What’s the one thing that humans despise the most? -waiting. We don’t like waiting for anyone or anything, andeveryone knows the pain of waiting a long time for a website to load. And while we used to wait (albeit impatiently) for that slow webpage, research shows that this is no longer the case. In today’s fast-paced world, the human attention span has dropped to just 7 seconds, which means that if your website doesn’t load fast, users will click somewhere else, and your SEO will be effected with search engines like Google ranking you lower as punishment for being slow.
It is now pivotal that your WordPress site has acceptable levels of performance and speed. Without these two vital elements, your website could very well become obsolete. Below are the most common culprits hurting your website performance. Don’t be overwhelmed by the buzzwords and technical jargon, if it becomes too much just jump to the final paragraph to understand what you should do next.
- Web Hosting Issues: Website performance can be affected by the web hosting server you are using. If it’s a shared hosting provider (with communal server resources) then your website may slow down in response to an increase in traffic on one of the other sites using the server. The best choice for a WordPress site is a managed WordPress hosting service, such as WPEngine, which will be specially configured for running WordPress, in addition to offering backups, updates, and heightened security.
- WordPress Configuration: The notable thing about WordPress sites is that they are dynamic, changing in real-time as people post or visit the page. There is a downside—in order to display the pages correctly, WordPress has to run a multi-step process that finds and puts together the most recent information. If you have multiple people visiting your site at the same time then this process can start to drag, or potentially even crash. To avoid this, you need to make sure you’re running a caching plugin, which can make your site up to 5 times faster. WP Super Cache is a popular plugin that is easy to setup and will often make a discernible difference in site performance and speed.
- Page Size:There’s no denying that a website with images is more appealing, with research showing users are 80% more likely to read website text when it is accompanied by color But if you have been uploading images straight from your phone or tablet then it is likely these files are severely impacting the performance of your website. The default setting for most cameras is high resolution, which results in enormous digital files. Using editing software prior to uploading will reduce these file sizes down to a slightly lower quality, but far more compatible for web use.
- Bad Plugins: WordPress sites frequently have many plugins installed to increase functionality. This can slow down a website significantly, particularly after WordPress 5 was released, creating lots of compatibility issues.Plugins that have poor or incompatible coding will result in slow websites or stop the website from functioning completely.
- External Scripts:External scripts that have been embedded in WordPress sites will enable you to use files from other websites (Facebook and Instagram are two of the most common). If you are using external scripts, you don’t have control of their performance. If you have too many they will likely slow down your website, causing a negative impact on the performance of your site.
- Site Architecture: It’s important to put humans first when designing your website architecture.The architecture of a WordPress site can play a huge role in performance, as it will impact how accessible the site is to Google’s web crawling bots (which in turn will significantly affect the SEO of the site). The architecture is also important in determining user experience; if it is difficult to navigate, illogical or has errors in loading, then users will likely choose to click elsewhere.
Many WordPress users may be aware of the fact that their website needs help but are unsure where to begin; they may feel intimidated by coding issues or uncertain of the meaning behind marketing jargon. Obtaining a free website analysis is an excellent place to begin. Don’t just sit back and watch as your WordPress site gets slower – do something about it today!