You don’t have to pay big money for a fast WordPress website

You don’t have to pay big money for a fast WordPress website

I have been working to optimize my website and I have learned many things that might be helpful to others. One of the most important is that you don’t have to pay big money for a fast WordPress website.

I mentioned before I use Siteground. I have found them to be the best performing web host for the money. If you click the link above you will find other suggestions for web hosting if money is not a concern. I am on what they call the GrowBig plan. It is the middle plan that is not the fastest or slowest. However while I have been on it for a few years, I haven’t had more than average performance. I didn’t understand why because I thought I was doing all the right things to optimize my site.

I had a caching plugin called TotalCache. I had tuned it to a tutorial I found years ago. It turns out that the tutorial was incomplete. I used a tool called Pingdom speed test. This told me exactly what I needed to change to speed up my site. So I followed its suggestions. I would make a change, and then go back and do a speed test to see if the site got faster.

I spent probably 10 hours trying things for TotalCache and others. I found another tutorial and added more changes to TotalCache and saw an improvement in Pingdom. Great!

Then I looked at my image optimization. It complained my images weren’t optimized. I didn’t understand this because for years I had used an image optimization plugin that I had read on popular sites was one of the best. I did some research and it turns out that it was actually one of the worst. I switched to another image optimization plugin and it optimized images that had already been optimized. I went to Pingdom and again my site speed improved. The name of the image optimization software is ShortPixel Image Optimizer. It is clearly the best image optimization software plugin for WordPress. I tried many others but this made all of those images compressed by others smaller. It had a 64% reduction in file size for the PDF’s that I had. Amazing!

Then I looked at my theme. It turns out that when you have a theme that isn’t HTML5 compliant it is slower. So I tried lots of themes and I found one that was faster. Now instead of 3.3 seconds my old theme used to take, I am down to 1.6 seconds average and even faster at times. If you aren’t using an HTML5 theme you are losing visitors.

I tested these same changes on a friends website and she scored an A in Google Pagespeed up from a C that she had. For each change I made, it steadily got faster. She was on Siteground too and had the same growbig plan as me. I can’t say that this process was entirely free. The ShortPixel Image Optimizer has a cheap $10 cost that was totally worth it. For me, it is a great tool. It saves you disk space, it saves the internet bandwidth and it makes it more likely that people on smartphones/ipads will visit your site. Increases traffic! Score.

If you follow this process you too can see your website speed improve. It takes time, but it is totally worth it. You can get an A on google pagespeed without buying the fastest plan.

 

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