For this week’s podcast, we’re going to cover what any business owner or marketer can do (regardless of their technical skills) to improve WordPress website speed ahead of Google’s Core Web Vitals update next month (May 2021).
This guide is not meant to be an exhaustive list of every little thing you can do to increase the speed of your website in WordPress. That would take a lot of time and serious web development skills.
Rather, this podcast is meant to be an actionable, non-technical guide that will clearly explain how to speed up your WordPress website.
Afterwards, you will have 3 simple items you can handle to speed up your WordPress website. The 3 items we’re covering here will provide the highest ROI for your time/effort and are part of the key 20% of activities you can do here to get 80% of the results you’re after.
How to Speed Up Website Load Time in WordPress
WordPress is a great Content Management System (CMS) that provides enough flexibility that it can be used by both experienced web developers and marketers/business owners with basic technical skills. Because of this, there are actually a few big things even those with little technical knowledge on WordPress website speed can do to speed up their website.
Here are 3 Actionable, Non-Technical Tips for Improving Your WordPress Website’s Speed
1). Review Your Hosting Provider + Consider Migrating to a Faster Host
The top thing you can do to improve WordPress website speed is to upgrade your hosting provider. In my experience, many business owners and marketers first launch their WordPress website with a cheaper hosting provider like GoDaddy or Bluehost.
While this makes sense when first starting out, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to website hosting service providers.
Cheaper web hosts use “Shared Web Hosting” practices to keep costs down. Basically, your website is stored on a server with multiple other websites (probably anywhere between 25-50 depending on traffic).
This means that your website is sharing resources and bandwidth with all the other websites on the same server. The fewer resources there are to go around for each site, the slower your website will be.
So if you’re on a cheaper web host, I would highly recommend upgrading your hosting provider and plan.
Even if you do nothing else, this will significantly improve your WordPress website’s speed. Plus, many hosting providers will migrate your WordPress website over to them for you and free of charge. The process for you is as simple as filling out a form and providing a few details. Literally, anyone can do this.
Each platform has its pros & cons in comparison to one another, but all are lightyears ahead of cheaper hosts in terms of site speed.
If you need the most basic non-technical option, go with Flywheel. Otherwise, feel free to browse the other options to see what fits best for your company.
2). Speed Up Your Website with a WordPress Plugin
What website owner doesn’t love plugins? They’re essentially like apps for your WordPress website.
And believe it or not, there are actually quite a few out there that you can install on your website with no knowledge of website development and automatically improve your website speed (told you this podcast was going to be a non-technical guide to improving WordPress site speed).
Our favorite WordPress website speed optimization plugin is WP Rocket. We install this plugin on all client websites.
It offers a ton of great features that can be easily used regardless of technical skill level. In fact, it automatically applies 80% of website speed best practices as soon as you install the plugin.
3). Optimize Your Website’s Images
Did you know that images are generally some of the largest files on a website? It’s true – and if the pages on your website have a lot of images, they can quickly add up. This will slow down your WordPress website dramatically if you’re not careful.
But as such, this is also one of the best areas of opportunity to improve your WordPress website’s speed.
There is a lot you can do to optimize your site’s images so that they load super fast while still retaining a high resolution.
For one, always check the size of the images that you upload to WordPress.
Generally, we don’t upload images larger than 2000px in width because very few people will view the site on a large screen. But many times we get raw images from clients that are several megabytes and 5000px+ in width.
So it’s always important to check the file size and reduce if needed – this will reduce the overall size of your pages and make them much faster.
If after resizing, you can even take things a step further by “compressing the image”. This essentially retains most of the image’s pixel density and quality while reducing the overall file size. Sometimes we see reductions of 70-80% when doing this. We recommend using a free service like TinyPNG for improving your WordPress website speed.
Finally, if you really want to take things to the next level to improve your WordPress website’s speed, you can.
Recently, a new image file format called “WebP” has been made compatible for viewing in today’s major website browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. This new image format has the same level of quality as JPGs and PNGs but comes in roughly 35% file size. So there are some pretty big potential file size savings here.
How can you improve your WordPress website speed with WebP images?
Well, you actually can’t upload this file type natively to WordPress just yet. Rather, you will need to use a plugin such as ShortPixel or Imagify. These plugins will automatically convert all of your JPG/PNG images and serve them as WebP images.
Both these plugins are easy to use and require no coding experience to set up.
What Google’s Core Web Vitals Update Means for WordPress Websites
With Google’s Core Web Vitals update, it’s clear that WordPress website speed will now become critical for ranking for SEO and the business viability of your website as a whole. WordPress websites that were built on older frameworks or bloated Themes are going to be heavily affected by this update.
It’s become more and more clear now that when developing a WordPress website, website speed has got to be a main topic of discussion. WordPress is great, but it’s open-source nature and backwards compatibility has always made it slow out of the box (this is why we are beginning to move more sites over to Webflow).
You can still improve your WordPress website speed to give your visitors a fast experience. But for business owners and marketers considering new WordPress projects, you need to ensure whatever company or freelancer you hire is building your website with the right tools and site speed best practices.
If you’re interested in reviewing the speed of your site currently, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how fast it currently is and what you can do to improve WordPress website’s speed.
Looking to get your WordPress website’s speed reviewed and fixed by a professional web developer? We actually offer an entire website speed optimization service that will handle what we’ve discussed in this podcast for you and a whole lot more. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.