patience and leave the website again. The information they need is then obtained from another website instead. Ultimately, this means less traffic for the website operator and therefore, in most cases, fewer leads and sales.

Sounds logical so far, doesn't it? However, many people forget that the SEO ranking also suffers greatly from slow loading times. Search engines such as Google and others generally prefer websites with fast loading and response times in the ranking position. Slow websites therefore often have no chance of appearing in the top 100 search results. And let's be honest, who likes to get lost off the 1st search results page? That's why you should optimize your WordPress PageSpeed, because this is the only way to improve your Improve Google ranking.

WordPress pagespeed optimization should therefore be one of the core tasks of every WordPress admin in order to avoid losing important traffic to the competition. But that's easier said than done! There are an incredible number of tools, aids and elements that can make a website much more functional and user-friendly, but they can very quickly have a negative impact on the loading time of your WordPress website. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to keep the pagespeed of your WordPress website as low as possible.

How fast does your WordPress website load?

However, to find out whether any measures are necessary to optimize WordPress pagespeed, you should first test the speed of your WordPress website. To do this, you can use the WordPress speed test from WPspace.de use. This is because the loading time that your desktop computer or smartphone shows you in the developer console is usually not accurate enough. This is because some elements of your website are probably already in the cache. However, since page speed is fundamentally based on the first visit to your website, an external speed test is always recommended.

As a rule, a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load no longer feels intuitive to the visitor. However, search engines such as Google and others set the bar a little higher. To achieve a good Google ranking, you should therefore make sure that your PageSpeed does not take longer than 2 seconds to load. The principle always applies: the faster, the better. Just a few milliseconds can make the difference between 1st and 10th place.

Now that you understand what needs to be considered, we can start optimizing WordPress pagespeed:

1. deactivate plugins

Let's start with something basic at the beginning of the WordPress pagespeed optimization measures. Get rid of all the ballast you no longer need! We're talking about plugins that you either no longer use or have only installed for testing purposes but never removed.

WordPress plugins have many advantages. Not only can WordPress plugins be installed quickly and easily via the WordPress interface, they also add many useful functions to your website for you and your visitors. But be careful! Every plugin also means more ballast for your website in the form of resources. That's why you should always consider which plugins you really need and which you can safely deactivate as part of your WordPress pagespeed optimization.

You may even be able to save on plugins by coding certain functions yourself using CSS & HTML. This may mean more work, especially at the beginning, but your WordPress pagespeed will thank you for it. Deleting plugins is a very simple and quick measure to optimize WordPress pagespeed.

2. use caching plugin

If you are not yet using a caching plugin, you should change that as soon as possible! Caching plugins are one of the best ways to optimize WordPress pagespeed. As a CMS, WordPress is a dynamic website. Unlike websites, for example, which consisted purely of HTML and CSS, especially in the early days of the internet, a WordPress website is built and compiled anew for each request from your visitors. This means that even before your WordPress website is called up, it first sends a request to your database server, which then fills your website with the required content. This process is resource-hungry and takes a lot of time.

WordPress caching plugins "pre-render" your website. This means that your website is "rendered" before your visitor tries to access it and is available as a static file on your server. On the one hand, this is more resource-efficient for your server because it does not have to "render" your page each time. This means that your page is only rendered if something has changed on your website. Secondly, this drastically reduces the loading time of your website because requests from your customers now take less time.

Probably the best paid WordPress caching plugin is WP Rocket. With just a few clicks, WP Rocket is installed and ready to use. Alternatively Autoptimize recommended. Even if Autoptimize does not come close to the functionality of WP Rocket, this WordPress caching plugin is better than not using a caching plugin at all. WordPress caching plugins are now mandatory.

3. use CDN

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network and describes a network of regionally distributed servers over the Internet. With the help of a CDN, your website is automatically duplicated on geographically different servers. And how exactly can this optimize WordPress page speed? The CDN always uses the geographically closest server to deliver your website, which ultimately results in an improved TTFB (time to first byte) and faster loading times.

In addition, media such as images or videos can also be delivered via a CDN. This saves your own server resources due to fewer requests to be processed for your server and allows you to optimize your WordPress page speed at the same time.

Cloudflare is probably the best-known CDN provider. Even with a free account, Cloudflare offers you a wide range of options for optimizing your WordPress pagespeed. Nevertheless, it's worth taking a look at Cloudflare's paid offers, which improve the performance of your website even further - but above all optimize WordPress pagespeed. In particular, the "Automatic platform optimization for WordPress" for 5 $ per month can greatly improve TTFB!

Pro Tip: With the free TTFB Performance Test from keycdn.com you can test the TTFB of your WordPress website from various locations around the world at the same time. In general, the smaller the TTFB, the better. According to Google, your TTFB should be less than 200 ms. However, in order to achieve a good Google ranking, you should achieve a value of less than 100 ms with your implemented measures for WordPress pagespeed optimization.

4. use Google Tag Manager

An important tool that you should use to optimize WordPress pagespeed is the Google Tag Manager. The Google Tag Manager is a free online tool that allows you to embed scripts on your website without having to edit the source code of your WordPress website. Of course, various WordPress plugins and themes can also do this for you. The big advantage of Google Tag Manager, however, is that your scripts are provided externally via Google's servers, thus saving your resources.

In Google Tag Manager, it is possible to control the execution of your scripts using configured "triggers". Among other things, you can determine the conditions under which your scripts should be executed. For example, you can set that certain scripts are only executed after a certain time or only on certain subpages of your website.

5. choose a suitable WordPress theme

There are now countless WordPress themes and theme builders. And that's a good thing, otherwise every WordPress website would look similar. Nevertheless, there are a few things to consider when choosing a WordPress theme when it comes to achieving fast WordPress loading times.

Nowadays, many themes are incredibly elaborately programmed to look beautiful and high-quality, so that this creates an incentive to buy for prospective customers. However, these themes are usually so full of unnecessary features and unnecessary bloatware that this is at the expense of the page speed of your WordPress website. So before using or buying a theme, think carefully about which features you need or whether there are features you can safely do without to save valuable seconds of your WordPress loading time. You should also consult test and experience reports regarding loading time to find out how powerful your desired theme ultimately is so that you don't experience any nasty surprises later on.

Unfortunately, there is no WordPress theme that does not affect your loading time at all, but some themes are better optimized for WordPress PageSpeed than others. A good example is the pre-installed "Hello" theme from Elementor. Thanks to the lean code, the page speed of your website is not affected unnecessarily. At the same time, you can implement all your creative wishes.

WPspace comes with the free "Hello" theme from Elementor pre-installed, so you have the perfect basis for launching your new website straight away.

6. WordPress hosting choose instead of cheap mass hosting

The success of all your WordPress PageSpeed optimizations stands and falls with the choice of web hosting provider. Because if the server performance of your web hosting provider is not right, even the best optimized WordPress website will be of no use to you.

But how do you find the best web hosting provider? As a general rule: never save money when choosing your hosting provider! Although you can put your WordPress website online with various large mass hosts for as little as 1 to 5 euros, you will have to make significant compromises in some areas. The WordPress page speed in particular often leaves a lot to be desired with mass hosts. This is not least due to the fact that you usually have to share the available server resources with hundreds of other customers. This is the only way mass hosters manage to offer such cheap web hosting.

Rather rely on a professional WordPress hosting. Hosting that specializes in WordPress not only offers you many useful tools with which you can set up and manage your WordPress website faster and more efficiently, the server infrastructure and resources are usually also specially optimized for the requirements of WordPress. With customer-oriented WordPress hosts, support to help you optimize your WordPress pagespeed is even included free of charge in some cases.

But be careful: Nowadays, even the large mass hosters offer "WordPress hosting". In most cases, however, the performance cannot be compared with the specialized providers. It is therefore best to find out beforehand in forums or from acquaintances what experiences they have already had with any providers. Ideally, your desired provider offers WordPress hosting providers even offer free trial periods so that you can see the benefits of the service for yourself.

This allows you to test how fast the servers of your WordPress hosting provider are:

The easiest way to test the server-only performance of your WordPress hosting provider is to install an empty WordPress website and then test it in the TTFB Performance Test from keycdn.com. The TTFB of your empty WordPress website should not exceed 200 ms from Germany. Our personal recommendation is less than 100 ms. Good WordPress hosting providers usually have a TTFB of less than 50 ms. By the way: Strongly deviating TTFB values from other locations in the world are completely normal, unless you have a CDN use.

7. make regular updates

Both the WordPress developers and the developers of third-party plugins and themes are interested in keeping the loading times of your WordPress website as short as possible. That's why you should always keep your WordPress instance up to date in order to receive the latest performance improvements as well as bug fixes and new features. If you opt for a managed WordPress hosting provider, you can even save yourself the time of updating. Because most managed WordPress hosting provider even offer you various tools in the hosting interface itself to keep your WordPress instance up to date automatically and thus optimize your WordPress page speed at the same time.

8. optimize WordPress database

Especially with WordPress websites that have been online for a very long time, you will often find "legacy data". The database used contains a huge number of data records that have not been used for years. This can have a negative impact on the PageSpeed of the WordPress instance. You should therefore clean up your WordPress database from time to time to optimize your WordPress pagespeed.

However, under no circumstances should you start to clean up the database manually - the risk of deleting required data records and thus destroying your WordPress website is too great. Instead, use plugins such as the database cleanup tool from WP Rocket or the free plugin WP-Optimize in.

9. split comments

If you run a WordPress website with a large community that also comments on a lot of your content, this measure to optimize WordPress pagespeed is particularly important for you. You can certainly imagine that the loading time increases with the number of comments written on your website. To avoid this, you can use an internal WordPress tool. Under the item Settings -> Discussionyou will find the function that allows you to divide the comments into several subpages. For example, you can specify that only the last 5 comments under your posts should be loaded and hide all other comments on the respective subpages.

10. optimize images

If you want to optimize your WordPress pagespeed, you should pay attention to the size of your images. High-resolution images can cause the PageSpeed of your WordPress website to skyrocket. Because with every additional image on your website, the size of the files to be downloaded automatically increases for your visitors. For example, a WordPress website with a total of 10 images of 1 MB each can take a whole 5 seconds to load with an average DSL broadband connection. So when uploading your images, always make sure to keep the file size as small as possible.

To optimize WordPress page speed and keep image file sizes low even before uploading to WordPress, there are a few quick measures you can implement in advance:

  • Use the SVG format for graphics, icons and logos. SVG is best suited to optimize the WordPress pagespeed. The Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format refers to scalable vector graphics without a fixed size. SVG files are usually extremely small as, unlike image files, they only contain vector data and instructions. In addition, graphics in SVG format have the decisive advantage that they can be scaled up or down as required without appearing pixelated. This is why, for example, logos in SVG format look much sharper on retina displays (e.g. smartphone & tablet) than those in JPG or PNG format.
  • Prefer the JPG format to the PNG format to optimize WordPress pagespeed. JPG image files are usually up to 5 times smaller than PNG files. So if you want to use classic image formats, prefer JPG.
  • Only use the PNG format in exceptional cases. If you do not have the option of using an SVG file, but you want to insert a graphic on your WordPress website that has a transparent background, you will have to resort to the PNG format for better or worse. However, make sure that the file size remains as small as possible.
  • If you want to optimize your WordPress pagespeed, the rule of thumb is: An image file in JPG or PNG format should not be larger than 200 KB. To achieve this, you can compress your image files using image editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Gimp. Play a little with the image quality when exporting the file. There is no exact guide value for image quality. However, with a little trial and error and experience, you will quickly find the perfect balance between file size and image quality. If you are not very familiar with image editing programs, you can also use one of the many online tools for compressing image files. A well-known example of this is the tool from iloveimg.de. In most cases, the automatically generated results of the online tools are not as satisfactory as those of manual compression using an image editing program. However, these online tools are always better for optimizing WordPress pagespeed than uploading images completely without compression in your WordPress.

If you want to save yourself all the compression effort required to optimize WordPress pagespeed, you can use WordPress plugins such as WP-Smushit.

Conclusion on the measures that optimize your WordPress pagespeed

If you're frustrated with your current pagespeed and think that only an IT professional can save you, you're wrong. Invest your time in our detailed step-by-step guide to optimize your WordPress pagespeed on your own. With these steps, you will already significantly improve your pagespeed! This is the only way to keep up with the big players in terms of user experience and Google ranking.

Check your new pagespeed score regularly as you implement your optimization measures. Let us know in the comments which measures you have implemented and how much your pagespeed has improved as a result. We are very curious 🙂

Picture of Isabell Bergmann
Isabell Bergmann
As an online marketing manager at WPspace, I love to share my knowledge around online marketing, web design and hosting.

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