Improving page-load speed should be a top priority for every website owner. But the best practices for optimization are constantly evolving.
So, what’s the best way to make your website faster? Here are the top optimizations and strategies that developers recommend this year.
1) Set a proper foundation
Before you begin optimizing, be sure that you have these 2 prerequisites for a fast-loading website:
- Fast, reliable web hosting (we recommend WP Engine, which comes free with any WP Tangerine plan)
- A fast, efficiently coded WordPress theme (no bloat!)
2) Test your site speed
You can’t optimize until you know where the problems are. Run a site speed test with tools like Pingdom or Page Speed Insights to identify areas for improvement and get actionable steps to improve load time.
3) Optimize CSS and JS placement
As a rule of thumb:
- Be sure to place stylesheet code (CSS) in the <head> area
- Move JS and scripts to the bottom, just above the <body> tag
Minify all code by removing anything that is not needed, such as: comments, whitespace for indentation, long function and variable names, and unused code.
5) Set up GZIP compression
If you’re using a WordPress plugin for caching, enable GZIP compression to compress resources through HTTP requests.
6) Use Google or Microsoft CDN
Use Google or Microsoft CDN for etching any common libraries that are used on your site, which will speed up pages by relying on cached versions of the resources in users’ browsers, when applicable.
7) Optimize images
Reduce image size and resolution to the lowest possible without hurting quality. Use local image optimization tools before uploading them to your site.
8) Enable lazy loading
Set images and other content to load only when the user scrolls down to see it (rather than all at once when the user reaches the page).
9) Cache, cache, cache
Use caching plugins to increase load speed across your website, including:
- Page caching (Static HTML versions of a page are stored on the server)
- Browser caching (Parts of your page are stored in the browser)
- Database caching
10) Don’t forget mobile!
Your mobile site should be a heavily pared down version of your web version. Be sure to eliminate any content (images especially) and functionality that are slowing down your mobile user experience.
Ready to make your website faster?