If your WordPress website is running slow, this is your 2021 WordPress for dummies guide to what might be wrong. Site loading speed is directly connected with bounce rate, so the slower your website, the more users leave before interacting with content. Consequently, search engines prioritize content with a low bounce rate, so a slow WordPress website hurts your SEO and overall site traffic.
In this article, you will learn about the most common issues that slow down WordPress websites. Find out how to identify the cause of your slow website, and how to rectify the issue. And, discover the best solutions for avoiding future slow-downs and how to maintain your website’s speed.
Slow WordPress for Dummies – Top 3 Reasons for a Slow WordPress Site
If you are new or unfamiliar with WordPress administration, this is your easy WordPress for dummies guide. WordPress is the most popular Content Management System on the internet, because of its open-source versatility and ease of use. But, after your website is up and running, you might be holding extra weight that is slowing down the response time.
But, not to worry – you can fix the issue that is slowing down your website. The first step to figuring out what is slowing down your website is to methodically go through each possible cause. So, start with this WordPress speed maintenance checklist:
WordPress Speed Maintenance Checklist for Newbies
Your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is directly affected by your website’s server response time. If your website’s content takes more than 200-milliseconds to load, search engines lower your SEO score, which decreases your ranking on SERPs. Most speed issues occur as a result of redirects, media optimization, or other weighty data on the website.
So, to begin with, get a benchmark reading of your website’s current speed by performing a website speed test.
Test Your Websites Speed
To begin with, check the speed of your site by using a free tool, like Google Page Speed Insights. All you have to do is enter your website’s URL and press the button that says “ANALYZE.” It assesses your website’s server response time, redirected pages, media optimization, and more to show you where your website is running slow. At the very least, it shows you an overall website speed rating, with 1 being very slow, and 100 being very fast.
You can use this tool as a general index, but it does not fix the problems for you. Next, go into your WordPress website dashboard. Now comes the WordPress for dummies deep-dive into what might be slowing down your website.
1- Uninstall Any WordPress Plugins You Are Not Using
The most common cause of a slow WordPress website is having too many plugins installed. Plugins are data-heavy and weigh down the speed of your website if you have too many. Many times, simply getting rid of unused plugins will significantly increase the speed of your website.
Plugins can greatly expand the functionality of your website, and you might try out several that you end up deactivating. But, deactivating a WordPress plugin doesn’t remove the data, which continues to load every time a user makes a site request. This is a simple piece of maintenance that might solve your problem, but if it doesn’t do the trick, you might need to consult a web developer.
2- Compress and Optimize Your Websites Media and Images
The next most likely culprit of your website’s speed problems is uncompressed and un-optimized media. The media on your websites, such as images, audio, and video comprises a ton of data, and all of it can be optimized and compressed to lighten the data-load on your website. And, now that you have cleared out your unused plugins, it’s time to add one that you will use from here-on-out: WP Smush.
WP Smush is a WordPress plugin that automatically compresses each image file on your website. Once you activate the plugin, it even goes-in and compresses the existing images in your media section. And, any image you upload to your website’s media is automatically compressed, going forward.
3- Slow Server Response Due to Low-Quality Hosting
The third most common issue that slows down WordPress websites is not the website itself – but the host of the website. Many online or virtual hosting providers cram hundreds of websites into the same server, causing competition for server speed. On top of that, you may experience frequent downtime on servers for a myriad of reasons.
Not to mention – virtual hosting services, like Hostgator and Bluehost, are notoriously unavailable for one-on-one troubleshooting or support. The best option is to go with a fully managed shared hosting provider that offers dedicated server space and personal support. Your host can tell you whether the speed issues you are experiencing are on their end or yours.
These are only the 3 most common issues associated with a slow WordPress website. There are many other tests to determine the cause of your speed issues, but many involve editing source code and other backend site elements that you can easily break. To get a full website speed and maintenance consultation, contact a web developer for a free consultation on WordPress for dummies.