Whitepaper: 9 tips to speed up your website!

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter! We want to offer you this whitepaper, good luck with optimizing your websites.

Several studies show that a slow site has a negative impact on your user experience and conversion rates. If you also take into account that Google uses loadtime as a ranking factor the message is clear: Make you website as fast as possible.

In this whitepaper we have 9 speed improving tips for you:

  1. Choose a fast theme
  2. Limit your plugins
  3. Optimize your images
  4. Optimize your ‘static assets’
  5. Optimize your ‘database’
  6. Fix your errors
  7. Configure caching correctly
  8. Hire experts
  9. Choose a good webhost

You can also download this whitepaper.

1. Choose a fast theme

When choosing a theme, keep in mind what functionality you require. A lot of themes come bundled with things like a webshop, slider, contact form, pagebuilder, etc. Our advice is to choose a theme that only does what you need and nothing more. Especially steer clear of sliders. Also make sure that you can update plugins that come with the theme independently from the theme itself!

You can get a good impression of the loadtime of a theme by running the demo site through tools like pingdom or webpagetest.org. Compare different themes on loadtime, number of included CSS and JS files and the size of the page including all assets. The less CSS and JS files the faster the load and render times.

2. Limit your plugins

It is so enticing to add a plugin for every little functionality you need. One plugin is not that bad but before you know it you end up with lots of plugins that all slow down your website. Our advice is to check your plugins a few times a year and see which ones you can get rid off. Be specifically critical when dealing with plugins that start sessions and set cookies. Those things make websites harder to cache.

3. Optimize your images

By optimizing your images, your website will load faster. That starts with saving and uploading your image in exactly the right dimensions (if you want to place a header image above a blog post that is 500 pixels wide, then make sure that the picture you upload is exactly 500 pixels wide). In addition, it is important to save the image in the correct format (.jpg for photos, .png for logos, buttons and the like) and with the correct compression (too much detracts from the quality and too little makes for very large images of a few MBs).

It is also highly recommended to use an image optimization plug-in. These plugins (eg. ewww image optimizer cloud or short pixel) provide additional lossless compression. That means your picture looks the same but is smaller in size.

4. Optimize your ‘static assets’

Static assets are the files needed to make your website function properly and to look as you want it to. They usually consist of CSS, JavaScript (JS) and font files. As we have stated previously, it is good to have a minimal number of static assets. The second step is to combine and reduce the size of your static assets. With a fancy term this is called ‘minify and combine’. There are several plugins for WordPress that can do this for you, such as W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket. Always test your site after you do a minify and combine action.

5. Optimize your Database

Some plugins add a lot of data in your database and do not remove these data correctly. This slows down your site. We therefore recommend to run the plugin WP Optimize a few times a year. This will remove old data. Make a backup first, the plugin could clean up a little too much (although this is hardly ever the case).

6. Fix your errors

Errors and warnings can slow down your site, but sometimes you do not know they are there. Regularly check your error log (especially when using a new plugin or theme). These can be found at Savvii in our Savvii WordPress plugin or you can download the error logs through sFTP. At other hosts you can often download them via FTP. Fix the errors in your error log for a better customer experience and more speed!

7. Configure caching correctly

At Savvii we have the caching of pages already well taken care off. In some cases however, it is not possible to cache all pages: for example with shopping baskets or unique search results. Therefore, it is always a good idea to make your website use object caching. This can be configured in W3 Total Cache. Savvii clients with a VPS can use memcached technology to make the object caching even faster.

8. Hire experts

We have tried to keep this list accessible, but we realize that some options from this list are not always easy for everyone to do. If you are stuck, find a good WordPress specialist who helps you.

9. Choose a good webhost

Last but not least: Choose a good webhost. A good hosting provider will ensure that your site has sufficient resources to perform well and ensures the fastest web server and caching techniques are available for your sites. Want to try Savvii? You can just subscribe to a plan. If we can not meet your expectations then you can use our 30-day money-back guarantee.

We work with:

  • rackspace_savvii
  • New Relic
  • nginx_savvii
  • Varnish
  • Mandrill
  • Freshdesk