WordPress has become the most widely used content management systems on the internet. As such many people have come out with some wonderful themes. Having your theme be search engine optimization friendly is critical. That helps to ensure your page can be found easily on search engines but also that people actually use your website. One of the most important SEO aspects is pagespeed.
On the practical side, no one likes a website that loads slowly. The last thing someone wants to do is sit there and wait for a page to load after they have clicked the link from Google or started their travel to the site. Unless the site is the absolute only one of its kind 99% or more of your traffic will go somewhere else or just give up.
Knowing that page speed is so important to the human aspect of a WordPress theme what should you do? First, you should ensure that your page load time is 3 seconds or less. After 3 seconds the majority of visitors will turn away. For every additional second that your web page takes to load more people will go elsewhere. Second, you should look at the theme designer’s web page and ensure that it has been optimized for performance. There are a lot of tricks developers can use to get the most speed out of a page.
When it comes to the computer side of fast page load times there are several reasons why you want a fast speed. If your page takes a long time to load the chances that the loading will time out and your web page will not display for a user increase. The longer your page takes to load the more likely a browser is to say that it has timed out.
Fast loading is crucial when you are talking about page ranking and your search engine results. Google and other search engines have added average loading speed as a ranking factor when looking at a website. For Google, the ideal page load time is less than 2 seconds. If for some reason it isn’t possible to get your speeds that lower than they need to be under 4 seconds to get a good ranking.
At this point, you are probably wondering what you can do to increase fast loading. There are several steps that you can take to decrease the time it takes to load your pages.
The first step you can take is to try a different theme, one that you know is optimized for speed. If the other theme has fast load times there is something wrong with your first theme. Should the load time be the same there is either a problem with your website’s content or a problem with your web host.
When the load time is due to the theme you have two options. You can contact a WordPress theme expert and ask them to look at your theme to see if they can optimize it for you. This can be costly though and should only be the option you choose if you really like the theme that you are using. The other option is the easiest, and most affordable, Switch to a different theme.
If the problem is with your website’s content, you can take several steps:
- Optimize your images. This can be done with an image optimizing plugin for WordPress that processes the images when you upload them. Ensuring that they are the size you are going to use in the article before you upload them also helps.
- Remove on-page plugins that load when your page loads. Less content loading means fewer load times.
- Remove any scripting or coding that you may have added to allow special features. You can always reenable it or add it again later if this isn’t the cause.
- Reduce the amount of content on your pages that are taking a while to load. Again, less content and smaller content means better load times.
If the problem is your web host you will have to contact their customer service. Often times this can be done by a contact form and you can mark the issue as extremely serious. You can also try Googling your web host and slow load times to see if anyone else has had issues with load times.
Ensuring that your WordPress site loads fast is extremely important. Without fast load times, you might be losing out on visitors. Follow the steps mentioned above to troubleshoot slow load times. If you have had a problem with slow load times you may need to give Google a little while to rerank your website before anything changes with your Google results.