How Fast Does Your WordPress Website Load and Why is that Important?
If your wordpress website is loading slowly for you, chances are it is even slower for your visitors.
And a slow-loading site can mean trouble for site owners. Why? Because people are impatient. Visitors want content and they want it now! When a site loads too slow for their patience, they are going to leave. PERIOD. Without waiting to see whats on the screen.
Did you know? the average smartphone user will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Translated this means that Google uses page speed a major factor when assigning search rankings. And according to Google: 75% of internet users have said that if a website takes longer than 4 seconds to load, they will not return to that site.
So as you can clearly see, having a fast website is critical if you want to get and keep visitors engaged. Slow loading websites are no longer tolerated by the masses of people who surf the internet.
There can be several reasons for a slow loading website. It could be the servers the site is hosted on. It could be the user’s internet connection. Some people still have dial up and others have slow speed internet connection.
Other factors that can add to a slow site include how the site is hosted. Is it hosted on a shared server, dedicated server, the cloud?
And still more reasons: the script a site is using is causing it to load very slowly.
The size of the images (large high resolution images take ten times longer to load); flash takes time to load as well as the size of files a visitor is trying to access.
Plugins can also make a wordpress website load slowly. The best way to test this is to disable one plugin at a time, test the speed of your site and then renable until you find the “culprit.” Then you will have to determine how important that plugin is to your overall site performance. If it is not, disable it. I recently found out that one of the Facebook comments plugins I was using slowed down my site tremendously. Once I disabled it, the site load time was about half the previous speed.
Use this tool to test your site loading speed: http://www.numion.com/stopwatch/ which measures the time between the moment your browser starts to load the URL and when the browser signals that it has finished (“Done” in the status bar).
So, what if your site is loading slowly? What can you do? If you have a wordpress website there are several plugins you can add to optimize the content for quicker loading. Here are a few of those tools:
W3 Total Cashe Plugin is a wordpress plugin that improves the user experience by improving your server performance and load time.
If you prefer a less robust plugin, get the WP Minify. WP Minify is a wordpress plugin that will combine and compress JS and CSS files to reduce loading time of your webpage.
WP Database Optimizer plugin allows you to schedule database optimization. The optimization can help speed up load times.
To find these plugins just go to the dashboard of your wordpress website, search plugins and they will show up.
Word of caution: When you add plugins they will sometimes render your website unavailable. My advice is to contact your web designer or the host to help you integrate one or more of these into your website. That way if you have trouble or your site crashes you won’t panic because an expert can help to restore the site quickly. I know because before I knew how to add plugins and remove them from the database this happened to me. Paying someone to help is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Heidi Richards Mooney is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of WE Magazine for Women, a WordPress Web Designer, the author of a dozen books and a social media consultant and trainer. Heidi has interviewed hundreds of experts on Social Media Around the World. In 2003 Heidi was named one of 50 women shaping the Internet by the International Virtual Women’s Chamber of Commerce. In 2009 she was named a Twitter Woman to Follow by Only2Clicks.com. She works with solopreneurs, professionals and small businesses in ecommerce, direct sales and retail. Follow Heidi on Google Plus