How To Speed Up WordPress Site (Optimize Core Web Vitals)

This is the 10th chapter of the Free Blogging Course, where I am explaining how improve your WordPress site speed (fix Core Web Vital Issues) so that you can make money from your blog in 2021. Make sure to read the previous chapter where I have explained how to drive traffic to your new blog.

Website speed is a must in 2021. In fact these days you will find almost every high rank website is loading blazing fast as they use very good hosting server & also optimize their website. But this is not enough in the age of Core Web Viitals.

With the launch of Core Web Vitals, you have to make sure that your website is user friendly and also fast loading. The ultimate intention is to provide the best experience to user so that user can easily find information on your website and also spend good amount of time. That is called user experience.

So, to improve your website’s user experience you have to fix the website loading problem and at the same time you have to make sure your website is well organized, easy to navigate to further pages. In this chapter I will share some best tips to improve your website speed and also help you to optimize Core Web Vitals for better user experience.

What Are Google Core Web Vitals?

As I have shared in short that, Google want your website to load fast, your website should have all the information easily arranged for readers so that user can get best experience. And to measure those parameters Google came with Core Web Vitals, few indicators. And they are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) : – When we open a website on our mobile phone or laptop, we want that page to load immediately. In the visible area of the screen, the page should load with all the content, images & media etc as soon as possible. And that is what Google is expecting and with this LCP Google will measure how exactly your website is responding as per that parameter. So, fast-loading page is not enough, your page content should also load faster.

First Input Delay (FID) :- This is another parameter which is check how quickly your website can process the user action. E.g. when user click on a link to navigate to another page or in case user fill up the contact form and submit the form how quickly your website complete that action.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) :- This parameter will measures the time it takes for a website to become visually stable. Sometimes due to some video load or some script loading in case your website’s button or other clickable elements keep moving or not able to stable down. The amount of time it takes to settle down all the page elements also matters here.

Let’s Test My Website Speed & Understand

Page-Speed is one of the major issues when we talk about user experience. Even if you have the best design, if your website pages take time to load users will simply avoid your website and look for a faster page. Page Speed is a signal to rank higher in Google search, it will increase your brand reputation and further increase your website conversion in every possible way.

How To Improve Your Website Speed & Core Web Vitals in WordPress

So, to stick to your #1 Google ranking you have to continuously focus on website speed optimization. Here is a beautiful chart stating how users behave with the website speed.

There are plenty of websites where you can test your website speed. Let me mention the names here first.

  • https://www.uptrends.com/tools/website-speed-test
  • https://gtmetrix.com/
  • https://tools.pingdom.com/
  • https://www.dotcom-tools.com/website-speed-test.aspx
  • http://www.bytecheck.com/
  • https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
  • https://www.webpagetest.org

23 Ways To Speed Up WordPress Site

In this section, I will mention the website optimization techniques, how to improve your Core Web Vitals & also other factors that effects your website loading time. We have to work in all segments so that we can complete all the optimization at the same time and get the best speed for our website. Let’s start.

1. Move To A Fast Web Hosting Service

Many people don’t realize that web hosting plays a major role to load your website faster. Yes, this is a myth to achieve a fast loading website. Whatever lightweight theme and design you create, if your web hosting server is not fast enough, the pages will load always slow.

As a beginner, you can start with a shared hosting. But shared hosting plans are not the best one to provide the best speed. But again, cost is also a big factor. After trying many shared hosting services, I found Hostinger is a very good & affordable hosting who offers decent performance. IN fact if you have little higher budget you can try for A2 Hosting as well. Check out the best deals on Hosting for all my readers.

But, if you can spend money then I would say that move away from shared hosting and try Cloudways Cloud Hosting plans. This website is hosted on Cloudways Digital Ocean server where I spend monthly $10. You can yourself test the speed of my website and I am really happy with the investment.

But again, as a beginner if you have budget crunch, Hostinger is a very good hosting to start with. They have all premium features like latest PHP version, SSD servers, FREE Backup, server-side cache system, etc. And they will cost you like penny only. For all my readers, I have a special Hostinger Promo Code: BLOGGINGGYAAN to get extra discount. Just Use This Link to buy Hostinger and Apply This Promo Code to enjoy more savings.

2. Use A Fast-loading WordPress Theme

Your website design is highly responsible for your website speed optimization after web hosting. There are many WordPress themes available as FREE & paid which offers a lot of modern-day features. But they don’t load faster, which is the biggest drawback.

In the 2021 web design, one thing is clear. A good looking website without a fast loading page has no value. So, you must spend good enough money to design a website to load faster keeping the user experience in mind. There are plenty of premium WordPress themes that are good enough to give you a fast-loading design and here are a few of my picks.

#1. GeneratePress: It’s awesome free to use the theme. but they have a premium plugin which I have used this theme and got a very fast-loading design. I found their MARKET child theme perfect for my website. And as I said I don’t want to compromise on site speed, and with GeneratePress & following all these WordPress optimization tips I am able to achieve this site-speed less than 1 second. Right now you can save 10% Off using GeneratePress Prom Code.

#2. StudioPress Themes: Genesis Framework is the best WordPress theme framework and the way they are growing is simply awesome. I am using their themes on a few of my websites, including this website. If you are looking for SEO-friendly WordPress theme, fast loading and high-quality themes as per your blogging niche then you must check the list of best Genesis child themes.

#3. WPAstra: I have not used this theme though, but I read many good reviews of WPAstra. This is a perfect theme that will work perfectly with any of the best page-builder tools to give you the best theme. Understand different Astra Theme Pricing options so that you can save some money.

3. Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDN or content delivery network plays a huge role in speed up your website. And the best part is that one can easily enjoy this awesome thing completely free of cost using Cloudflare CDN.

In simple terms, your website copies will be created in different countries and data centers so that all the static resources of your website can load faster. And avoid fetching the files from the actual server every time. Although with free CDN you can’t enjoy all the entire data centers, you have to upgrade to a paid version.

E.g. my website is hosted on SiteGround USA data center. SiteGround has 4 different data centers so that one can get the advantage of local traffic as per the website niche & visitors. But my website content is not only for USA, anyone from anywhere in the world will be benefited from my website content.

So, I set up Cloudflare CDN with just a few clicks using SiteGround cPanel.

And this will create various copies of my website in different countries to improve the page-speed. That’s simply awesome[what else you can expect in free of cost]. So, if your web hosting company doesn’t offer FREE CDN integration, then you have to do it manually create your Cloudflare account.

4. Enable Browser Caching

Browser cache is a very important part of the cache system. In fact, this is one of the popular GTMetrix errors: Fix Leverage Browser Cache Issue. Whenever a website is loading on a browser, it downloads necessary files like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images. Now, one the page loads on your browser, these files should be stored on the browser, so that next time the page can loan faster. Not only that, it will help to load the other pages of the same website load faster.

This can be easily done by installing a cache plugin like W3 Total Cache or Paid cache Plugin WP Rocket. I am using WP Rocket Plugin, which is helping me to solve many page speed errors that I am going to mention in this article. You can know more about browser caching from this link.

If your website is on SiteGround Plan, then you can easily enable Browser cache with SG Optimizer Plugin. In fact, they call it Dynamic Cache which is even more powerful.

5. Optimize Your Images

Image optimization is another key point to improve your website speed. Again if you check your website speed on GTMetrix, you will face a common error “Server Scaled Images”. There are multiple ways to optimize your images so that they can load easily when your website pages are loading. Follow the below image optimization tips.

  • Choose the right image format like png, jpeg, gif as they are the best file format and supported by all popular web browsers.
  • Always compress the images before uploading them to your WordPress site. You can use websites like TinyPNG, Compressor.io, etc.
  • Use the Image Optimisation plugin. You can get this feature with SiteGround SG Optimizer Plugin and WP Rocket plugin.
  • Activate Lazy Load images so that you can render image loading and speed up your website loading. For that, you can install any Lazy Load Plugin or if your website is on SiteGround, with SG Optimizer you will get this feature. This can be done with WP Rocket Plugin also.

This will also improve your First Input Delay (FID) Score of Core Web Vitals.

6. Reduce The Number Of WordPress Plugins

We all love WordPress because of the availability of plugins. Whatever is your need or requirement, we know there will be a plugin to resolve that problem. But do you know that installing huge number of plugins will actually slow down your website speed? Not only that, there are plugins that are responsible for High-CPU usage and impact your website speed.

For that reason, you have to do an audit of your installed plugin and immediately remove all the plugins which are not necessary. Also, find out the alternative plugins to replace the high-CPU usage plugins. E.g. When I have installed Rank Math SEO Plugin, I have removed 5 plugins immediately. And after WordPress 5.4 update, you can remove Lazy Load Plugins (if installed) as it will be the part of WordPress only.

So, a similar way does an audit of all the installed WordPress plugins and try to remove the plugins which are not necessary. It is good to compromise on the look or feature a little bit, but you can’t compromise with website speed optimization in 2020.

7. Minify & Combine Files (CSS, JavaScripts)

In the previous point, I mentioned about installing fewer plugins. One of the problems of these plugins is that with every installation, your website will get some more CSS & JavaScript files. Now with more such files, your website will take more time to load.

To fix this issue, there is a technique called minification. This means multiple files will combine together (reduce in size by removing unwanted spaces) and help to load faster. This can be easily done by any good quality Cache plugin. I am doing the minification of CSS & JavaScript using both SG Optimizer & WP Rocket Plugin.

Minification improves response time since the size of the download files is reduced. This is one of the common GTMetrix errors. This can be handled easily by installing a cache plugin.

This will also improve your First Input Delay (FID) Score & Largest Content Paintful (LCP) Score of Core Web Vitals. The faster your images & scripts will load your Core Web Vital score will also increase.

8. Optimize Your WordPress Database

As your website grows, there are many pieces of information that are getting stored in your WordPress database, which has no use. That information is actually making your website database heavier and they can’t respond as fast as they are expected.

For that, you have to make sure you always optimize your database and remove all unnecessary things. There are a couple of amazing plugins available like WP-Optimize, WP-Sweep Plugin, etc. These plugins will make sure to clean up your WordPress database tables and optimize them from time to time.

If you are using the WP Rocket plugin, you don’t have to install any additional plugin. Otherwise, you must install any of the plugins I have mentioned above.

9. Reduce HTTP Requests

With WordPress, we install a lot of plugins to get some amazing features. But with new plugin installation, you will get additional HTTP requests from that plugin developer. That means, your website will try to read more files like HTML, CSS and JavaScript files, images, icons, and other files.

Now if your website has more plugins, that means your website will take more time to load because of HTTP requests. In short, these HTTP requests impact your website page speed and this will further affect user experience, bounce rate, and SEO. The fewer HTTP requests your site sends to the server, the faster your site will load.

You have to optimize your website and reduce these requests as much as possible. For that, you have to choose a good theme with fewer HTTP requests, optimize images, minify CSS & JavaScript files and use only necessary plugins.

10. Load JavaScript Asynchronously & deferred Loading

When a website loads, it make sure to load all the files CSS, JavaScript, HTML, etc to show everything to the user. Now, here one thing you have to understand that, all files are not necessary for users on the first load. E.g. let’s say there is a JavaScript file which will add the function of “Back To Top” to the page. Now, this feature will need if the reader scrolls to the bottom of the page.

In that case, while loading the website initially why to load that JavaScript file? This might reduce the website page loading time and improve website speed. That’s why you must load JavaScript Asynchronously & deferred Loading to speed up your WordPress site.

This can be done easily by installing any cache plugin.

11. Reduce the TTFB (Time To First Byte)

What is TTFB? It’s the time to the first byte from the server. TTFB is a very crucial criterion to find out how good is your webs hosting company servers. Generally, any shared hosting plan comes with a very high TTFB, which is not good for your website speed.

E.g. you can check out my website’s TTFB and find out how fast it is loading. My website is hosted on the SiteGround GoGeek plan and I am using the Cloudflare CDN network also. Besides that, I am following various other Website Speed Optimization tips to make sure my TTFB is better.

12. Enable GZIP Compression

If you want to load your website pages fast, then you have to make sure your website pages are low in size. For that, you have to Enable GZIP Compression so that your website pages can be lightweight.

GZIP is a file format and a software application used for file compression and decompression. GZIP compression is enabled server-side and allows for further reduction in the size of your HTML, stylesheets, and JavaScript files. It will not work on images as these are already compressed in a different way. Some have seen up to 70% reductions due to compression. It is probably one of the easiest optimizations you could make when it comes to WordPress. All modern browsers support it and automatically negotiate GZIP compression for all HTTP requests.  

This feature can be enabled easily by installing the W3 Total cache for Free or Wp Rocket Plugin. In fact, this feature is also included with SG optimizer Plugin which is exclusively available only for SiteGround customers.

13. Improve Mobile SPEED

Mobile SPEED has become the most important mobile ranking factors. Yes, if your website is loading slow on mobile devices then you will definitely find search ranking drops. Now for mobile optimization, the most important thing you have to do is to get a theme that is well optimized and responsive for mobile devices.

Besides that, all other points I have mentioned in this website speed optimization guide will apply on mobile speed also. Just follow these tips and get a good professional responsive theme, your website will load faster on mobile devices also.

Another tip to speed up your website on mobile devices is that, make sure to skip the popups, email signup forms and other similar features on the mobile version of your website. This thing works best on a laptop or desktop or tablet, but annoy users on mobile phones.

14. Host Google Analytics Locally

Hosting Google Analytics locally can help you to speed up your WordPress site by reducing extra DNS lookups and resolve the “leverage browser caching” issue from their script. Google Analytics script is a must and we can’t skip this.

There are a couple of plugins to do this job as well. E.g. WP Rocket’s Google Tracking add-on if you’re already using it as your cache plugin. Otherwise, CAOS | Host Google Analytics Locally works. It also allows you to load the analytics script from your own CDN which can help you take advantage of a single HTTP/2 connection.

If you are using Swift Performance or Wp Disable Plugin, it also has an option to bypass Google Analytics.

15. Reduce URL Redirects

URL redirects are a very common problem and they create a bad impression for your website too. This can happen because of many reasons like movement from non-www to WWW or vice versa, HTTP to HTTPs, deletion of old posts, lots of broken links, etc.

In that case, if the user landed on a page that doesn’t exist or has multiple redirects, the final landing page will take time to appear and load. This will impact heavily on your website reputation and also reduce website speed badly. You can install Rank Math Plugin and easily handle redirections.

This is a common GTMetrix error. To fix this issue, make sure to redirect your main pages properly and minimize the redirect chain so that your website can easily find the target article in case of 404 pages not found and return a target page faster.

16. Use Pre-Fetching Technique

Pre-fetching is a technique through which browsers are loading all necessary files of a website. This will help the browser to load any pages of that website fast as the maximum common resources are already stored in the browser.

Pre-fetching can be of different types and you can find details here. Now to speed up your website, you have to make sure you are using this feature. You can install plugins like Wp Flying Images or the Preload feature of the WP Rocket plugin.

17. Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

There are a lot of updates going on from the WordPress site and from different plugins we use on our website. To make your website fast loading and secure, we must take action on these updates immediately.

If you don’t do that, these old versions of WordPress or plugins may slow down your website. You can set up the auto-update feature and stay tension free. But it is always good to update your WordPress & Plugins manually after understanding the changes. As sometimes, some updates may break your website completely.

That’s the reason I always use plugins from reputed or trusted developers only.

18. Add Expiry Headers

This is another common error in GTMterix and this is also a big reason for your WordPress website loading slow. Generally, the expiry header is the information that you need to set up so that the browser can understand whether to load that file from the server or browser cache.

In fact, this is a part of your browser cache settings that you can achieve by installing a cache plugin easily. The idea is to set late expiry times for items that don’t change on your website (logo, colors, etc). Set short expiry times for things that change regularly.

19. Split Comments Into Pages

As your blog grows old and your articles become popular, many people will engage in write quality comments. With more comments, you will find that your website will start loading slowly. Another thing is that, if you are allowing website URL in a comment, it will also take some time to load those websites & gravatar images which can make your WordPress site slow.

Go To WordPress Dashboard>> Settings >> Discussion

So, in that case, it is better to break the number of comments on one page and split them into multiple pages. This way, if someone is really interested to read the old comments, they can go to the next page and read those comments without impacting the website speed.

20. Never upload Audio or video files

Podcasts & video content is in high demand. So that’s why you must always add more podcasts, rich-media, infographics, videos to your content to add more value to readers. But never upload them to your WordPress website directly.

This kind of file takes huge space and it can eat up a lot of your web hosting space & bandwidth. This will further impact your web hosting resources and your website may get down also. Besides that, this will take a lot of time to backup & restore your website.

That’s why it’s better to upload this kind of file on third party websites. E.g. you can upload videos on YouTube and use that link to embed in your article using the Gutenberg Block easily. This will take care of the loading also without impacting your website speed. Here is a video from my YouTube Channel.

21. Uninstall all High-CPU Usage Plugins

There are various plugins that are not at all optimize from their end and when we install them on our website, they will slow down our website. You should know what kind of plugins comes under this list and immediately uninstall these plugins. Better to look for a good alternative. Here are a few of those plugins which can impact your website speed badly.

  1. AddThis
  2. AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
  3. All-In-One Event Calendar
  4. Backup Buddy
  5. Beaver Builder
  6. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
  7. Broken Link checker (use Dr. Link Check)
  8. Constant Contact for WordPress
  9. Contact Form 7
  10. Contextual Related Posts
  11. Digi Auto Links
  12. Disqus Comment System
  13. Divi Builder
  14. Essential Grid
  15. View Full List Of 65 Slow Plugins

22. Use Lazy Load Feature

If you use a lot of images on your website or you are running an image website or quotes based website where loads of images are uploaded, then you will find your pages are very high in size. In such a case you can use lazy load features.

This feature is available with SG Optimizer plugin, WP Rocket plugin or you can install a free plugin. Besides that, from WordPress 5.4, the lazyLoad feature will be a part of the core WordPress itself. That means we don’t need any further plugin to enjoy this necessary feature. Let’s wait for WordPress 5.4 Update.

23. Use Latest PHP Version

Are your web hosting servers updated with the latest PHP version? As a beginner, you may not aware of that and frankly speaking, the majority of shared hosting plans don’t provide the latest PHP versions.

But SiteGround hosting is different here and that’s why I love them. They always make sure their servers are fast loading and as per the latest speed technology. All good WordPress hosting companies use the most stable PHP version on their servers. Right now they are migrating to PHP 7.3.

FAQs: About Website Speed Optimization Tips

What is a good average page load time?

It is good to have a page-speed under 3 seconds. As majority people don’t like to wait more than that & they leave the website which is a negative feedback. With more speed, you can actually increase your website traffic.

Why do websites take long to load?

I have already mentioned 23 points where I havediscussed why a website take long time to load and how can you speed-up your website taking necessary measures.

That’s It : Let’s Move To Next Chapter

So, I am sure after reading these 23 website speed optimization tips, you can easily conclude that the major reason behind a fast loading website is a good quality fast web hosting, well-optimized theme, a good cache plugin and less number of plugins. If you are serious enough, then don’t hesitate to invest in blogging.

  • Get Hostinger (Cheapest Hosting)
  • Get A2 Hosting (Best Performance Hosting)
  • Get Cloudways (Best Cloud Hosting)

Website speed optimization is not a one-time activity. There are certain things where you will invest once, but you have to keep a track of various factors & activities on every website maintenance so that you can create pages with small size so that they can load faster.

Do you think this website speed optimization guide is enough for you to speed up your website in 2021? Write a comment below and share your queries or thoughts if any. Feel free to share this article on social platforms also.

Author Profile

Santanu Debnath
Santanu Debnath
I'm Santanu Debnath. I share blogging tips, Affiliate marketing guide & tutorials on WordPress, SEO, Speed optimization, blogging tools on my website to help beginners. You can follow me on social medial to stay updated with all upcoming articles.
free blogging course - how to speed up your wordpress site

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