As you create content and add graphics to your WordPress website, you will likely start getting some signs that your site speed needs some improvement. You may start noticing your bounce rate is getting higher and/or that your website seems to be loading slower when you are on it.
If you notice these things (and even if you don’t) it’s a good idea to run a website speed test every once in awhile. This post covers how to run a speed test and five easy tips to make your site load faster when it’s running slow.
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First, you need to find out how fast your website is currently loading. In order to see if your WordPress website is running slowly, you first need to run a website speed test.
You can do this by going to https://tools.pingdom.com/
From here you simply enter your url and location you are testing from then click ‘Start Test’
The results will let you know your page size and load speed.
The load time speed should be between 1-3 seconds max. If your number is higher than this you are going to want to work on getting this number down.
Your load time and page size have a lot to do with the images on your site, so we are going to start there. You likely have several images in your media library that you are not using, but are still taking up space on your site.
Did you upload a website template or pre-made design of any kind when building your blogging website? If so, you may have several sample images in your library that you are not using that can be deleted.
Have you uploaded an image, but then decided to go with a different picture or version in the end? You may have forgotten to delete the original.
First, scan your media library for images you are no longer using. If you find there are only a few that you need to get rid of, you can manually delete each one. If you realize that you have quite a few to delete, you can use a plugin like Media Cleaner to help you bulk delete images you are no longer using.
You need to optimize the images in your existing media library and any new images you add to your website moving forward.
This is a step most people miss completely! I definitely did when I first started. I uploaded any and every royalty-free image I wanted directly to my media library.
The majority of these images are really big. You are likely only seeing the dimensions of these graphics when you download them, not the actual image size.
Each image that you upload needs to be optimized so that they don’t drastically slow down your website.
You can use a plugin like ShortPixel Image Optimizer to compress your images. This is a freemium plugin that you can start for free, but if you are adding content with images frequently, you will need to upgrade. ShortPixel comes with 100 free credits/month, and additional credits can be bought for as little as $4.99 for 5,000 image credits. You can see their pricing here.
The second option is to optimize each photo using a website like tinyjpg.com. This site does an amazing job of compressing images without compromising the quality of the photo.
See the video at the beginning of this post to see how to compress images on this site.
Caching is the process of storing copies of files in a cache. A cache acts as a temporary storage location, so files can be accessed quickly.
A caching plugin allows a browser to get the files from a cache rather than an original server that would have to download everything again. If someone is returning to your page or refreshes it, time is being saved because the information is being loaded directly from the cache.
There are free caching plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Fastest Cache that you can use. I have had some trouble with free caching plugins not “playing well” with other plugins on my site, so if you do use these, do so with caution. As with any plugin you choose to add to your site, be sure to backup your site first before installing it.
I now use and love the premium caching plugin WP Rocket. It is the most popular premium caching plugin on WordPress and is super easy to use. The video at the top of this post walks you through downloading and installing this plugin. You will see the dramatic decrease in load time on my site once I add the plugin and retest it via my website speed test.
WP Rocket is also having a sale right now so it’s the perfect time to drastically speed up your website at a great price.
Just like you want to delete images from your media library to free up space, you also want to delete any unnecessary plugins that you are not using.
There are likely some plugins installed on your backend that you don’t need (*Ahem* Hello Dolly) or that you have stopped using altogether.
First, back up your website prior to deleting or adding any plugins. I recommend the plugin UpdraftPlus.
Second, scan your plugins for any plugins that you do not need anymore.
Third, deactivate the plugin and delete it.
You may not realize this, but your hosting company and the plan you have can affect your website speed as well.
If you’re just starting out or working on growing your online presence, you are most likely on a shared hosting plan with Bluehost or SiteGround. On a shared plan you are sharing the same server with other users. If you are at this level than this is the most cost-effective place for you to be right now.
If you have been blogging for a long time and/or have created a website with tons of media files, then it might be time to look into a dedicated IP address. You can purchase this through your hosting company like is offered with the Bluehost Pro Plan.
You now know how to do a website speed test, what a good website speed is, and how to improve your own website speed in 5 easy steps. I hope that these tips will increase your traffic, sales, and overall success!