The first time someone visits your site, the first few seconds are the most important to help them form their opinion and convince them to stay. Even an extra second or two can turn people off of your site and make them leave.

Google also added site speed into its ranking algorithm. This means that if your site has slow speed, it effects SEO. If your site is slow, you’re not only missing out on visitors from lack of patience, you're also receiving lower rankings in search engines.

Follow these easy steps and we can fix that.

Choosing a Good Host

Use a Fast Webhost

The first thing you can do is choose a good host. When it comes to choosing a host, you shouldn't go for the lowest priced one. Do your research. Picking a good host is incredibly important. Typically, the lower the cost, the slower the speed of the site being run on that hosting server. Sites on these hosting servers also experience frequent down time during their high traffic period. Bluehost is one of the few exceptions to this rule.

It's always wise to invest in proper hosting. WP-Engine also offers incredibly fast loading times, while having virtually no downtime! It also comes with great support. Another awesome host, and my personal favorite, is DigitalOcean VPS hosting. It requires a lot more experience to set up, but once it's set up it never has downtime, it offers the highest speed there is, and comes with the highest level of support I've ever seen.

If your site gets over 25,000 visits a month, it might be wise to consider your own Virtual Private Server instead of using Shared Hosting

Optimize Your Images

Optimizing your images is also another incredibly important step you can take to speed up your site's load times. WordPress has a free plugin called WP-SmushIt, which will reduce the file size of an image without reducing its quality.

This plugin is especially helpful if your content is image heavy. Images are generally the largest files on your website and reducing the size of these images can significantly reduce load time.

Choose an Effective Caching Plugin

Another incredibly important step you must take to improve your loading times is using an effective caching plugin. Caching plugins drastically improve page loading times, and they're all free and easy to use! My favorite caching plugin is W3 Total Cache. It has all the features you'll need and it's incredibly simple to install and use.

Optimize Your Homepage

Optimizing your homepage also helps drastically improve your load times. There are many steps you can take to do this. The homepage is the most important page to load quickly, because it's the page that most users will land on first. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and this is where you'll be doing that most of the time.

 You can optimize your homepage by showing excepts intead of full posts, reducing the number of posts per page, removing unnecessary widgets from the homepage, removing inactive plugins and widgets that you no longer need.

 Another important step is keeping everything minimal. If you don't need it, don't use it. No one likes seeing a bunch of random widgets on one page.

 

Make Use of Cloudflare

Cloudflare to Speed up Wordpress

CloudFlare is also another incredibly powerful resource when it comes to improving the speed as well as the security of your site. CloudFlare works well with the W3 Total Cache plugin that was discussed above. Best of all, they're both free!

You can check out our post on how to sign up and configure cloudflare

Replace PHP With HTML When Possible

A more advanced, yet extremely effective way to cut down your loading time is to replace your PHP code with HTML when possible. This is a measure best taken when you're very desperate, but it will still certainly help cut down loading times.

Optimize Your Database

Optimizing your database is also a great way to reduce loading times. It can be very boring, like most database work, but it's something that needs to be done every now and then. You can also use the WP-Optimize plugin to automatically do this. You can also use WP-DB Manager which will help set up dates for optimizing your database.

Limit Post Revisions

Another way to speed up your site is to limit your post revisions. Post revisions take up a lot of space in your database. You can limit the number of revisions Wordpress keeps for each article quite simply. All you need to do is add one line of code to your wp-config.php file:

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 4 );

This code limits the number of revisions that Wordpress saves for each post or page to 4, and automatically deletes all older revisions.

Using a Faster Gallery Plugin

Using a faster gallery plugin can also help a lot. If you have a photography website, you'll want to use a gallery plugin to display your photographs. It's incredibly wise to choose a gallery plugin that is optimized for speed. I recommend Envira Gallery, which is the best gallery plugin you can get. It's almost twice as fast as any other gallery plugin.

Envira Gallery for Faster Wordpress

Disabling Hotlinking and Leeching of Your Content

Last but not least, a great method to vastly speed up your site is to disable hotlinking and leeching of your content. One way your content may get stolen is when other sites put your images directly from your URLS onto their site. This steals your hosting bandwitdh, and you won't receive any traffic for it.

To stop this from happening, go to your .htaccess file and add these lines of code:

                                #disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option

                                RewriteEngine on

                                RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$

                                RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourdomain [NC]

                                RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]

                                RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

 

Don't forget to change "yourdomain" with your actual domain url.