WordPress is an amazing CMS (content management system), and keeps getting better as the years pass, but it does have one key downfall: it’s slow. Insanely slow.When you compare how long it takes to load the code from a WordPress installation, versus a static HTML site, the differences are fairly substantial.
This is a problem mainly because of developers not having a firm understanding of the web, instead favoring creating designs and templates that are “pretty”, rather than fast.As you start stacking plugins onto the installation to give your site increased functionality, you’re just exacerbating the problem even further.
Likewise, if you have a ton of high resolution photos on your site, you’re just adding the final nail to the coffin and guaranteeing that it’s going to take forever to load.Coupling all of these issues and stacking them onto a slow web host ensures that you should just pack it in. Slow loading websites present you with a couple major problems.
First, search engines are putting more, and more weight onto how quickly your website loads. They understand that visitors get frustrated when it takes too long for the website to open, especially on their mobile devices with limited bandwidth.That means, you can actually increase your conversion rates by speeding up the load times in your pages. Studies show that sites taking more than 2 seconds to load have a 25% greater abandon rate than faster loading pages.
Breaking that down into dollars, and cents, let’s assume that you average $1 per subscriber, per month, from your mailing list. Let’s also assume that you get 10,000 visitors a month, with a 25% optin rate.On a fast loading site, those 10,000 visitors would produce 2,500 optins. A healthy number.If your site starts to slow down, though, and you end up losing 25% of those visitors, you’re actually ending up with only 7,500 visitors, or a much smaller 1,875 optins.
If your website takes longer than 2 seconds to load, you’re costing yourself more than $600 per month in lost revenue. Sadly, a lot of websites take far longer than 2 seconds to completely load, which goes to show you that there is even more earnings being lost — without you realizing it.Not only does a slow loading website cost you lost revenue, but it also racks up your hosting bill. This problem becomes even more clear as your site becomes popular, and other sites start scraping your pages. One viral post can drop a shared hosting account to it’s knees, leaving you in hot water with the hosting company.
There’s a few steps you can take to get your page load times down, increase your conversions, and decrease your hosting bill.Before you start, though, it’s important for you to have a baseline to compare against. Run a page speed test to determine your starting point. You can find two different page speed tools below.
Step #1 – Remove Unnecessary Plugins
The biggest issue marketers face is using a large amount of plugins to increase their website’s functionality. The more plugins you add to WordPress, the more code you have to wait to load as your visitors bring the website up.
Unfortunately, marketers love stacking plugins onto their WP installation. To avoid these slow-downs, consider making sure your plugins are updated to the latest versions, and that you’re only using the most essential to the functionality of your website.
Step #2 – Use a WP database cleanup tool, like WP-Optimize.
The WordPress database can get HUGE over time. As you add new posts, revisions begin to stack up.Once the site grows bigger, and bigger, it takes longer, and longer for your web host to sort through your SQL database, and find the information being requested — your blog posts.
A database cleanup tool, such as WP-Optimize will go through and remove erroneous data, substantially decreasing the amount of data that your web server has to filter through in order to display the information being requested.
Step #3 – Use a caching plugin.
Unless you’re constantly updating every single page on your site, it’s highly recommended that you use a caching plugin, such as W3 Total Cache, or WP Rocket for the less technically inclined among us.
Caching, as the name implies, creates a “cached” version of your web page, so that when visitors view it, the server already has a copy of it stored, ready to display. This means the server won’t have to dig through your SQL database to find the information — it’s already stored in the server’s “cache”.
Step #4 – Optimize your images to load quickly.
High resolution photos look great to your visitors, but did you know that most connections are unable to load them quickly? You can easily shave seconds off of your page load times by decreasing the size of the images being served to your visitors.
Plugins, such as WP-SmushIt, will drastically reduce the file sizes of your images, which, in turn, decreases the amount of time it takes your visitors to load them up.
Step #5 – Disable Gravatar and other external calls.
Making external calls to other webpages and servers, as your page loads, is a huge problem for WordPress users. In fact, Gravatar is installed on a large majority of themes, and makes an external call to the Gravatar servers to get your visitor’s avatars.
It’s fine when Gravatar’s servers aren’t facing a heavy load. However, that’s rarely the case. Most times, it will take an extra 2-3 seconds to load up the avatars on a post that is loaded down with comments.
The only way around this problem is to figure out which plugins and settings are making calls to other websites, and determining whether or not they are crucial to your website’s operation.
Step #6 – Use a jQuery Lazy Load plugin.
You already know how important it is to reduce the file size of the images you’re loading onto your pages, but did you know that you can actually keep them from loading all together, with a jQuery Lazy Load plugin?
What these plugins do is disable the loading of your images until the user scrolls far enough down the page.As the user scrolls to a predetermined point, the images will load and the user will never know the difference — except your pages loaded much faster than if the images were all loaded on the initial view.
Step #7 – Choose a quality webhost.
The biggest cause of slowdowns in WordPress is a low quality webhost. If the servers you’re using are shared with hundreds of other websites, you’re fighting for bandwidth — a losing battle.
That means you should reconsider that $5 to $10 a month webhost, in favor of something with a bit more stability, backbone, infrastructure, and most importantly, bandwidth.
Step #8 – Consider using a CDN.
A CDN, or content delivery network, works great if you host a lot of images, or you serve up pages to visitors from around the world.
Think of your web pages like this. If your server is located in New York City, NY, and your visitor is located somewhere in Europe, they are going to have to “bounce” through multiple servers, to reach the server in NYC where your content is being stored.
That could be as many as 5-10 different servers your visitors are traveling through, before they finally land on your page. Using a CDN consolidates these 5-10 servers, and routes the user to a server closer to their home location, where your content has been mirrored and put back together.
In other words, a CDN will provide content to your users in Europe, as if they’re reaching out to a server located in Europe. This dramatically reduces your page load speeds, and keeps your visitors from clicking the back button because it takes too long to access the content.
One Web Host Can Solve A Majority Of These Issues
That one web host is Traffic Planet Hosting.
There’s quite a few different reasons we use, and recommend Traffic Planet Hosting to our visitors, business colleagues, and other marketers.
A mixture of solid state drives, high clock speed processors, and bandwidth that would make most hosting companies blush, Traffic Planet Hosting provides you with insane load times. The type of loading times that are unrivaled by other hosting companies.
A CDN is crucial to providing data to visitors around the world. If you’re depending on serving up content from a server in NYC, to visitors in Europe, you’re going to have delays.
Traffic Planet Hosting’s content delivery network ensures zero slowdowns, regardless where your visitors are requesting the information from.
All of the servers in TPH are designed with WordPress in mind.
That means they’re highly optimized for SQL databases, being able to quickly decipher the information you’re requesting, displaying it to your visitors with minimal delays.
Some people look at the price tag of a higher quality host and assume that they’re saving money by purchasing shared hosting accounts.Only, they’re not saving money. Remember how I mentioned that your page load speeds greatly affect your conversion rates?
The money that you’re missing out on is something most marketers will never see, unless they actively pay attention. As you add up the costs that shared hosting runs, and compare it to how much money you’re losing, it’s easy to see how a high quality server is worth it’s weight in gold — almost literally.
When your site starts growing, and the page views increase, you’re going to find yourself dealing with a major problem: hackers.Using simple attacks, called DDoS (or distributed denial of service), the hackers can bring your servers to a crawl — effectively shutting down your websites.
Traffic Planet Hosting has built-in DDoS protection, ensuring that the script kiddies are kept at bay, and your revenue continues to grow unimpeded.
If you’ve ever had to go through your server’s files, trying to find any resemblance of a backup so that you can restore your lost site, you know how much automated daily backups mean for successful business owners.
On the same token, if your site is always down because of low quality servers and connectivity, you’re going to be losing revenue hand over fist. Not to mention your rankings are going to plummet faster than the Stock Market in 2008.
Terry Kyle is one of those forward thinking marketers. The innovator types that marketers like you and me depend on to pave the way into the future.Let’s face it, we’re not all marketing savants. It helps to have a bit of guidance from the true savants who have been down the road we’re traveling.
One of those roads is dealing with the hassles of low quality hosting companies.
That’s why Terry Kyle built Traffic Planet Hosting with marketers, and WordPress in mind. The servers are designed specifically to quickly serve up your WordPress pages.It’s also why Traffic Planet Hosting is the only company we rely on for our own business, and recommend you use, as well.
If you’re dealing with any of the issues outlined here, you’re unhappy with the customer service, uptime, or lack of features from your current host, or you understand how much money your current hosting company is really costing you — in lost revenue — it’s time to make a change.
Check out the different packages offered on Traffic Planet Hosting. If you’re just getting started, you can get by with a starter account — and still be light years ahead of sharing a server with thousands of other websites.
P.S. They also offer free migration services on all of their hosting packages. That means you can switch hosts without touching a single file!
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