Get some free email training and all of our regular content direct to your inbox!
Are WordPress sites slow? This is a great question and one that there is truly no straightforward answer for. When it comes to this question there are many factors that come into play. In this article I will intend to explain some of the key factors involved in site speed and attempt to give you some basic guidance on getting more performance.
Key factors making WordPress sites slow
There are many factors that make WordPress sites slow and below we will look at the main ones. In total there are many factors that come in to play but here are the top 5 factors making your WordPress sites slow.
Your WordPress Theme
One of the largest factors involved with speeding up your site is the theme you chose to use with the site. WordPress themes are not built equal and this can really hurt your business. When looking for a theme you need to make sure that the theme chosen meets your needs and expectations but also loads quickly. In many cases a website theme often has a live demo that you can view to see how the site operates.
Always remember to check out the live demo and see if it loads quickly. You can also run the demo site through a page load speed tester such as Pingdom to get a more technical look at things. Another great way is to check out the support questions for a theme or the reviews of a theme as well.
Your WordPress Plugins
Just as your theme can make your WordPress sites slow so can the plugins you choose. Whilst most plugins are small and light-weight some are not. Every plugin has it's own little intricacies and each of these can be problematic in their own right. You might think having a slider image on your home page is a great idea but one slider plugin might load seconds slower than another. Be careful when selecting plugins for your website and make sure that you check the reviews and demo's where possible.
Your Page Design
Another item that often causes slow load times is your design choices. You might think it will be cool to have an image slider and all of the latest animations and wizzbang gadgets. The more items you add to a page the more that has to be loaded each item of text, image, video or any content what so ever takes precious seconds to load.
It is best when working with your website designer or building your own site to look at each individual element, ask yourself if it adds benefit to the viewer or not. If there is no real benefit then it might be best to leave it out.
Having taken into account the above three items the next biggest thing is slow website hosting. Many business owners make decisions based on price and as a business owner I understand. When it comes to websites though and especially any dynamic content management website such as WordPress, it pays not to scrimp on the hosting. Your website hosting is one of the most important parts of your load times.
Many cheap hosts are using servers located outside Australia or that are shared with hundreds or thousands of other websites. The further away the website is located from it's users and the more websites stored on the server the more precious load time is lost unnecessarily. When purchasing hosting look for a server located in the same region as your viewers and look for low occupancy servers.
After taking into account the 4 key areas above it's time to look at the 5th element. You can choose the fastest theme, best plugins, employ clean design and choose a great web host, however, if you don't optimise all of these elements to work at peak performance your site load time will be slow. WordPress is a great platform for building your website but without the proper optimisation then your WordPress sites slow load times will cost you.
There are many great solutions and plugins that can help you optimise your website. In saying that the science of optimising your website has a steep learning curve, we recommend getting a professional to optimise your site. Another thing to remember is that optimisation is an ongoing process and you may be able to get a WordPress care plan that includes ongoing optimisation.